Is your council meeting out of order?

An effective presiding officer is one of the most important elements for ensuring a productive council meeting.

The presiding officer has the responsibility to enforce the council's rules of procedure, which often includes using Robert's Rules of Order or other similar guidelines. Understanding which motions are debatable, which motions can be amended and the number of votes necessary to pass a motion can contribute to a well-run municipal meeting.

The Municipal Association recently updated its How to Conduct Effective Meetings guide. The guide provides a sample municipal rules of procedure.

Simplified Chart of Parliamentary Procedure Motions

based on Robert's Rules​
​ ​ ​
Motion​Debatable​Amendable​Required Vote
​Recess ​No ​Yes​Majority
​Lay on Table ​NoNo​Majority
​Close Debate   ​No​No​2/3
​Limit/Close Debate   ​No​Yes​2/3
​Postpone Definitely   ​Yes​Yes​Majority
​Refer to Committee   ​Yes​Yes​Majority
​Amend Amendment   ​Yes​No​Majority
​Amend Main Motion   ​Yes​Yes​Majority
​Main Motion   ​Yes​Yes​Majority
​Point of Order   ​No​No​None
​Inquiry   ​No​No​None
​Objection to Consideration   No​​No​2/3
​Roll Call   ​No​No​None
​Appeal Decision of Chair   ​Yes​No​Majority
​Divide Question   ​No​Yes​Majority
Suspend Rules No ​No2/3