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Parliamentary procedures making for smooth county meetings

| September 3, 2023 1:00 AM

Parliamentary procedure appears to have become something of an issue among our county commissioners.

Robert’s Rules of Order was first published in 1876. Although Robert was a U.S. Army officer, he did not base the book on military rules. Its purpose is to enable assemblies of any size to reach decisions in a minimum amount of time and under internal divisions of opinion.

It is the most commonly adopted parliamentary authority in the U.S. as well as the most widely used reference for meeting procedures in the English-speaking world. The current twelfth edition contains 633 pages of text. Its completeness is made so that organizations do not have to write extensive rules for themselves.

Henry M. Robert III states that parliamentary law is a neutral arbiter that channels disputes into productive debate instead of time-wasting and manipulative maneuvering over procedure.

Focusing on the basics, Robert’s Rules outlines the steps for reaching decisions: First, there is a motion to do something. After a second and a restatement of the motion by the chair, debate ensues, and the motion is finally put to a vote and the results announced.

There is extensive information available on the Internet. The complete text is also available online. Many organizations, councils, boards, unions, and governments engage a parliamentarian to attend their meetings to resolve any parliamentary questions or challenges that arise.

It is the best resource on the planet for conducting orderly meetings. Our commissioners should embrace it.

If you would like to see a smoothly run meeting of the Bonner County commissioners, go to their web page and access the Aug. 22, 2023, and Aug. 29, 2023, meetings on YouTube.

HELEN NEWTON

Sandpoint