Latest Updates

Yes, the forum on the opening page is gone. It was not being used so I got rid of it for now.

Another major change is that the exercises for the AIP Standard Code are moving along. Being up to page 54 in writing questions is great. I think there is a lot of good material for anybody who wants to study the book. It is going to be a few months before I reach the end of the book.

That is all for this update. Take care. Peace.

Yeah, it has been a while

It has been a year and a half since the last post. I just plain got busy. I hope to get back to blogging more often.

The AIP Standard Code has been out for a time. For those interested in studying, go to my home page ( and click on the link for AIP Standard Code. You will find a lot of study exercises in page order plus a lot of extra material such as matching vocabulary. The last set of exercises will take me a long time to develop as they are exercises designed to take you through a meeting where you have to make decisions. These are not easy to develop as tons of wrong answers have to be thought of.

Eventually, I may have to take the exercises to a fee status — I pay for this site myself and it does cost money. This is under consideration. Well, enough for today. Take care. And enjoy good procedure.

In Times of Trouble

After a huge earthquake, how do you go about canceling, rescheduling meetings? If you follow the rules of most Parliamentary Authorities, you have to have the scheduled meetings and then set up adjourned meetings. If you try to do that, expect everybody to just laugh at you and for parliamentary procedure to suffer a huge setback. It is a disaster and people expect the leaders of the organization to respond appropriately — taking disaster type responsibility.

This is a time when normal procedure just does not apply. I do not care what the authorities say as they do not fit into the situation at all. During the time around the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, when I was asked, I gave the standard response, but I omitted proving that it was actually done. Nor will I ever ask. I will find ways to defend the actions taken.

Thinking can be much more important than following some set of rules especially when people’s welfare is involved. Now, I deal with a group that is very involved in the issues of the day and their livelyhood demands that they respond to it first and foremost. Also, we had the lifeblood shaken out of us. The duty of the leadership was to respond to their needs and not some rule that had become “stupid” for the occasion.

Jonathan Jacobs has a great article about what needs to be in the bylaws to cover such situations. I am afraid that most people in the world assume that the leadership can do those things without any special articles. The bylaws etc. should be rules for life and when that becomes a problem, move on and keep the life going. Natural disasters happen; Parliamentary Procedure and Parliamentary Authorities need to help organizations get by them without additional strain.

Unanimous Consent

At the last meeting I was at as parliamentarian, unanimous consent was used for just about all the voting. It was good. Why?

First, unanimous consent does not mean that all agree with the decision. It means that people recognize the motion as being one that an overwhelming majority want. It does not mean that all agree with the motion.

Second, it shows that people realize that the motion so passed will pass no matter what arguments are put forward against it. It is not surrender, but an acceptance of the will of the majority.

Third, it avoids internal conflict as the members accept the passed motion. People do not have to express their opinions and show where they conflict. People can show their commonality.

So unanimous consent is often in the best interest of the organization.

How to Defeat a Motion

If you want to defeat a motion, there are certain techniques you can use. I am going to talk about some of them in this post.

First, move Objection to Consideration. Yes, it is a long shot. It has to be a motion that did not come from a committee or a higher authority. Two-thirds have to vote against consideration. A very long shot in most case, but what the heck.

Second, support every amendment that makes the motion more obnoxious. If it is a motion to spend money, increase the amount that is to be spent. The higher the amount, the less support it will probably have.

If somebody moves to send it to a committee, support that motion. The more time a motion takes, including time spent in committee, the less support a motion has.

The same is true if there are multiple motions to amend. It makes the motion look more complicated and people want the simple. Looks alone can be important in defeating the motion.

Postponing to a future meeting is another way to help defeat a motion. It can be delayed so it is not that important. Psychology is so important.

Got a speaker coming. Great. Use Lay on the Table legitimately. The motion can provide just enough delay to help you defeat the main one.

Some might see these motions as being tacky; but if you believe that the motion is not what the organization needs, you are being very legitimate in making them and supporting them.


When you go into a meeting, you need to have some strategies planned so that you can accomplish your goals. Without strategies, it is not likely that you will accomplish those goals. Good strategic planning is not abusing the organization; the opposite is true as you will be working to do the best for your organization.

For the sake of argument in this post, let’s assume that the motion, “That the price of lunch in the cafeteria be raised from $10 to $12.” We will also assume that this motion does not require any previous notice and that it is in the preview of the assembly.


If you support the motion, you can do several things to support it. You can speak in favor of it. In fact, you can plan with a group as to who will speak for it and when. Also you can plan to make motions like Postpone Indefinitely and Call the Question when they will support your position. You may wish to work against any amendments to the plan unless the amendment improves the motion in a way you (or the group) desire.


If you are against a motion, you will do all to get it defeated. Again, a group plan can be helpful. You would at least argue against it. You might also offer amendments that would ultimately make the motion less desirable — an amendment to change $12 to $15 would be one.

The amending process can be a very strong way to work for the defeat of a motion. I will make it the topic of a separate blog post.

