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Ms. Worsman uses parliamentary procedures only when convenient

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I would like to ask Colette Worsman if she owns a copy of "Roberts Rules of Order." Does she know basic procedure? Or, more frightening and dangerous to open, transparent, honest and democratic governance, does she even care? Is she aware that a meeting of an organization, governmental or not, is to be conducted by these very simple rules? And that these are required of governmental bodies specifically to prevent abuses of power? Is she aware of this? Or does she even care?

Bylaws and other governing documents always take precedence over seat-of-the-pants uses of parliamentary power (this is you and your board). If a board has officers who are duly elected by ballot or appointed, this board has the responsibility to hold open meetings, with the exception of executive session. An executive session must be announced beforehand and included on the printed meeting agenda. This is referred to as parliamentary procedures.

Whether a board or convention meeting is run effectively and honestly, it helps to know, or learn, basic parliamentary procedures. Prepare a printed agenda to:

1) Keep the meeting on track.

2) Provide a record of what happened at the meeting.

A clear agenda is the necessary foundation. An agenda should clearly state why the meeting is called, what is to be discussed and what should be accomplished during the meeting time, who will attend, and the time.

Then follow the list of topics. The person who is running the meeting has the responsibility to be prepared, keep things on track, and must be sure everyone who wants to be heard is heard and has the opportunity to contribute. This means not just those who you know support you, and it means more than cutting off those who disagree with you with a dismissive "Thank you for your input." That is like the prerecorded phone messages that tell a frustrated customer left on hold that "Your business is very important to us."

I attended a County Commission meeting where the possibility of building a new county jail was discussed. I was surprised and quite frankly shocked to see how this "meeting" was conducted. This is when I observed how Ms. Worsman runs a meeting. Forget "Roberts Rules of Order." Parliamentary procedures just weren't followed. I left the meeting shaking my head in disbelief and disgust. When it was convenient for Ms. Worsman to follow parliamentary procedure she did. Then when it suited her pre-determined needs she adapted procedures that were totally contrary to any legitimate parliamentary rules of order. Sometimes when I watch the way she "conducts" County Convention meetings, I suspect she is just winging it, as no process of correct parliamentary procedures are followed or allowed.

Bernadette Loesch