Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians
Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

About the Unit

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) was originally the Parliamentary Unit of Oakland. In May, 1990, the name was changed to honor Mary Louise Saks, founder and longtime supporter of the unit. The Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians (MSAP) recognized LSPU as NAP unit of the year in Michigan for 2003-2007 and for 2009. In 2011 the unit was awarded national 3rd place for Unit Educational Opportunities. 

 

Visit Us Via Social Media on the Internet
Website:  http://lspunit.wordpress.com/      
Facebook:  facebook.com/LSPUMichigan       
 
Meetings 
Visitors are always welcome. 
  • The third Tuesday of each month

  • 9:30 to noon 

  • September through May

  • Location: the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, 1669 W Maple Rd, Birmingham. The May meeting is at the Village Club in Bloomfield Hills. 

 

An education program opens each meeting, followed by a recess.
The business meeting begins at 11 a.m. and usually finishes by noon.

 

 
Every month, the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit offers its members and guests an opportunity to be refreshed about a particular topic or to learn how to accomplish the action that is new to the group or to individuals.  All levels of expertise are welcome at our meetings.
 
 
For information about parliamentarians located in and
serving the greater Oakland County area contact us today!
 

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

Meeting Highlights

April 16, 2019

 

Life of a Secretary/Taking Minutes

 

Though there’s much more in the life of a secretary, the key responsibility for any secretary is writing meeting minutes.  Presenters Shelagh VanderVeen and Mary Ann Rosenberger offered  ways of preparing meeting minutes that are painless and can be done relatively easy.

 

Sometimes people think that the secretary has to write the Great American Novel.  Not so!

In fact, simple sentences in minutes are far better than any clever writing.  And what is placed in minutes is nota transcript of what is said in the meeting, but statements of what was donein the meeting.  What is donein a meeting includes motions being made and whether they are adopted or not.  It is unwise to include what is said in meetings because minutes can be used in a court of law and many of us do not want our statements open to public scrutiny.

 

As a way of facilitating the preparation of minutes is to plan an orderly way of noting what is done during a meeting.  The best way to do that is with a template that has the major parts of a meeting listed. At the time of the meeting the secretary simply fills in the blanks so he has the necessary details.  Here’s some major items that you might include in a template along with spaces for filling in the answers:

            

            Kind of meeting?

            Place/Date/Time of Beginning of meeting?

            Presider?

            Is secretary present?

            Officer reports with officers listed in order as they appear in the bylaws

            Standing committee reports, again in order as they appear in the bylaws

            Special committee reports

            Unfinished business

            New business

            Announcements

            Time meeting is adjourned

 

Another useful tool for the secretary is a thorough agenda.  Along with the template one can be assured of covering all the business transacted.

 

In order to get the new business correct and remember, new business happens by motions, motion forms can be very useful.  They can be purchased at the online NAP store  (www.parliamentarians.org) and in one step create four copies! Having members write their motions helps clarify the content of the business and is a great aid to any secretary—and presiding officer.

 

One more hint for all budding secretaries—Do the Minutes as Soon as You Can.  Even the sharpest details can grow fuzzy if you wait to write the minutes just before the next meeting.  Set aside a time as soon as you can to write the minutes and send them to the president so she can follow through on assignments made at the meeting.

Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit

March 19, 2019

Meeting Summary

 

Are meeting rules of order related to speaking privileges the same as the Freedom of Speech guaranteed in the Bill of Rights?  Short answer is “no” but presenters Stefanie Lewis and Karen Clemmons-Lloyd at the most recent meeting of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) guided us through a historical view of the need for rules when everyone has something important to say.

 

An important principle of Robert’s Rules of Order (RONR) is the one item of business at a time and one person speaking at a time.  If you’ve been part of a lively conversation that isn’t a meeting, you know how challenging it can be to listen when more than one person is speaking or when there are side conversations that you want to hear.

 

In meetings, the one person speaking at a time is even more important; RONR offers rules that may seem overly formal, but if the meeting is contentious at all, following rules means it’s fair to everybody.  Let’s consider a few of the rules.

 

            Before a member in a meeting can speak, she must claim the floor by rising and addressing the chair.  In small bodies, there’s less need to rise and the chair may simply nod to a person to “give her the floor.”  A chair mustrecognize any member who seeks the floor and is entitled to it.

