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DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEES

 How to Have an Effective Disability Advisory Committee

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

  • AUTHORITY
  • THE ROLE OF THE DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (DAC)

II. GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR STARTING AND MAINTAINING A DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
A. COMMITTEE COMPOSITION
B. SELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS
C. STAFF TIME
D. COMMITTEE RESOURCES
E. MAINTAINING THE COMMITTEE
F. RECORDING THE COMMITTEE HISTORY
G. ESTABLISHING FORMAL COMMITTEE PROCEDURES
H. INTERFACING WITH THE DEPARTMENT'S EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM

III. RESPONSIBILITIES
A. PROGRAM CONCERNS
B. PROBLEM RESOLUTION
C. PROGRAM ASSISTANCE
D. LIAISON FUNCTION
E. AWARENESS TRAINING

IV. CONCLUSION
A. OTHER RESOURCES
B. SUMMARY

ATTACHMENTS
ATTACHMENT 1: CHRONOLOGY OF FEDERAL DISABILITIES LAW
ATTACHMENT 2: RESOURCE LIST
ATTACHMENT 3: SAMPLE AGENDA FOR DAC MEETING
ATTACHMENT 4: SAMPLE MINUTES OF DAC MEETING
ATTACHMENT 5: SAMPLE DAC BYLAWS
ATTACHMENT 6: PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES

HOW TO HAVE AN EFFECTIVE DAC

I. INTRODUCTION

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require employers to assure that persons with disabilities are given equal employment opportunities and are treated fairly as employees. These laws provide strong anti-discrimination protection and require employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities in order that they may perform their jobs successfully. They also provide substantial monetary penalties for employers which violate their provisions.

In addition, California Government Code Section 19230 through 19237 require all State agencies to develop and implement an equal employment opportunity/ affirmative action program aimed at assuring that persons with disabilities have access to positions in State government on an equal and competitive basis with the general population. As part of this effort, all State agencies are required to establish a disability advisory committee. Specifically, Government Code Section 19795(b) states...

Each state agency shall establish a committee of employees who are individuals with a disability to advise the head of the agency on matters relating to the formulation and implementation of the plan to overcome and correct any under representation determined pursuant to Section 19234.

This guide provides suggestions regarding the role and responsibilities of the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC); methods for establishing, organizing and maintaining a committee; and samples of issues successfully dealt with by existing committees. Although each departmentūs DAC will not operate exactly alike, this general guide provides information designed to help all departments.

THE ROLE OF THE DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
 

The DAC can be an integral part of each department's equal employment opportunity (EEO)/affirmative action (AA) program. Each departmental director is responsible for establishing an EEO/AA program which includes a DAC. The role of each department's DAC is to advise and assist the department head in a variety of ways as exemplified by the following:

1. Serve as technical advisers to the department head and EEO/AA officer on the development, implementation and maintenance of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs and activities for persons/ employees with disabilities.

2. Initiate, design, coordinate and implement projects that will improve the personnel practices and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in order to facilitate their representation at all levels within the department.

3. Establish liaison with groups and organizations that are concerned with achieving representation and utilization of persons with disabilities in the department's work force.

4. Monitor issues concerning the DAC to guarantee that necessary actions occur within reasonable time frames.

5. Assist and advise staff on issues relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

II. HELPFUL HINTS FOR STARTING AND MAINTAINING A DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Because the mission of State departments varies considerably, the function of each DAC is distinct. Consequently, each committee needs to formally develop its own purpose, function and operating procedures.

A. COMMITTEE COMPOSITION

Government Code Section 19795(b) requires that each State agency establish a committee of employees with disabilities. Experience has shown that it is not always possible to find/enlist an adequate number of employees with disabilities to serve on a committee. In such situations, individuals without disabilities who are sensitive to, interested in, and knowledgeable of issues relating to employees with disabilities can be appointed to a DAC.

Attempts should be made to include committee members who represent a broad cross section of disabilities, including nonobservable or hidden conditions such as emotional or mental impairments, heart or circulatory disorders, and respiratory impairments. Departments may also wish to consider geographical and/or division program representation within the department.

B. SELECTION OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Directors play a crucial role in the initial formation of their department's DAC. A memorandum issued by the director announcing the establishment of a DAC, accompanied by a request for departmental volunteers has proved to be a successful approach for giving committees that all important foundation.

