Employee Forum Standing Rules
— Business Procedure —
Rule 1. At the opening of business of each Body meeting, the Recording Secretary of the Employee Forum must, after having received the roll of attendance from the elected Secretary of the Employee Forum, report to the presiding officer the number of delegates and alternates registered as present with proper credentials and will make a supplementary report after the opening exercises of each day the Body is in session.
Meaning: The Recording Secretary must, at the beginning of each session of full body meetings, take attendance and report, either verbally or in writing, the attendance roster to the presiding officer. Attendance must also be recorded as part of the meeting minutes.
Rule 2. Notices for announcement to the Body must be made in writing, signed by the person (or a proper representative of the persons) under whose authority the announcement is issued, and must be sent to the Recording Secretary.
Meaning: Any and all announcements that a member wishes to make before the full body meeting(s) must be submitted to the Recording Secretary in writing before the full body meeting is called into session. No surprises.
Rule 3. (a) All meetings of the full Body must be audio-visually recorded and made available to the public through the internet.
(b) The Body and/or its committees may, by a majority vote, enter into Closed Session at any time, but only from an Open Session.
(c) Motions to enter into Closed Session must clearly identify the permissible purpose for Closed Session from those authorized in North Carolina statute.
(d) Closed Session may not be used to shield the activities of the Body from the public scrutiny.
(e) Records and minutes from Closed Session must remain sealed until such a time as the Body, having witnessed a motion and voted in the affirmative, decides to end embargo on such records and minutes.
(f) The Body must return to Open Session to complete its business and adjourn.
Meaning: The Employee Forum must keep an accessible, audio-visual recording of all proceedings. The Forum can, at its sole discretion, enter a “Closed Session” where these records do not have to be made public. But it cannot enter a Closed Session for the sole purpose of shrouding its activities from the Public. To enter Closed Session, a motion from the floor must first be made, seconded, and voted on in the affirmative. All Closed Sessions must end by a return to Open Session.
Rule 4. (a) If the Body is in a regular, special, or emergency meeting, it may recess that meeting to a time, date, and place of the presiding officer’s choosing, with consent from a majority of the members present.
(b) Notice of a recessed meeting is provided by announcing the time, date, and place of the recessed meeting in Open Session at the original meeting. The announcement must also be posted in conspicuous fashion so as to alert the public on the Employee Forum website with all due haste.
Meaning: The Employee Forum may recess to a later date, time, and alternative location from any meeting, but must announce the recess date, time, and location in Open Session and make that announcement publicly available via its website, in accordance with State law.
Rule 5. The order or precedence for the presiding officer when the Forum Chair is absent or unable to preside over the business of the Employee Forum is as follows:
- Employee Forum Chair
- Employee Forum Vice-Chair
- Employee Forum Secretary
- Employee Forum Treasurer
- Secretary of the Rules Committee
- Chair of the Communications & Public Relations Committee
- Chair of the Community Service Committee
- Chair of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee
- Chair of the Education & Career Development Committee
- Chair of the Personnel Issues Committee
- Chair of the Recognition & Awards Committee
Meaning: If the Chair of the Forum is absent or unable to preside over the meeting of the Body, the order of succession above is followed. The Parliamentarian may not conduct the meeting and is excluded from the order of succession. If there are no elected officers present, and no committee chairs present for a meeting, the meeting may not proceed.
Rule 6. Debate and deliberation of the Body must be conducted “in person,” either physically or over a digital telecommunications conference such as Zoom or Teams and cannot be conducted via email.
Meaning: Email must not be used as a means of conducting debate for any resolution or business of the Body normally held during a meeting.
Rule 7. (a) Votes on Motions may not be conducted virtually, except in such an instance as the meeting uses a digital telecommunications conference such as Zoom or Teams.
(b) Digital technologies may be used to record such a vote via platforms such as Qualtrics during a meeting of the Body and not inconsistent with Open Meeting Statutes.
(c) Votes on Motions may only be conducted during a meeting.
Meaning: Votes must be held during meetings; they cannot be held purely over the internet or phone call(s). Digital technologies, such as polls or surveys, may be used to record votes.
— Committees —
Rule 8. Committees of the Employee Forum shall, at their sole discretion, in absence of an appointment by the Forum Chair, elect a Committee Chair and, if they so choose, a Committee Secretary from their membership on their first meeting as a committee; the name(s) of the Committee Chair (and Committee Secretary) must be reported to the Recording Secretary upon the close of the committee’s first meeting.
Meaning: The Forum Chair has first right to appoint the Chair and/or Secretary of a Committee. Failing this appointment all Committees have the right to elect their chair and secretary. These positions must be reported to the Forum’s Recording Secretary immediately after election.
Rule 9. Committees shall be free to self-organize in whichever manner is most effective and efficient for the committee by the majority vote of the committee’s members.
Meaning: Committees are free to organize themselves however is most desirable for each individually.
— Debate —
Rule 10. (a) No member shall speak in debate more than once on the same question on the same day, or longer than five (5) minutes, without the permission of the Body granted by a two-thirds vote without debate.
