April 7/14: Education Policy: The Record Off The Record: Question Everything, Even Learning Initiatives


The Official Robert’s Rules of Order Website FAQ

  • Question 2: Can ex-officio members vote, and are they counted in determining whether a quorum is present?

Answer: “Ex officio” is a Latin term meaning “by virtue of office or position.” Ex-officio members of boards and committees, therefore, are persons who are members by virtue of some other office or position that they hold. For example, if the bylaws of an organization provide for a Committee on Finance consisting of the treasurer and three other members appointed by the president, the treasurer is said to be an ex-officio member of the finance committee, since he or she is automatically a member of that committee by virtue of the fact that he or she holds the office of treasurer.

Without exception, ex-officio members of boards and committees have exactly the same rights and privileges as do all other members, including, of course, the right to vote. There are, however, two instances in which ex-officio members are not counted in determining the number required for a quorum or in determining whether or not a quorum is present. These two instances are: 1. In the case of the president, whenever the bylaws provide that the president shall be an ex-officio member of all committees (or of all committees with certain stated exceptions); and 2. When the ex-officio member of the board or committee is neither an ex-officio officer of the board or committee nor a member, employee, or elected or appointed officer of the society (for example, when the governor of a state is made ex officio a member of a private college board).

Again, however, it should be emphasized that in these instances the ex-officio member still has all of the rights and privileges of membership, including the right to vote. [RONR (11th ed.), pp. 483-84; p. 497, ll. 20-29.]


Bylaw 9250.2 Notices of Motion says “should” , not “must” submit motions ahead of time. Of course  it is a good idea to submit ahead of time, but on occasion timeliness precludes that happening.

See, for example:

  • Introduction to Robert’s rules of Order 
  • Chapter Six, American Institutute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, and Robert’s Rules for Dummies, p 80, both of which state that motions from the floor are a normal part of business..
  • As well, SD61 Bylaw 9368: “In all meetings of the Board of Trustees, procedures shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where provisions of the bylaws of the Board or the Schools Act may conflict, in which case the latter shall prevail.”  “Should” is not prescriptive, so no Bylaw conflicts, and the School Act does not deal with this issue. If the majority of this Board wants to prohibit motions from the floor in some standard way then Bylaw 9250.2 needs to be changed. That’s obviously not practical however, as business via motion needs to be allowed to come from the floor.

Right now at the  SD61 Board, accepting motions from the floor – or not – seems to be left to the discretion of the chair, which is not a good thing in public perception. Attention will be on whose motions are allowed to be added to the agenda from the floor for debate and disposition at the meeting, and whose motions may or may not be dealt with in a timely way or even barred from coming from the floor for debate and vote at that meeting. There needs to be clarity of procedure and consistency.

Except clarity and consistency are possibly “not our practice”.

2014 April little tulips


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