 

            What happens when two people ( or more!) want to speak at once?  Generally, the member who rose and addressed the chair first after the floor was yielded, is given the floor.  It does a member no good to stand up before the floor is yielded.  An exception to this practice is that in some organizations any member who wishes to speak has to go to a microphone and stand while waiting. Still the member has to address the chair and receive permission to speak.

 

            If a member has made a motion and then been seated before speaking further (following the rules exactly right) the chair calls on the person who made the motion to be the first speaker even if somebody else is eager to debate.

 

            No member is entitled to speak a second time as long as any member who has not spoken yet claims the floor.  RONR allows a person to speak twice assuming everybody has spoken. The length of time may surprise you. RONR allows a person to speak ten minutes!  However, most organizations have special rules that limit the speaking time to under ten minutes.

 

Do members have freedom of speech in meetings?  Yes, every person who is a member can debate, but that speaking follows a prescribed rule of order either according to RONR or according to rules an organization adopts.

 

In April, LSPU will be meeting on the 16th at 9:30.  The meetings are held in the First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple in Birmingham, and visitors are always welcome for the study lesson and for the business meeting where we practice what we are studying.  The lesson will be Life of a Secretary/Taking Minutes. You’ll find out it’s easier than you think!

 

 

 

Unit Past President Barbara Bonsignore and NAP District 4 Regional Director Joyce Brown-Watkins, PRP, at September 16 Meeting

Program Highlights from 2015-2016

May 16, 2015 - Dissolution of a Society

It can happen. A club that was going strong and saving the world fifteen years ago can hardly get a quorum for meetings. An issue was so very important is being managed in a new way. Planting flowers in the park is now being done by the city.

When an organization is no longer important or it can no longer attract members, money or leadership it may be time to make a decision about the organization’s future. While there may be various options, sometimes it’s time to dissolve the society.

If the society is not incorporated and has no assets, it’s relatively easy to accomplish dissolution. The society gives notice to its members just as if they were going to amend the bylaws and then takes a vote at a meeting called especially for that purpose or at a regular meeting. Some organizations have provisions in the bylaws for dissolution; in that case you would follow those and distribute the assets as outlined.

If the society is incorporated it’s a little more complicated because you then need to fill out state forms where you are incorporated. A 501c(3) organization must be sure to assign its assets to another 501c(3) organization. Obviously all bills must be paid and previous commitments need to be fulfilled.

Again, you follow the bylaw provisions for amending bylaws or, if there is a clause for dissolution it needs to be followed. Especially with an organization that is incorporated it is good to ask an attorney how to proceed to dissolve. Assets, including endowment funds, must be properly disposed of in accordance with bylaws and state law.

During its last two years the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) created a fake unincorporated society called The Garden Gnome Society. Alas, it’s served its purpose as a learning tool. With a mixture of sadness and joy, the members dissolved The Garden Gnome Society by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting at the May 17, 2016 annual meeting, grateful for the pleasure of enjoying those strange little characters every month.

 

Beginning in September LSPU will continue its monthly meetings the third Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1669 West Maple, Birmingham, Michigan. In the coming year our lesson topics will all be By the Book—Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) Of Course! The September 20 topic will be the Order of Business. Guests are always welcome

March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting

 

What’s a privileged motion?

 

At its recent meeting, members of the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit, thoughtfully considered the nature of all privileged motions and the specific characteristics that affect a meeting’s flow.

What is a privileged motion? It is a special kind of motion that deals with privileges of the assembly and privileges of individuals in a meeting, special matters of immediate importance. Because they are of immediate importance, none of the privileged motions offer an opportunity for debate.

There are five privileged motions and while they do not directly relate to the pending motion of the floor, they do have a ranked order with their order as follows:

Call for the Orders of the Day Raise a Question of Privilege Recess
Adjourn

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.

With their ranked order it would not be in order to call for the orders of the day when the motion to recess is pending. But, it would be in order to move to recess while the lower ranking call for the orders of the day is pending.

Each has a particular description related to the matter of privilege.

