Conducting a MAPE meeting
CHAIRING A MEETING AND THE ROLE OF THE CHAIRPERSON
The “Golden Rule” of democratic meetings is:
MEMBERS HAVE RIGHTS THAT THE MAJORITY CANNOT TAKE AWAY, NAMELY THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD, NO MATTER HOW UNPOPULAR THE OPINION MAY BE.
There is more to running a meeting than knowing the ins and outs of parliamentary procedure. Common sense applied to the rules will make the chair’s decisions easier. The chair walks a fine line when running a meeting.
If you are too technical and precise, members may be intimidated and withdraw from important discussions. Remember that the local meeting is also the time for the local leadership to receive information from the members. On the other hand if the chair is too easy going, the meeting can spin out of control and very little will be accomplished. The basics come down to this:
- All business should be in the form of a motion.
- Motions must have a second.
- Discussion on a motion happens after a second is made.
- The members can vote to establish timelines for speakers on issues or motions.
- Members may speak to an issue or motion when recognized by the chair.
- During discussion, motions may be amended, through discussion and a vote on the amendment.
- Make sure that members have enough information to make a decision on any motion.
- Every motion requires action, i.e. pass, fail, table or postpone.
- Utilize the business of the local to let your members know how parliamentary procedure works.
- The chair must turn the gavel (or chair position) over to another officer in order to speak to a motion.
- Majority rules, always.