Did You Know?
You have heard of Mr. Roberts? No, not the one on
TV "in the neighborhood", no, not the Lt. Robert, Naval
Officer from the Movies. Mr. Henry Roberts [1837-1923]. He was a
West Point educated U.S. Army Officer. He became interested in parliamentary
law when he was asked to preside at a meeting and found he didn't
know how. He found after attending meetings in different parts of
the country, that everyone was going by their own set of rules,
no one really knew how, as there were no rules. After investigating
what was written at the time about meeting order of business and
finding that no authority agreed on the subject, he decided to write
his own set of rules. He published his own wors on the subject,
having 4,000 copies printed. The book was titled Pocket Manual
of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies. It was 176 pages
long. He then found a publisher, who retitled the book, Robert's
Rules of Order. That 1st edition sold out in 3 months. The
rest is history! Bringing order out of what can be chaos at times.
Some simple general rules:
TAKE UP BUSINESS ONE ITEM AT A TIME
*Each meeting, led by the Presiding Officer, follows
an order of business called an agenda, reviewed in its proper order,
and disposed of before moving to the next issue.
* Only one main motion can be pending at a time. When a main motion
is pending, members can make motions froma class of motions called
secondary motions. Some examples of secondary motions are
to amend, refer to a committee, and postpone.
These must be discussed, and resolved [voted on] before going back
to the main motion, which may have an amendment attached to it at
* Only one member can be assigned the floor at a time.
*Members take turns speaking.
No member speaks twice about a motion until all members have had
the opportunity to speak.
[more rules and procedures next time]