Leadership Notes #14 – Rights & Responsibilities of Members

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

by Lydia Croft, PRP [minor editing by Michael Brown]

(part of the parliamentary procedure subseries)

[[please keep in mind that we are speaking of “rights” in terms of “parliamentary rights of members”, which by and large means the “right of voice” (make motions, speak in debate of said motions) and “right of vote” (to vote on motions), sometimes referred to as the “right of voice and vote”.]]

1. To attend meetings
2. To be notified of meetings
3. To make and second motions
4. To debate the questions (discuss the motion/business)
5. To vote on all motions
6. To appear before the crew or committee to state your case
7. To serve on committees
8. To serve as an officer
9. To object to the consideration of disagreeable motions
10. To help elect officers
11. To help decide how the money is to be spent
12. To promote all the projects of the crew
13. To appeal the decision of the chair
14. To invite qualified people to join
15. To defend the purpose of the organization


1. To attend and remain to the end of the meetings
2. To pay all dues & fees without complaining
3. To obey all rules & customs of the crew
4. To read and understand all the bylaws and rules of the crew
5. To take your turn in serving on committees
6. To support with money and service and time the activities of your crew
7. To know how to use the rights given to you by the bylaws and adopted parliamentary authority
8. To learn the correct way to make motion to carry on business
9. To express opinions on questions while IN the meetings and while the motions are on the floor
10. To amend motions if they don’t express the need of the majority
11. To know and observe the rules of DEBATE and COURTESY of debate
12. To know when some motions should be sent to a committee for further information
13. To call a “point of order” when you see a rule has been broken. Must be called to attention immediately.
14. To appeal the decision of the chair on a point of order if you disagree with a decision
15. To know the difference between the use of “To Lay on the Table” and “Postpone to the next meeting”
16. To realize when discussion has gone on too long and CALL FOR THE PREVIOUS QUESTION (ie, end debate/discussion)
17. To know that motions that limit or take away a privilege require a 2/3 vote.


* Members have more rights than the president!

* Express your opinions while in the meeting, and do NOT criticize to others AFTER the meeting.

* If you want better officers, be more careful whom you elect.

* If you can do better, offer your services; don’t criticize unless you are willing to do the job yourself. (RUN for office! Get on a committee! Make a difference!)


Postscript- if some of the terms aren’t clear to you, then you need to learn more about parliamentary procedure. Please read up on it, or see past and future entries in this series.