A New Board of Directors

When your organizations has elections and a new board of directors is elected, your work is cut out for you. Depending upon how large of change you have, your work load will vary from very light to a complete retraining of the board. You need to arrange your time carefully.

As I see it, the first thing you have to check is the level of the President and the Secretary. This can usually be done simply by asking them questions. If they know what they are doing, count yourself among the blessed; if they don’t know what they are doing and think that they do, you have a major problem. These two are the ones that most critically need training.

When training the President, I recommend using the eleven points that RONR makes about the duties of the chair. Look at pages 433 to 435 for a list of the eleven. While this is a fairly simple list, getting a new chair up to par on them may take a fair amount of training.

For the secretary, you need to do the same thing. Again, RONR has a list of 11 duties for the secretary. Go to pages 442-443 for all the details. Again, training to do things properly may involve a lot more work than initially appears.

The rest of the board needs training too. They need training on how to make motions, make amendments, etc. In many cases, old habits are going to have to be broken. At the same time, the parliamentarian needs a good working knowledge of the bylaws of the organization.

Parliamentary terms like Point of Order, Point of Information, are going to have be explained and demonstrated — if the board is willing to undergo training. Many are not ready to do that.

In training a new board, I do not expect immediate success. It takes time and repetition as there are many old habits that have to be broken. But as I train one board, I know that future boards will be easier to train — People will usually learn from what has happened before.

Good luck with your new board.

Credentials — what are they

Credentials are those little letters after a person’s name that tell you what qualifications they have. In the Parliamentary world, there are currently five sets that are recognized by major organizations. Yes, there are other ones put out by other organizations, but they do not have the recognition.

The five are CP, CPP, -T, RP, and PRP. The first three are issued by the American Institute of Parliamentarians; and the last two are issued by the National Association of Parliamentarians.

CP means Certified Parliamentarian. To gain this accreditation, one must pass a written test and accumulate a certain number of points. The test covers Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, The Standard Code (4th Edition), Cannon’s Rules of Order, and Demeter’s Blue Book.

CPP means Certified Professional Parliamentarian. To gain this accreditation, you need to first have obtained your CP credentials. You have to accumulate more service points. You need to pass a two part Oral Exam — one part of which is presiding and the other part is answering questions.

The -T is a teaching credential. You need to have at least a CP to obtain it. You then need to take a training course and pass it. After the course, you need to accumulate 15 hours teaching parliamentary procedure.

Once you have obtained the above credentials, you need to renew them. This is done by attending conferences or the like; or, in the case of the teaching certification, teaching at an approved workshop or doing another approved activity.

The above three are done through the American Institute of Parliamentarians. You need to contact them via their website (  The website will provide you with all the information you need.

RP means Registered Parliamentarian and is given to those passing an exam given by the National Association of Parliamentarians. The exam is on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.

PRP means Professional Registered Parliamentarian. To get this you need to take and pass course. To keep it, you need to take and pass a requalifying course.

To get all the information you need, go to and look at the information provided.

These five are the most common. Good luck with getting them.

What Manual to Follow

There are several different manuals that can serve as your parliamentary authority. Despite the claims of the followers of each manual, no one manual solves all the problems that a society might have. Here is a quick look at some of the major ones.

The classic is Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. This is, by far, the most commonly used manual. It is complete so it will fulfill all your needs. However, it is so complete that it is difficult to follow. Having too much information is a problem.

Meeting Procedures by James Lochrie is my second choice. It is a simple manual but very complete. Those following it have a very good chance of never finding a question that is not answered.

The Standard Code by a group of people is the third example. I am finding that I like the fourth edition less and less. There are too many things that are not covered or are covered weakly. It is complete enough if a society has no problems, but fails when major problems are encountered. The style in which it is written does not work well for the person who is not overly familiar with parliamentary procedure.

Cannon’s book is only good if you are working with a very large group. I find it too restricting if you are working with a small society. Then, Hugh Cannon worked extensively with large groups.

Demeter’s work is an excellent work but it is very outdated. It has not been updated in the last couple of decades and thus does not reflect modern procedures and rules. If it is updated, then it will be great. The learning questions within the manual are very helpful.

These manuals will take you a long way. There are other manuals out there, but I do not have the time to go into them.

Good luck in finding a good manual for your organization.

Members disagreeing

Do members have to agree with the acts of the society? The answer to this question depends upon what philosophy of business you follow. There is no simple answer that applies to all.
One school of thought says that if the society has approved something, then all must support it and not express opposing views. This school is of the opinion that descent is not to be allowed. So if a board approves a policy, all the members of the board can only speak in favor the policy.
The second school of thought is that the members retain the right to disagree with the decisions of the body. They have the right to work for a change be it at the same level or at a higher level.
Both schools of thought do believe that all members have to respect the actions of the group. The members cannot do actions that go against a policy even though they may be working to change the policy.
I am a member of the second group. When somebody tells me that I must temper my opinion to what has been passed, I tell them that they are crazier than a hoot owl. This is not a business situation where the team must present only one face. I have retained my right to disagree although I do believe that I am obligated to follow the policy or idea that was adopted.

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