Once a DAC has become established, the committee may wish to formalize ongoing selection procedures. Some departments ask each division to appoint a representative to sit on the committee. In turn, division level administrators ask for volunteers or assign staff from within their division. In some departments the director issues a memo to solicit volunteers interested in serving on the department's DAC (the self- identified volunteers are also asked to submit an application and a letter describing their interest in serving on the department's DAC); the DAC reviews the applications and the accompanying letters of interest and then the DAC makes a recommendation to the director; the director then notifies the selected applicant of their appointment to the DAC.

C. STAFF TIME

For most committee members, their involvement is an additional responsibility requiring staff time. As a result, it may be necessary to arrange for approved staff time in order to accomplish specific committee objectives. For example, one committee has arranged for specific time allocations for DAC meetings and staff work (e.g., ten hours per month). At a minimum, the DAC chairperson may have time allocated for committee work if the committee is to succeed.

D. COMMITTEE RESOURCES

Resources can be an issue in order for committees to succeed. Therefore, each department may wish to consider the costs potentially incurred by the DAC, such as the following:

1. Staff hours: As discussed, in order to participate, DACs may be authorized time for committee meetings and related assignments/ activities.

2. Travel expenses: Departments with extensive field operations might consider and plan for the added cost of travel for out- stationed committee members who commute to and from meetings.

3. Support services: DAC participants may need support service assistance, such as interpreters, note-takers, and readers. With adequate support services, the committee time of employees with disabilities can be more efficiently utilized, which easily justifies any added expense. The ADA states that such reasonable accommodation be provided.

4. Preparing and distributing information: There can be expenses for printing and mailing memos, newsletters, and correspondence which can be set aside for the DAC.

5. Training expenses: DACs frequently participate in or provide training on various issues related to employees with disabilities (e.g., sensitivity and awareness training, disability awareness days, etc.). Funds can be included in each department's budget to cover such expenses.

E. MAINTAINING THE DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

It is important that your DAC operate efficiently to help ensure effectiveness. It is helpful to:

1. Establish regular meeting dates and times that are published well in advance (e.g., second Wednesday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.).

2. Hold meetings in the same locations whenever possible. Meeting places must be accessible to all participating persons with disabilities.

3. Prepare and distribute DAC formal meeting agendas (prepared by the DAC chairperson) prior to planned DAC meetings.

4. Monitor attendance at DAC meetings. Supervisors should be advised in advance of dates/times of meetings in order that employees may be allowed to attend. Regular attendance is important and appropriate action should be considered when committee members fail to attend on a regular basis.

5. Keep minutes of committee meetings and distribute to commmittee members on a regular basis.

6. Meet with the director on a periodic basis. While it is not necessary for the director to attend all meetings, the committee should meet with the department head on a regular basis (e.g., quarterly) so that issues that require the director's involvement can be discussed.

F. RECORDING THE COMMITTEE HISTORY

The most effective committees will be those that are made up of both experienced and new members. Because committee leadership and membership will change, it is important that records of committee activities (such as agendas and minutes of DAC meetings) be maintained.

G. ESTABLISHING FORMAL COMMITTEE PROCEDURES

Each DAC may wish to formally establish a set of operating ground rules (bylaws). Those rules could include:
1. A statement of the committee's purpose.

2. A statement of the committee's responsibilities.

3. Procedures for selecting employees for committee membership.

4. Statements of committee members' responsibilities.

5. Procedures for selecting the DAC chairperson.

6. The DAC chairperson's term of office.

7. The DAC chairperson's responsibilities.

8. The size of the committee.

9. The length of term for committee membership.

10. Rules of order necessary for conducting meetings.

11. Other considerations mentioned above such as regular meeting time and place, records of committee proceedings, etc.

H. INTERACTING WITH THE DEPARTMENT'S EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY/ AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM

It is important that DACs avoid working at cross purposes with the remainder of the EEO/AA program. To remain aware of other EEO/AA activities within the department, the DAC should periodically invite the EEO/AA officer to attend DAC meetings. DAC members could also attend other EEO/AA advisory committee meetings periodically.

III. RESPONSIBILITIES

In this section, we have listed some of the major responsibilities departmental DACs may have. For each area of responsibility we have provided examples of specific issues that DACs have taken on as projects.

A. PROGRAM CONCERNS

Identify program concerns in areas relating to employees with disabilities such as providing reasonable accommodation both in the selection process and in employment; removing architectural and attitudinal barriers; ensuring employee training accessibility; complying with anti-discrimination laws, such as the ADA; and providing employment policies and practices which enhance the hiring, retaining and promoting of qualified persons with disabilities.

