My neighbour went to the September 19, 2019 Union Bay improvement District monthly meeting. During the meeting Chair Healey was inundated by points of order.
So, I decided to get some answers on Rogers rule of order….
Rules are put in place to protect members’ rights, and when the rules aren’t followed, those rights can get trampled. Fortunately, Robert’s Rules says that any member who notices a breach of the rules has a right to call immediate attention to the fact and insist that the rules be enforced by raising a point of order.
If you notice a breach of the rules, especially if that breach impinges on your rights or the rights of other members, you rise — quickly, mind you, even if you interrupt a speaker, or you’ll be too late — and say, “Point of order, Madam President!” or “Madam President, I rise to a point of order!”
When you’re recognized, you state your reasons for thinking your organization’s rules aren’t being followed correctly. The president, hopefully, recognizes the validity of your point and goes back to following the rules.
Sometimes, however, the point being raised is not as clear as whether a member’s motion is being handled correctly. The point of order may, for example, be that a proposed amendment is not germane to the main motion. In that case, the chair may reasonably be in doubt (or may just prefer to let the assembly decide the point in the interest of harmony). If that’s the case, she responds, “The chair is in doubt on the member’s point. All those who consider the amendment germane will say aye . . . Opposed, no . . . The ayes have it and the amendment is germane.”
A point of order
- Can interrupt a speaker who has the floor.
- Doesn’t need to be seconded.
- Isn’t debatable.
- Can’t be amended.
- Is decided by the chair.
POINT OF ORDER
It is obvious that the meeting is not following proper rules. • Without recognition, “I rise to a point of order,” or “Point of order.”
POINT OF INFORMATION
You are wondering about some of the facts under discussion, such as the balance in the treasury when expenditures are being discussed. • Without recognition, “Point of information.”
POINT OF PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY You are confused about some of the parliamentary rules. • Without recognition, “Point of parliamentary inquiry.”
Ruling on a Point of Order
The Chair has the duty to preserve order and decorum and to decide any matter of procedure that may arise. In addition, the Chair decides questions of order once they arise and not in anticipation. Though raised on a point of order, hypothetical queries on procedure cannot be addressed to the Chair
When a point of order is raised, the chair attempts to rule on the matter immediately. However, if necessary, the chair may take the matter under advisement and come back to the later with a formal ruling. The chair may also allow discussion on the point of order before coming to a decision. Once the decision is rendered, the matter is no longer open to debate or discussion and the ruling cannot be appealed.