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Parliamentary Procedure Time

Start the Meeting on Time

Has this ever happened to you?

You were racing around like a mad person, driving a little too fast even, to get to your meeting on time. It was going to be close, but you made it. You slid into your seat at the table with 2 minutes to spare. Taking two deep breaths, you looked around the table and saw a lot of empty seats.

The chairman looked at his watch when the time for the meeting came, shook his head and continued shuffling papers. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes went by and two, then three more members came shuffling in. The meeting you rushed to attend started a full thirty minutes late.

It is the chairman's responsibility to call the meeting to order on time. When the time arrives, if there is a quorum, call the meeting to order and proceed to conduct business. As the late comers straggle in, do not stop and back up for them - continue just as though they had been there on time as they should.

If the chairman sees there is no quorum present, he or she should still call the meeting to order on time. The next step to take is to recess, take steps to obtain a quorum, adjourn, or set an adjourned meeting. During a recess, more members may come and the meeting can resume. Taking steps to obtain a quorum might entail making phone calls or other actions. If it seems there will not be a quorum at the meeting, the group still can have a program and may even hold informal discussions. No business can be transacted, though, without a quorum.

Nevertheless, it is only fair to the members who arrive on time to get the meeting started on time.

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Ann Guiberson

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