Parliamentary Authorities: Robert’s Rules of Order vs Sturgis vs The AIP Standard Code

In my work as an attorney, Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher, I work with quite a few different parliamentary manuals. That’s because different organizations use different books as their procedural guide for membership and board meetings. I’m often asked about differences, so here’s a guide to the three parliamentary books most likely to be encountered. (If more information is needed, my Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition goes into greater detail as well as compares specific practices between the books.) A “parliamentary authority” is a book on meeting procedure an organization follows because of a state … Continue reading

Reviews Are in for New Parliamentary Procedure Books!

The reviewing side of Publisher’s Weekly recently posted great reviews of my latest books, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. Each was also selected as an “Editor’s Pick,” which is described as “a book of outstanding quality.” Because the reviews are on a scrolling site (with latest reviews on top), the reviews are reprinted below. Read these and other reviews at Latest Reviews. Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track: The Brief and Easy Guide to Parliamentary Procedure for the Modern Meeting Crisp, clear, and always on-point, Slaughter’s “fast track” guide to … Continue reading

What Can Members Vote on at an HOA or Condo Membership Meeting?

A question came up during a recent online discussion about “what members can do at an HOA or condo membership meeting?” Specifically, the questioner wondered if a member could seek recognition and unexpectedly make a motion to “make the association do most anything.” It’s a good question, and one we community association lawyers spend time analyzing. Hate to say, “It depends,” but facts matters. This is not a question that can be answered in a vacuum without specifics. State statutes and governing documents (usually the bylaws or articles of incorporation) vary as to what authority the membership has versus the … Continue reading

Best Practices for Board Meeting Minutes

A question came up during a recent online discussion about “best practices” for board meeting minutes. The answer to questions of what should (or should not) be included in minutes is more complicated than it seems. This article will give a broad answer, but I have to mention there are chapters in both my recent books, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition, on what to include (or not) in minutes, approving minutes, changing minutes after the fact, handling closed/executive session meeting minutes, as well as model minutes templates and skeletal minutes (writing minutes before … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order in US Court of Appeals Decision

This case mentioning Robert’s Rules of Order appeared in the “Roberts Rules in the News” page of my parliamentary website at www.jimslaughter.com. The decision is a bit of a unicorn. While many news articles mention Robert’s and meetings issues, few court cases do. (Court decisions that make it to published appellate decisions tend to go on for longer and cost more money than most meetings disputes warrant.) Far fewer federal court opinions deal with Robert’s disputes, and this is from a U.S. Court of Appeals, which is shockingly rare. So even though the decision may not be that significant to … Continue reading

HOA/Condo Rental Restrictions, Corporate Owners & Institutional Investors

Requests for amendments to declarations tend to go in waves. Twenty years ago many associations were concerned about certain categories of sex offenders living in their communities. For several years now, the declaration amendment our firm most often gets asked about has to do with rental restrictions. Such questions arise out of concern that too many rentals or certain types of rentals will impact the “character” of neighborhoods. As a result, associations regularly approach our firm for advice on rental bans, rental caps, or restrictions on short-term/transient rentals like Airbnb or VRBO. (See Top Declaration Amendments for an HOA or … Continue reading

Book Review: Run, Don’t Walk, to Buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

Ann Macfarlane, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian in Seattle who works with many local governments and is author of Mastering Council Meetings: A Guidebook for Elected Officials and Local Governments, published the following review of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track on her website: Reader, I am over the moon about Jim Slaughter’s new book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. This brief, affordable and funny guidebook will give you the tools to apply Robert’s Rules immediately and effectively. Jim’s humor and focus kept me reading with enjoyment, underlining key phrases, and dotting the text with exclamation points. Jim starts the first chapter, … Continue reading

Taliercio Re-Elected President of American College of Parliamentary Lawyers

Law Firm Carolinas partner Michael Taliercio has been re-elected President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers. The ACPL acknowledges attorneys who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the practice of parliamentary law, including lawyers that work with nonprofit associations, unions, HOA and condo associations, houses of worship, and governmental bodies. Taliercio is both an attorney and a Professional Registered Parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians.

Is There a Difference between The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (“Sturgis”) and AIP’s Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure?

I recently posted that as a result of the new 12th Edition of Robert’s Rules, there are updated “cheat sheets” to the motions most often seen in meetings. On the Charts & Handouts Page of our firm’s parliamentary website are parliamentary motions guides to the most common parliamentary authorities, including Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition), The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Fourth Edition (“Sturgis”), and the American Institute of Parliamentarian’s Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure. (Different types of organizations tend to use different parliamentary authorities.) That led someone to ask, “Is there a difference between The Standard Code of Parliamentary … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order & Sturgis Motions “Cheat Sheets”

This year saw the publication of my two new books on proper meeting procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. With the publication of these books (based on the new 12th Edition of Robert’s), I’ve been asked if there are updated “cheat sheets” to the motions most often seen in meetings. The answer is “yes.” Parliamentary motions guides to the most used parliamentary authorities, including Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition), The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Fourth Edition (“Sturgis”), and AIP’s Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, can all … Continue reading

Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition NOW AVAILABLE!

