[Libs-Or] Fwd: [alacoun] Ballot question
diedre08 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 09:40:02 PDT 2015
I thought I would share the comments below with you. I was a member of ALA
Council when the change was made to using Sturgis instead of Roberts. The
change really helped ALA Council get through its business instead of
getting tied up with some esoteric procedure in Roberts that someone had
dug out. I really don't understand wanting to move back to those difficult
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Kagan, Al" <akagan at illinois.edu>
Date: Mar 25, 2015 9:27 AM
Subject: [alacoun] Ballot question
To: "SRRTAC-L" <srrtac-l at lists.ala.org>, "ALA Council" <
alacoun at lists.ala.org>
I assume we all got our election ballots at the same time. I want to
follow-up on the discussion we had about changing from Sturgis to *Roberts
Rules of Order*. For those who have not yet seen the pro and co, I have
included it here.
In my estimation, the pro argument below amounts to: lots of organizations
are doing this so we should do it too. Further many of our members may be
members of those organizations and therefore possibly familiar with
Roberts. I think this is an incredibly weak argument. On the other hand,
Larry Romans’ con statement is substantive, and it reiterates our original
reason for switching to Sturgis. I won’t paraphrase Larry, but when you
consider 816 vs. 286 pages, the degree of complexity vs. simplicity can
only be obvious.
In considering this question, we need to think about who would gain and
who would suffer the consequences. New councilors often find themselves in
a new situation where there is a learning curve to becoming effective. They
may not have participated in a large legislative body before. Part of the
learning curve is gaining an understanding of the rules. With this change,
even experienced councilors will be at a disadvantage vis a vis
parliamentary experts. As we know, rules can be used to facilitate
discussion and participation or the opposite. The more complex the rules,
the more danger of insiders controlling the outcomes.
I urge you to defeat this initiative and to lobby your various
constituencies in the interests of ALA participatory democracy.
African Studies Bibliographer and Professor of Library Administration
University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign
ITEM #1 –
BYLAW AMENDMENT TO ESTABLISH ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER AS ALA’S PARLIAMENTARY
ACTION: To Amend Article XII of the ALA Bylaws to state:
Robert's Rules of Order, in the latest edition, shall govern the
Association in all cases to which it can be applied and in which it is not
inconsistent with the Constitution, the Bylaws, or special rules of order
of the Association.
Article XII. Parliamentary Authority
Section 1. Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, in the latest
edition, shall govern the Association in all cases to which it can be
applied and in which it is not inconsistent with the Constitution, the
Bylaws, or special rules of order of the Association.
Article XII. Parliamentary Authority
Section 1. [Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure] Robert’s
Rules of Order, in the latest edition, shall govern the Association in all
cases to which it can be applied and in which it is not inconsistent with
the Constitution, the Bylaws, or special rules of order of the Association.
Although Sturgis’ Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure has served the
American Library Association well over the last decade, the current version
of this work is out of print, and has been superseded by the American
Institute of Parliamentarians Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure
(AIPSC). While the ALA Constitution and Bylaws Committee was reviewing the
bylaws in order to make recommendations related to this change, it also
weighed the advantages and disadvantages in changing the Association’s
standard for parliamentary authority back to Robert’s Rules of Order in its
latest edition. While the change in in the day-to-day running of
Association business would be minimal, the Committee felt thatRobert’s offers
several advantages over AIPSC, including: the widespread use of Robert’s by
library boards, faculty organizations, and the like and the subsequent
familiarity with Robert’sthat members bring to the Association, a greater
number of experts on Robert’s than other systems of parliamentary procedure
when the Association may need to call upon a new parliamentarian, and a
greater number of learning tools and explanatory aids available for Robert’s
over AIPSC. Therefore, the Committee unanimously resolved that the
Association change the bylaws to reflect the change to Robert’s Rules of
Order as the parliamentary authority for the American Library Association,
and this was approved by the ALA Council at the Midwinter Meeting in 2015.
Matthew P. Ciszek, ALA Councilor-at-Large
Almost twenty years ago the ALA Parliamentarian and the ALA Orientation
Committee urged ALA to adopt The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure,
compiled by the American Institute of Parliamentarians. AIPSC uses ordinary
language whereas Robert’s uses esoteric language. Although both Robert’s
and AIPSC are the same about making motions and the rules of debate, the
important thing is what AIPSC doesn’t include: troublesome procedures that
few people know that can be used to tie up proceedings. For example, in
AIPSC if you want to reconsider an action, you just vote to reconsider.
Robert’s has 25 kinds of motions that can be reconsidered, 25 that can’t,
20 only if the vote was negative, and one only if positive. Robert’s requires
20 pages to discuss how to reconsider a motion. Robert’s is 816 pages long;
AIPSC 286 pages. The arguments used 20 years ago are the same reasons that
we should not change back to Robert’s.
Through AIPSC hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ALA members have learned
parliamentary procedure. AIPSC has been adopted by state library
The proposed change to Robert’s is almost as complicated as Robert’s itself.
Although the new authority officially would be Robert’s, even the proposers
realize that Robert’s is too complicated. What we would actually use
Rules of Order in Brief. Only a few would learn the full Robert’s to gain
the esoteric knowledge to use Robert’s to full advantage. The move to
a good decision; the current proposal is a bad idea.
Larry Romans, ALA Councilor-at-Large
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