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Order of Business

Based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th Edition)

Part of any meeting should be a systematic plan for the orderly conduct of business. The sequence in which business is taken up during a meeting is known as the "Order of Business." The Order of Business is a blueprint for the meeting and typically has the following components:

Opening the Meeting
The presiding officer should never call the meeting to order until a quorum is present. A quorum is the number of members entitled to vote who must be present in order for business to be legally transacted. Quorum is typically defined in the governing documents.

Once a quorum is present, the presiding officer calls the meeting to order by stating, "The meeting will come to order."

Approval of Minutes
In meetings when minutes are to be approved, the minutes are typically distributed to all members so that they do not have to be readaloud. Corrections and approval are normally done by unanimous consent. That is, the presiding officer can ask, "Is there any objection to approving the minutes as read [or distributed]." If there is no objection, the minutes are approved.

Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees
The first substantive item of business in meetings is typically hearing from the officers and established boards and committees. The logic in this order of arrangement is to give priority to the items of business from the leadership. Typically, the presiding officer learns in advance who needs to report and only calls on those officers, boards, and committees that have reports.

Reports are generally for information only. In such instances, no motion is necessary following the reports unless there are recommendations to be implemented. A motion "to adopt" or "to accept" a report is seldom wise except when the report is to be issued or published in the name of the organization. On the other hand, it is common that the reporting member end by making a motion if there is a specific recommendation for action.

For example, the Facilities Committee may have studied the buildings and grounds. In her report, the committee chairman might thank the members of the committee for their hard work and explain in detail the committee's position and reasoning. At the end of her report, the committee chair would close by saying something to the effect of, "On behalf of the committee, I move that Building X be renovated at a cost not to exceed $50,000.00."

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Articles are intended to provide general information and are not legal advice or a legal opinion. Specific questions should be directed to an attorney at Black, Slaughter & Black, PA., or to another lawyer.