In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the naïve Mr. Smith yields the Senate floor out of courtesy to a colleague, In doing so he loses his ability to debate on his legislation to prevent graft and corruption,  Mr. Smith learned the hard way about the importance of knowing procedural rules. Officers and members of boards and and associations need to know the rules of order to achieve their goals and help their enterprises succeed. Our expertise includes:

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Many see an agenda item as an issue that needs to be discussed. While the import of an issue may warrant discussion, in the context of a meeting and parliamentary procedure, simply discussing an issue without a clear question on which to decide tends to waste a great deal of time and the chair should rule such a discussion out of order. An agenda item must be in the form of a motion or resolution that can be discussed and decided upon.

For example, a school committee member may believe that school lunch prices are too high. If the member wants to spend a half hour explaining why school lunch prices are too high without ever offering motion to reduce them, the chairman should rule the school committee member out of order. More appropriately and productive, the member should make a motion under new business or wherever appropriate to reduce school lunch prices by 50 cents, and then make the argument as to why.

Offering an item of business or a motion often takes work on the part of the member. Often times this entails research to formulate a motion or resolution that accomplishes the desired end. The research may also include  information as to why the motion or resolution ought to be adopted. In some cases this is quite easy; in most, the job of offering an item of business takes considerable work. So be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!

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What is an agenda item?

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