Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > Subject Index > Page 242

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.

Page 242

may authorize committees, but cannot appoint or nominate them. The president, however, cannot appoint any committees except those authorized by the by-laws or by a vote of the assembly. Sometimes the by-laws make the president ex-officio a member of every committee. Where this is done he has the rights of other members of the committees but not the obligation to attend every committee meeting. [See 51.]
A chairman will often find himself perplexed with the difficulties attending his position, and in such cases he will do well to remember that parliamentary law was made for deliberative assemblies, and not the assemblies for parliamentary law. This is well expressed by a distinguished English writer on parliamentary law, thus: “The great purpose of all rules and forms is to subserve the will of the assembly rather than to restrain it; to facilitate, and not to obstruct, the expression of their deliberative sense.”
Additional Duties of the President of a Society, and the Vice Presidents. In addition to his duties as presiding officer, in many societies the president has duties as an administrative or executive officer. Where this is desired, the by-laws should clearly set forth these duties, as they are outside of his duties as presiding officer of the assembly, and do not come within the scope of parliamentary law.
The same is true of vice presidents. Sometimes they have charge of different departments of work, and they should be chosen with those duties in view as prescribed by the by-laws. It must not be forgotten that in the case of the absence of the president the first vice president must preside, and in case of the illness or resignation or death of the president that the first vice president becomes president for the unexpired term, unless the rules specify how vacancies shall be filled. In such case the second vice president becomes the first, and so on. It is a mistake to elect a vice president who is not competent to perform the duties of president.
Hints to Inexperienced Chairmen.
While in the chair, have beside you your Constitution, By-laws, and Rules of Order, which should be studied until you are perfectly familiar with them. You cannot tell the moment you may need this knowledge. If a member


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