Call for the Orders of the Day makes the assembly conform to the agenda or order of business and is stated, “I call for the orders of the day.” The presiding officer then goes immediately to what is supposed to be on the agenda at this time unless she/he senses that the assembly wants to complete the present business. Then, he/she takes a vote to set aside the orders of the day. It takes a 2/3 vote to set aside the orders of the day.

Raise a Question of Privilege permits a member to make a request related to the rights and privileges of the assembly or an individual. For example, a member may raise a question of privilege if the member cannot hear the speaker by saying, “I rise to a question of personal privilege; I cannot hear the speaker.”

Recess allows the assembly to take a short intermission and, upon returning, resume the business at hand. While it’s not debatable, the motion to recess is amendable related to the length of time of the recess. “I move to take a (set the amount of time) recess.” The motion requires as second and a majority adopts.

Adjourn is a motion that ends the meeting immediately while business is still pending. “I move to adjourn.” is the statement. It requires a second, a majority vote to approve, and, like all privileged motions, is not debatable.

Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is seldom encountered but it can be very useful when it becomes apparent that the assembly cannot complete business that must be accomplished at a specific meeting. The motion sets a later time to continue the current meeting before the next regular meeting. Here is how it is stated, “I fix the time to which to adjourn to 7 PM tomorrow at our present location.” If the undebatable motion is adopted the meeting will continue at 7 PM

tomorrow at the same location. This motion has nothing to do with setting the time that the present meeting will end; it relates only to continuing the meeting at a later time and place.

Presenters Vesta DeRiso and Eleanor Siewert followed these descriptors with some scripted examples of how and when the privileged motions might be used. Nearly everyone recalled a time when such privileged motions were used and many began to consider situations where using a privileged motion would have improved the meeting’s comfort or flow. This lesson surely offered all the chance to look for such opportunities in the future and to have the skill to use privileged motions.

 

The next Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit meeting will be April 19, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, MI located at 1669 West Maple Road. As usual the meeting will begin promptly at 9:30 with the education lesson followed by the unit’s business meeting concluding by noon.

Guests and visitors are always welcome to discover how much fun it can be to study and learn together in a congenial, accepting atmosphere.

 

 

40 Years and Counting...

This year the Louise Saks Parliamentary Unit (LSPU) celebrates its 40th anniversary as an organization offering leadership and education in parliamentary procedure. In 1975 we began serving the community, teaching how to have effective meetings where work is accomplished and all can participate following the guidance of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.

In its early years LSPU was the Oakland County Parliamentary Unit, but upon the death of its founder Louise Saks, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, who brought people together to study and then practice parliamentary procedure in various organizations, the Unit was renamed to honor Ms. Saks’ legacy. Now, members come from all around southeast Michigan, meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

 

LSPU is one of six parliamentary units in Michigan, all of them dedicated to educating members and the communities they serve in using Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised to accomplish organizations’ purposes.

 

March 2016 Meeting Highlights: LSPU Meeting

 

Annual Workshop - April 16, 2016

Save the date for the annual LSPU parliamentary workshop! This workshop comes with a guarantee; you will learn something new. Forty years and the still going strong... 

 

 

Here is what happened at the October 2015 Meeting...

 

When an assembly gets bogged down in the details of a proposed motion or when it appears that more information is needed so people can make an informed decision, it’s a good time to Refer or Commit the motion to a committee.  The October 20 lesson presented by Deb Davis and Terrien Bell showed members of the Louise Saks Unit how to do that correctly.  As usual, the imaginary Garden Gnome Society served as the organization that had to make a decision on a proposed motion “to have a gnome mascot.”

 

The question of having a mascot was referred to a special committee after considerable discussion about the type of mascot needed or if the society needed a mascot at all.  

“After all,” one member argued, “ a garden gnome image exists in our hearts and there is no need to select one particular gnome, male or female, to represent the society.”

Since there were widely-divergent views and numerous options, the entire motion was referred to a committee who will report in November with their recommendation.

 

 

Want to Become a Member?

To become a member of MSAP you must also belong to the National Association of Parliamentarians.  However, anyone interested in parliamentary procedure is welcome to join a local unit as a provisional member. For more information, use our contact form.

 We look forward to hearing from you!

PrintPrint | Sitemap
© Michigan State Association of Parliamentarians