(b) Members must be recognized by the presiding officer in order to assume the floor and speak during debate.
(c) The presiding officer may recognize any member more than once during debate provided the member’s time has not expired.
(d) The presiding officer must recognize members in the order in which they have petitioned to speak during the debate, which must be recorded by the Secretary or presiding secretary.
(e) The Recording Secretary will keep time.
Meaning: Members of the Employee Forum are entitled to speak on any issue that is before the Body. Speaking time for any single issue is limited to five (5) minutes per person unless otherwise specified by the presiding officer conducting the debate and approved by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
All members must have an equal amount of time to speak but they do not have to use all their time, nor do they have to use all their time at once. Each member who wishes to speak during debate must petition the presiding officer and be recognized from the floor to speak.
The presiding officer must recognize members from the floor in the order in which their petitions for recognition are made, they may not attempt to “Stack the Deck” of argument by recognizing one side or the other more often or more frequently than the other. It is the responsibility of the Recording Secretary to keep track of time and they may do so by whichever means is most convenient to them.
— Resolutions & Main Motions —
Rule 11. (a) Main motions (specifically, resolutions and proclamations) referred to the Body must proceed through two (2) full readings before the Body before a vote may be called by the Chair, with open debate following each reading.
(b) The Body may suspend Rule 11 only by a two-thirds vote.
Meaning: Any main motion—such as a resolution or proclamation—that is sent to the Body for consideration, debate, and a vote must first be read, either from the floor or by unanimous consent, two (2) times before it can be adopted by the Body. This rule can be suspended by the body, but only by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
Rule 12. A resolution offered by an individual member must be made in writing, signed by the maker and the seconder—each of whom must be a voting member of the Employee Forum—and must be sent directly to the desk of the Recording Secretary and the Parliamentarian.
Meaning: Any resolution—that is, a main motion—must be made first in writing and signed by the member presenting it and the member seconding it on the record. The resolution must be presented to the Recording Secretary in advance of its first reading.
Rule 13. (a) All resolutions, except those proposed by the Executive Committee or by other committees, and all recommendations made in reports of officers or committees that are not in the form of resolutions, must be referred without debate to the Parliamentarian prior to introduction to the Body; resolutions proposed by the Executive Committee or by other committees shall be presented directly to the Body.
(b) Each member who offers a resolution must be given an opportunity to explain it to the Parliamentarian if they so request.
(c) The Parliamentarian must prepare suitable resolutions to carry into effect recommendations referred to them, and shall submit to the Body, with the Parliamentarian’s own recommendations and rulings as to appropriate action(s), these and all other resolutions referred to the Parliamentarian; questions may be referred to the Executive Committee, which, by a two-thirds vote of its members, may decide not to report to the Body.
(d) The Body may, by a majority vote, suspend this Rule 13 and may immediately consider a question or may order the Parliamentarian to report a question at a certain time, even if the Executive Committee has voted not to report it.
Meaning: All resolutions made by any individual member—which does not include any resolution written in committee and presented to the Body by the Chair of said committee on behalf of the committee—must be referred to the Parliamentarian before the resolution is presented to the Body or the Recording Secretary for inclusion in the agenda.
The Parliamentarian is to thoroughly review the resolution to ensure it is “in order” and properly written and formatted for presentation to the Body. The member making the motion may, if they so desire, have an opportunity to discuss with and explain the motion to the Parliamentarian before their ruling is made.
The Parliamentarian must prepare any resolution, motion, rule, or other suggestion/recommendation(s) referred to them for review by the Body along with their own notes and recommendations for how to proceed with the resolution, motion, rule, or other suggestion/recommendation(s).
The Parliamentarian may, at their sole discretion, elect to refer any resolution or motion brought to them to the Executive Committee, which can direct the Parliamentarian not to report the resolution or motion to the Full Body, but only by a two-thirds vote of Executive Committee members. The Body may compel the Parliamentarian to report any withheld resolutions, motions, questions, etc. to the Body by a majority vote.
— Records & Minutes —
Rule 14. All reports and other material for the permanent record or printed proceedings must be made in typed English and, immediately on presentation, must be sent to the Recording Secretary either digitally or via hard copy.
Meaning: All records, minutes, and other official documents of the Forum must be made, kept, and preserved in typed, common English. These records must be sent to the Recording Secretary for collection and collation.
Rationale: Common English is the most widely spoken and most widely accessible language available in common use in the United States of America. This rule does not preclude duplicate records in other languages being made, it simply stipulates that one copy must be made in English.
— Rules In Effect —
Rule 15. The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Body, meetings, conventions, and functions in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the Employee Forum and these standing rules.
Meaning: For all purposes, any rule that is specified in the Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised also applies alongside the rules stipulated here, but only in cases where they do not conflict with the rules stipulated here.
Rule 16. These rules, upon their adoption by majority vote, shall stand in force and effect until the close of the session, one calendar year from the date of their adoption.
Meaning: The rules stipulated here are in effect for one calendar year from the date of their adoption by a majority vote of the Body. They must be adopted annually.