This summer I let you know about the release of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, a quick go-to guide that provides details on the most used motions, appropriate informal procedures for association boards, and general advice for shortening meetings. Pleased to say it was the #1 new release in its category on Amazon, as small a category as that might be. As a follow-up, the new Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules is now available! Regardless of your level of parliamentary experience, you’ll learn something new from Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. The book complements Robert’s Rules of … Continue reading

ABA Journal Podcast on Meetings & Robert’s Rules

If you like podcasts, the American Bar Association Journal interviewed me this month for its ABA Journal Modern Law Library on “Sick of Meetings That Go Off the Rails? Robert’s Rules of Order Can Help.” The discussion covered everything from the importance of proper meeting procedure, board versus member meeting procedure, myths about meetings, minutes, parliamentarians, parliamentary organizations, and more. Depending on your preferred podcast platform, the episode can be found at: Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherOvercast Here’s the Modern Law Library website for the episode:

Update on Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules

Several readers on Amazon have sent me a message to the effect of, “I have your Robert’s Rules Of Order Fast Track, but can’t seem to find Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition, only the Fourth Edition for the last Robert’s. Where can I find the Fifth Edition?” First off, thanks for reading and for looking for the book! That’s gratifying to me as an author. Hope the books have been helpful. (As an aside, if you found the Fast Track guide helpful, please consider commenting or posting a review here, as that is how people find out … Continue reading

Should Meeting Minutes Include Names of Members in Attendance?

A question came up during a recent online discussion about whether the names of members attending a board meeting should be listed in the minutes, and perhaps even show what time the member arrived. Here’s not one, not two, but THREE answers! First, the good news is there’s no wrong answer. At the end of the day, the minutes are what the specific body within your organization decides by majority vote it wishes to have in its minutes. Different organizations have different style minutes. Second, if you follow (or try to follow) Robert’s Rules of Order there is no answer, … Continue reading

NC Community Association Legislative Update – June 21, 2022

ADOPTED BILL HAS IMPORTANT HOA/CONDO FIXES AND CHANGES TO HOW CONDOS ARE CREATED Due to other more pressing issues, several important bills impacting community associations were not addressed by the General Assembly in 2021. Those proposals have seen quick action this week, been adopted, and sent to the Governor for signature. Senate Bill 278’s(“SB278”) important features include that it: (1) “rescues” many older associations from concerns about the Marketable Title Act due to appellate decisions in 2021, (2) makes clear the NC Condominium Act applies to older condos when pursuing unpaid assessments, and (3) changes how condominiums are created. (The … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

My newest book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, is now available! My first book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Parliamentary Procedure Fast-Track (2012) has been very popular, and Penguin asked for a new edition of the book updated for the new Robert’s Rule of Order and to include a discussion of  virtual and electronic meetings. Proper meeting procedure is more important than ever—especially in these contentious times. With that in mind, the book also covers dealing with problem members and problem chairs. To better reflect its focus, the book has been renamed Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track: The … Continue reading

How to Avoid Yellow Card Hell

My parliamentary articles tend to be general. Most often, they address broad procedural issues of widespread concern. This one is rather specific, as it addresses a practice most often encountered by state affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA), although some other types of organizations have similar procedures. Different meetings have different methods of recognition, most often due to past practice or convention standing rules. The NEA and its state affiliate meetings have long used recognition cards for those wishing to speak. Unlike voting cards (described in Voting Cards at Conventions & Annual Meetings), recognition cards are different and explained … Continue reading

Is It Time for a Post-Pandemic Bylaws Review?

The following article from Mark Athitakis appeared on May 15, 2022 in Associations Now from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The full article can be found by clicking here. Is It Time for a Post-Pandemic Bylaws Review? Antiquated bylaws can lock associations into a structure that makes little sense today. One expert explains why now is a good time for a refresh. Among the many things the pandemic has exposed are problems with association bylaws. Meetings were upended and the makeup of membership changed, but an association’s governing documents haven’t always adapted to that new reality. “Some [associations] have … Continue reading

Happy Birthday to the Author of Robert’s Rules of Order

Today (May 2, 2022) is 185 years since the birth of Henry Martyn Robert, the author of the original Robert’s Rules of Order. He was born May 2, 1837, in Robertville, SC, served in the Union Army, and eventually rose to General in the Army Corps of Engineers. Robert’s first edition, published in 1876, was far different than today’s Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition) published by the Robert’s Rules Association. For starters, it was only 176 pages. Robert’s stated intent was to create a “very brief pocket manual, so cheap that every member of a church or … Continue reading

Voting Cards at Conventions & Annual Meetings

Although COVID-19 is (hopefully) waning, there are still concerns about immediately going back to the way things used to be done at annual meetings. For instance, the most common method pre-pandemic of voting during large meetings was by voice. On any matter to be decided, the presiding officer would ask all those in favor to say “AYE,” and those opposed to say “NO.” With continuing concerns about the virus, both leaders and health professionals have questioned whether hundreds or thousands of delegates should all be yelling in a crowded room at the same time, masked or not. There are alternatives … Continue reading