Organizations using parliamentary procedure usually follow a fixed order of business. Below is the format generally followed by the GSC.
1. Call to order. 2. Roll call of members present. 3. Items from the President 4. Items from the Vice President. 5. Items from the Secretary 6. Items from the Treasurer 7. Approval of minutes from previous meetings 8. Reports from Committees. 9. Report and updates from representatives 10. Adjournment.
Council members express themselves by discussing and making motions. A motion is a proposal the entire Council takes action on. Council members can:
1. Make motions (move to adopt items on the agenda) 2. Second motions. 3. Debate motions. 4. Vote on motions.
There are three basic types of motions:
1. Main Motions:
The purpose of a main motion is to introduce items to the membership for their consideration. They cannot be made when another motion is on the floor but yield to subsidiary, and incidental motions.
2. Subsidiary Motions
The purpose of a subsidiary motion is to change or amend a main motion; it is voted on before the main motion.
3. Incidental Motions
Their purpose is to provide a means of questioning procedure concerning other motions and must be considered before the other motion.
How are Motions made? Only Council members may make motions; the council member:
1. Obtains the floor
a. Waits until the last speaker has finished. b. Addresses the President c. Waits until recognized by the President.
2. Makes the motion
a. Speaks in a clear and concise manner. b. States the motion affirmatively. "I move that we..." rather than, "I move that we do not ..." c. Avoids personalities and stay on your subject.
3. Waits for another member to second the motion.
4. Another member seconds the motion or the President calls for a second.
5. If there is no second, the motion dies.
6. If the motion is seconded, the President re-states the motion
a. The President will say, "it has been moved and seconded that we ..." Thus placing the motion before the membership for consideration and action.
b. The membership then either debates the motion, or moves directly to a vote.
c. Once your motion is presented by the mayor it becomes "assembly property", and cannot be changed without the consent of the Council.
7. Discussing a motion
a. The mover is always allowed to speak first. b. All comments and debate must be directed to the chairman. c. Keep to the time limit for speaking if one has been established. d. The mover may speak again only after other council members wishing to speak have spoken, unless called upon by the President.
8. "Calling the question."
a. The President asks, "Are you ready to vote on the motion?" b. If there is no more discussion, a vote is taken.
How are motions voted on? There are a number of ways a group can vote on a motion. However, two are generally employed by the Council, they are:
1. By General Consent -- When a motion is not likely to be opposed such as those listed under the consent agenda, the President says, "if there is no objection ..." The Council shows agreement by their silence, however if one member says, "I object," the item must be put to a vote.
2. By Roll Call -- Each Council member answers "yes" or "no" as his or her name is called. Most motions are voted on
There are two other motions that are commonly used that relate to voting.
1. Motion to Table -- This motion is often used in the attempt to "kill" a motion. The option is always present, however, to "take from the table", for reconsideration by the membership.
2. Motion to Postpone Indefinitely -- This is often used as a means of parliamentary strategy and allows opponents of motion to test their strength without an actual vote being taken. Also, debate is once again open on the main motion.