EXAMPLE:
Departmental DACs have been influential in removing architectural barriers throughout their buildings (including the installation of automatic doors, ensuring that public telephones and drinking fountains are accessible, and arranging for the provision of accessible restroom areas); identifying emergency evacuation needs, procedures and equipment for employees with disabilities; and promoting utilization of the State's Limited Examination and Appointment Program (LEAP) for persons with disabilities.

B. PROBLEM RESOLUTION

Recommend alternatives for resolving program problems impacting employees with disabilities.

EXAMPLE:
Committees have worked to identify, collect and analyze data necessary to implement their department's EEO/AA program for persons with disabilities. Specific emphasis has been placed on employment practices such as selection, training, job announcements, promotions, retention, and termination. These committees have made special efforts to assure that all relevant information is distributed to employees with disabilities.

C. PROGRAM ASSISTANCE

Assist in the development and implementation of program objectives that affect persons with disabilities.

EXAMPLE:
Committees have provided assistance to help alleviate situations where there is under representation of persons with disabilities in specific classifications. They have helped develop recruitment plans and participated in job fairs and on examination and hiring interview panels. Committees have also worked to assure that departments explore all reasonable accommodation options to continue the employment of injured or ill employees who are qualified and able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without reasonable accommodation.

D. LIAISON FUNCTION

Facilitate communication of EEO/AA goals, timetables, objectives, and accomplishments related to the employment of persons with disabilities.

EXAMPLE:
Some committees have actively worked to provide employees with disabilities in their departments with information about the EEO/AA and ADA laws, rules and policies relevant to them as State employees. Further, committees have been able to identify specific concerns and needs of employees with disabilities and have frequently been directly responsible for resolving these often sensitive, complex issues.

E. AWARENESS TRAINING

Assist in the development and presentation of training courses that are socially and culturally sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities and that provide information regarding the positive benefits of employing persons with disabilities.

EXAMPLE:
Existing DACs have sponsored disability awareness days in their departments and have developed displays and activities to publicize October as "National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month". In addition, they have sponsored or conducted disability sensitivity and awareness training programs to better inform management and other employees about people with disabilities.

IV. CONCLUSION

A. OTHER RESOURCES

1. Each department's director, EEO/AA and/or civil rights officer, personnel officer, program access coordinator, and return-to-work coordinator is available to advise and assist the DAC.

2. The Personnel Board's Civil Rights Programs Team has a staff person designated as the Statewide Disability Advisory Council Coordinator, who can be reached at:
Public (916) 653-1262
CalNet ( 8 ) 453-1262
TDD (916) 653-1498

3. The Department of Rehabilitationūs Americans With Disabilities Act Implementation Unit, can assist with questions on disability. It can be reached at:
Public (916) 322-0251
CalNet ( 8 ) 492-0251
TDD (916) 322-1096

Attachment 2 is a listing of additional resources which offer DACs access to a broad spectrum of technical assistance relating to persons with disabilities.

B. SUMMARY

The Personnel Board's Civil Rights Programs Team has statewide coordination and oversight responsibility for the departmental DACs. Its staff have worked closely with many of the committees and, as a result of that experience, have identified the following characteristics as significant to the success of a DAC:

1. Frequent opportunities to meet with the director.

2. A formalized operational structure.

3. A make-up of employees representing as many elements of the department as possible.

Whether the committee is a fledgling or is well-established, it is important to remember the vital role that DACs play in the overall EEO/AA program for persons with disabilities. DACs can make a profound impact on the way departments deal with their applicants and employees who have disabilities. Departmental DACs have an important--and sometimes difficult--role, but those efforts are essential to State employees with disabilities.

February 1997

SAMPLE

Chronology of the Development of Federal Disabilities Law

1948
Discrimination based on 'physical handicap' is prohibited in the U.S. Civil Service.

1968
The Architectural Barriers Act requires that all buildings constructed, altered, or financed by the federal government be accessible to, and usable by, individuals with physical disabilifies in accordance with accessibility standards to be established later.

1972
Bills are introduced in the House and Senate to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Acts Title VII to make "discrimination because of physical or mental handicap in employment an unlawlul employment practice unless there is a bona- fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to normal operation of the partcular business or enterprise." Both bills die in committee.

1973
The 1973 Rehabilitafion Act becomes law. (29 USC 791) It is one of the most important disability nondiscrimination laws prior to ADA and is a major conceptual foundation for ADA. Section 501 requires federal agencies to establish an affirmative action plan to encourage the hiring, placement, and promotion of individuals with disabilities. Section 503 places a similar obligation on government contractors.

