Strogino Norfolk Daily News (Norfolk, Nebraska)

“Robert’s Rules of Order.” Those words were heard during last week’s city council meeting. They were brought up because our city council follows Robert’s Rules of Order. In fact, so does pretty much every parliamentary body in America.

Who is this Robert guy? What are his rules? And… forgive my ignorance… but, what’s a parliamentary body [ed. deliberative assembly] ?

First, let’s start with the parliamentary body. It is any group of people that makes decisions, typically by giving one vote per person. Some examples are a board of directors, a school board, a city council, an HOA, a county board, and even a church board.

Second, who is Robert? His full name was Henry Martyn Robert, and he was an officer in the United States Army at the turn of the twentieth century. Long story short, Robert was somewhat disgruntled at the lack of consistency of how small parliamentary bodies ran their meetings. So, he set about establishing some guidelines.

Robert modeled his guidelines after the procedures followed by the U.S. Congress, the supreme legislative body in the nation. While he first published his guidelines in 1876, they have been revised on several occasions. The most recent update—the twelfth edition—was actually published last month, September 2020. Most parliamentary bodies specifically adopt “Robert’s Rules of Order” in their codes, or by-laws. This allows their procedures to automatically update every time a new edition is published.

Ok, so what do his rules say? How are meetings supposed to be run?     . . .

Read more on the Norfolk Daily News website.

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