The parliamentarian is an officer usually appointed by the president, subject to ratification by the executive board. A parliamentarian "pro tem" should be appointed in the absence of the parliamentarian.
The bylaws are specific rules by which the unit is governed, and they supersede any general rule of parliamentary law with which they may be in conflict. They are the "Articles of Organization." They may not be suspended, even by a unanimous vote. Any action contrary to the unit's bylaws is null and void and should be so stated when discovered.
The bylaws of the unit, council, district, State, and National PTA's all state that Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority. If help is needed in understanding or interpreting Robert's or the bylaws, the council or district PTA parliamentarian should be contacted.
The California State PTA bylaws contain "starred" articles and sections that are to be included in the unit bylaws. Do not alter, change, or add to any articles or sections with stars.
Note: The adoption of an amendment to any provision of the National PTA bylaws or to any provision of the California State PTA bylaws that pertain to unit, council, or district PTA automatically amends the units bylaws and does not require a vote of the unit. Other revisions to the units bylaws may be made only as provided in the bylaws themselves.
Policies and Procedures
Basic policies of the National PTA are included in all PTA bylaws. Parliamentarians often are asked to interpret these policies or give a rationale for them. The National PTA Annual Resources for PTAs discusses them in detail. The California State PTA and district PTAs also have policies and procedures that must be observed.
The statement in the bylaws, shall call the first meeting of the nominating committee and give instructions in procedure means that the parliamentarian should explain the eligibility requirements to hold office, which offices are to be filled, and those sections of the bylaws that pertain to the conduct of the nominating committee, committee voting procedure, etc. The parliamentarian conducts the election of the chairman of the nominating committee. The parliamentarian does not automatically serve as a member of the committee unless elected to it. The parliamentarian, if not a member of this committee, should be available for any questions by telephone or at a specific location.
UNIT PARLIAMENTARIAN RESPONSIBILITIES
Review and study the unit's bylaws and standing rules annually. No bylaws should be more than two years old. If changes are required, ask the president to appoint a committee for this review. Proposed amendments must be submitted through channels to the state parliamentarian for approval before adoption at an association meeting.
Be sure the current version of Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units is used. The date is noted on the front, and should not be more than two (2) years old. Instructions and procedures are included.
Assist the president in preparing for meetings when requested.
When requested, advise presiding officer on questions of parliamentary procedure. Parliamentarians do not "rule." Only the chairman has the power to rule on a question of order. If the parliamentarian has expressed an opinion at the request of the chairman, the chairman must still make the ruling. Assist the presiding officer by keeping track of the order of those wishing to speak, motions, amendments, voting, etc., during meetings. Make certain each member of the executive board has a current copy of the unit's bylaws and standing rules.
Attend training opportunities for parliamentary procedures and/or bylaw workshops when offered by the California State PTA, PTA district or council.
COUNCIL PARLIAMENTARIAN RESPONSIBILITIES
Council parliamentarian responsibilities are similar to those described in the unit parliamentarian section above, with some modifications.
Remind all units that they should be using the latest Bylaws for Local PTA/PTSA Units available for purchase from the state office or PTA district. The date of bylaws form is noted on the front or inside of front cover. They should not be more than two years old.
Be sure that your PTA district has a current copy of the council's bylaws.
Make certain each member of the executive board has a current copy of the council's bylaws and standing rules. Copies of the California State PTA Bylaws for Councils may be ordered from the California State PTA.
Encourage attendance at parliamentary procedure study courses when offered by the PTA district.
Receive and review all proposed bylaws changes of member units in council and forward to the PTA district parliamentarian.
Keep a file of up-to-date bylaws from all units within the council.
Offer a bylaws workshop for all units within the council.
DISTRICT PARLIAMENTARIAN RESPONSIBILITIES
PTA district bylaws are reviewed and submitted to the California State PTA at least every four years as assigned.
Remind all units and councils to use the latest bylaws. Forms are available for purchase from the state office. Date of bylaws form is noted on the front or inside of front cover. They should not be more than two years old.
Receive and review all proposed bylaws changes for member PTA units and councils in the PTA district and keep records thereof. Assist with any necessary changes. Promptly forward all proposed changes to the California State PTA parliamentarian.
Keep a file of up-to-date bylaws for all member units and councils within the PTA district.
Keep an up-to-date file of all member unit and council California State PTA record numbers, National PTA identification numbers and IRS Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) within the PTA district.
Offer a bylaws workshop for all units and councils within the PTA district.
Read some Questions and Answers from the Parliamentarian/Bylaws Commission
Publications of interest to Parliamentarians include:
1. Bylaws for Local PTAs/PTSAs units: This standard bylaws must be used by all local PTAs/PTSAs in California. May be obtained from California State PTA List of PTA Materials.
2. The a-b-c's of Parliamentary Procedure: This booklet guides the user through basic parliamentary procedures with illustrations and brief text. May be obtained from California State PTA List of PTA Materials.
3. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised: The paperback edition contains the written rules of parliamentary procedure. May be obtained from California State PTA List of PTA Materials.
Here are some sites of interest to Parliamentarians:
Official site for Roberts Rules of Order
National Association of Parliamentarians
Responsibilities of Officers/Chairmen
Many of the materials in this Web site are available in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. The Acrobat reader is a free download from Adobe Software.