Section 504 prohibits discrimination against any "otherwise qualified individual with handicaps" in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. (Section 504 regulations and case law provide the concepts, terminology, and analysis that will guide interpretation and application of ADA.)

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers compliance Board is established by Congress to help ensure compliance with the 1968 Act.

1975
The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, also known as PL 94-142, is passed. It provides for federal grants to state and local education agencies that meet extensive procedural and substantive requirements designed to promote appropriate, high-quality education program for all children with disabilities.

The Development Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act provides funding for care and treatment programs for individuals found to be "developmentally disabled," a term the Act uses to describe individuals with severe long-term disabilites that occurred prior to age 22, and who need extended care or treatment. The law includes a bill of rights that declares that developmentally disabled people have "a right to appropriate treatment, services, and rehabilitation."

SAMPLE

1978
The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board is give the authority to establish "minimum guidelines and requirements" for federal accessibility standards. These guidelines will be the basis for accessibility standards under Title Ill, ADA's public accommodations provisions.

1984
The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act is passed. It requires political subdivisions responsible for conducting elections to ensure that all polling places are accessible to the elderly and disabled.

1986
The fact that air carriers operate at federally funded airports to make use of federally provided air traffic control systems does not subject them to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act the U.S. Supreme Court rules. (U.S. Dept of Transportation v. Paralyzed Veterans of America, 477 US 597) Congress reverses this ruling by enacting the Air Carrier Access Act which amends the Federal Aviation Act to prohibit bias against individuals with disabilities by all air carriers.

1988
Housing providers are required to make "reasonable accommodation" rules, policies, practices, or services when necessary to give people with disabilities an equal opportunities to use and enjoy housing under the Fair Housing Amendments Act which is signed into law September 13 to become ettecbve six months later. One aspect of the law imposes accessibility standards on the design and future Construction of covered multifamily dwellings designed and constructed for occupancy after Match 13, 1991.

Identical ADA bills are introduced in the House and Senate but die in committee before passage.

1990
ADA is signed into law by President Bush on July 26, just 15 months after first being given serious consideraton in Congress. It is hailed as the most sweeping civil rights measure since the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

1991
The first regulations implementing ADA are issued by the various federal enforcement agencies.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services issues a list of infectious and communicable diseases thamt can be transmitted by handling food. ADA provides that employers may transfer indviduals infected with such diseases from food handling jobs if the danger to public health and safety cannot be eliminated by some other reasonable accommodation. AIDS is not included in the Secretary's list.

1992
Tide III of ADA (concerning place of public acommodation) and those parts of Title 11 (covering public services and programs) that could not go into effect immediately become effective January 26. The employment provisions of the law, Title 1, become effective on July 26 for employers of 25 or more workers.

1993
The relay services for telecommunications required by Title IV of ADA must be made available by July 26.

1994
ADA's employment provisions cover employers of 15 or more worker on July 26.

SAMPLE

Resources
Information Needed

Signs, Architectural
Modification, Handicapped
Access Laws.
Equipment Procurement
Equipment Repair

Communication Policies

Alarms, Safety, and Emergency
Services
Preliminary Plans

Auxiliary Aids, equipment types
and suppliers

Civil Rights;
Legal Mandates, Policies;
Methods to practice non-
discriminatory service Provision.

Legal Mandates, Policies, Affirmative
Action methods; non-discriminatory
in State employment; methods
applicable to reasonable accomodation.
Medical Appeals.
Certification lists for Support Services
Assistants (General and Interpreter)

Directory listing procedures for State TDD numbers

Interpreters
TDD Relay Services, deaf
services contracts

Methods of non-discrimination in
preregistration-registration,
prelicensing-licensing.

Training
Consultation
Program Adjustment

SAMPLE
CONTACT SOURCES

DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES:
Office of Space Management
Office of the State Architect
Office of Procurement
Office of procurement

Office of Telecommunications
State Police

DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE:
Civil Law Section

DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING COMPLIANCE BOARD

STATE PERSONNEL BOARD:
Affirmative Action for the Disabled Unit

DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
Office of Telecommunications
State Administrative Manual

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES:
Office of Deaf Access

DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION:
Services for Deaf Persons
Local Providers of Services
for Persons with Disabilities

DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES
DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

DEPARTMENT OF PERSONNEL ADNUNISTRATION

STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:
Office of Special Education
Local Providers of Services for
Disabled Persons

