Parliamentary procedure is a term that describes the body of rules, ethics, and customs governing group meetings. The term is derived from the common law originating primarily in the practices of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. At its heart is the rule of the majority with respect for the minority. Its object is to allow deliberation upon questions of interest to the organization and to arrive at group decisions after a fair discussion of the matter being acted upon.
Self-governing organizations, such as homeowners associations, follow the rules of parliamentary procedure to debate and reach group decisionsusually by vote. The procedures facilitate the efficient and effective conducting of business in meetings of groups of people. The rules of parliamentary procedure embody the following four fundamental principles:
- Only one person speaks at a time;
- Only one question is decided at a time;
- The person that is speaking must be respectful to others;
- All parties have rights that must be respected via a balancing process.
State laws typically require that homeowners associations conduct their membership meetings in accordance with a recognized system of parliamentary procedure or any other parliamentary procedures that the association may adopt. If the association is not required by law or its governing documents to follow a recognized formal procedure (i.e. Robert’s Rules of Order), the association should document detailed procedures in a board resolution or the association’s bylaws.
Link to Robert’s Rules of Order:http://www.rulesonline.com/