WHAT IS A PARLIAMENTARIAN?
A credentialed parliamentarian advises boards, councils, conventions and assemblies in the proper procedure for conducting business in an orderly and expeditious manner. At the same time, the use of Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised as your manual of parliamentary rules follows several basic themes:
- Expressing the will of the majority while at the same time protecting the rights of the minority and/or absentees is a major theme.
- Conducting business efficiently and only one item of business at a time is also a major theme. As an example, at a recent convention, business was completed with a time savings of almost one-third of the time allotted when the same convention, in years passed, had never completed their order of business.
WHY DO I NEED A PARLIAMENTARIAN?
Commonly as parliamentarians, our advice is not sought until it is either too late or most of the damage is done. Review and update those bylaws before you assembly has a major altercation! A professional parliamentarian can also ensure that what you want it to say in the bylaws is actually what the bylaws state. This would save on at least a few lawsuits and hard feelings that are completely unnecessary. It is better to seek the advice of a parliamentarian before you expel a member from membership rather than to testify on the organization’s behalf when the member brings a lawsuit because they were expelled wrongfully or not according to the assembly’s procedure.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I CONTACT A PARLIAMENTARIAN?
It depends on the parliamentary needs. For a convention in which there are many items of business submitted well in advance and a great deal of scripting is needed because of an inexperienced chair or assembly, most of the work will be accomplished well in advance of the actual convention. In that situation, you may want to choose to hire two or more parliamentarians. One can serve as a professional presider, one as the convention parliamentarians and all three can advise in the advance committee work. The cost of holding a convention, not to mention the cost of delegates in terms of time and travel, will normally offset the cost of hiring the parliamentarian(s).
For a bylaw revision or the formation of an organization, it is very common to have bylaw requirements which require the draft to be submitted to a committee and also distributed to the membership far in advance of the actual vote on the document. A parliamentarian can greatly expedite both the proper formatting of the document and the committee work necessary to have the will of the assembly match the written document but also the correct procedure for consideration and adoption of the documents.
At The Parli Pros, we can provide all of these services as well as competitive team consulting, script writing, bylaw review, serving as tellers and especially training involving Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised and the general parliamentary law.
WHAT CAN AND CAN’T A PARLIAMENTARIAN DO FOR ME?
A parliamentarian can help you prepare for conventions, meetings, bylaw revisions, train your membership and officers as well as writing opinions on parliamentary law and issues or scripts for your convention.
A parliamentarian cannot practice law (such as forming corporations) or in most cases, turn back time (to undo something that has been done incorrectly.)
DO I HIRE A PARLIAMENTARIAN FROM THE CITY WHERE THE MEETING WILL BE HELD OR PICK A PARLIAMENTARIAN TO STAY WITH OUR ORGANIZATION LONG TERM?
The answer to this one is surprisingly complex. Many times the savings in prep time for a parliamentarian to repeat as a meeting or convention parliamentarian will more than offset the cost of travel to multiple host locations. That being said, we are readily available to work conventions at Phoenix Convention Center, Tucson Convention Center, Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Laughlin, Las Vegas Area Conventions, Sedona, or other locals. We also love to travel so regardless of your location we are available to serve your meeting or convention.
If you have a parliamentary question or consulting need please call us at 623-536-8200 or email us at [email protected]. The initial consultation or answer to a question is free provided we do not have convert it to a written opinion.