SAMPLE
DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
SEPTEMBER 21, 1994
20th Floor - 1:30PM

AGENDA

1. Approval of minutes
2. Information Booklet Update (Rob)
3. National Disability Employment Awareness Month Update (Carole/Terri) 4. Mentor Program Update (Norm)
5. Disability Awareness Training Update (George)
6. New Leap Job Classification (George)
7. New Business
8. Adjoumment

SAMPLE
DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
August 17, 1994
Minutes

Members: Rob Habel, Chairperson
Jim Rowe, Vice Chairperson (absent)
Marta Kravech (absent)
Norm Nickeson (absent)
George Turner
Carole Riza
Terri Haydon

Joe Mexas, Department Liaison

1. Introduction of new members
Rob called the meeting to order and introduced the committee's new member, Terri Haydon.

2. Brief overview of the committee
Rob gave a brief overview on the history and the function of the committee. The process of recruiting new members and the return of old members was discussed. It appears that the committee may be smaller this year due to the lack of interest by department personnel. The selection of new officers was discussed and it was decided that Rob will continue as the chairperson and in four to six months the committee may select a new chairperson.

3. Review of current goals and tasks
a. Department Picnic
The committee discussed ideas for the department picnic with little success. Members are to call Rob if they have any additional ideas.

b. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)
A brief history on what the DAC has done in the past for NDEAM was presented. Carol volunteered to head up a subcommittee with Terri to look into activities for this years NDEAM.

c. Information booklet
The booklet is nearly completed. Marta has been working hard on the graphics and layout. It should be ready in a couple of weeks. Jane Irwin will review the booklet one last time as we get estimates to have it printed. Rob and Marta will meet with Jane to discuss the cost and distribution of the booklets.

d. Mentor program
The mentor program (encouraging the department to hire student assistants with disabilities) is moving along. Norm and Rob will be working on a concept paper to present to Jane Irwin and the director on the program.

4. New business
George was ask to look into disability awareness training for his unit. George will be calling several agencies and organizations regarding in house training for his unit, and perhaps for members of the DAC.

Joe talk about how the DAC could help the department. The department recently received a letter about adding a job classification to the state's leap list. George volunteered to investigate this matter.

5. Adjounment
Meeting adjourned at 3:10 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Habel, Chairperson

SAMPLE
STATE PERSONNEL BOARD
DISABILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
BYLAWS

A. PURPOSE
The State Personnel Board Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) was reactivated on March 26, 1992 (see Gloria Harmon's letter attached). Its purpose is to advise the Executive Officer, through the Affirmative Action Officer, a disability issues of concern to SPB employees with disabilities. Specifically focusing on internal operations and activities to ensure equal employment opportunity for persons with disabilities, as well as undertaking projects to deal with issues or resolving problems as they arise. It will also establish liaison with groups and organizations that are concerned with achieving equitable reprsentation and utilization of persons with disabilities in the Board's workforce.

B. COMPOSITION
The DAC shall be composed of a maximum of two representatives from each division/function designated by each Division chief or appropriate function manager. A representative from the Affirmative Action Programs Unit will serve in an advisory capacity.

Division chiefs or function managers shall solicit the interest of SPB staff with disabilities and non-disabled individuals who are sensitive to, interested in, and knowledgeable of issues relating to persons with disabilities to serve on the committee.

C. OPERATING PARAMETERS
Four hours a month staff time will be allowed for activities relating to the DAC. Additional time may be approved by the Executive Officer upon request to meet special needs.

Support services, such as interpreters, readers, or note- takers may be necessary. Advance notice must be given the DAC Chair if such services are required.

Election of officers will take place once a year, each January. Nominations will be formally made for a Chairperson, a vice-Chairperson, and a recording Secretary.

Meetings will be held on a monthly basis, normally the second Tuesday of each month, at a regular location, to be announced by the Chairperson. Such notice will be followed by a written agenda.

No letters, memos, communications or action are to be undertaken without the consensus of at least the Chair and vice-Chair, in conjunction with the Affirmative Action Officer.

D. RESPONSIBILITIES
To provide identification of program concerns, such as the provision of reasonable accommodation, removal of architectural barriers, recruitment, upward mobility, and related issues.

To provide information to inform employees with disabilities about equal employment opportunities and affirmative action laws, policies and rules. To determine the specific concerns and needs of persons with disabilities within the department through written correspondence, individual contact and group meetings.

To promote training courses that are socially and culturally sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities and ensure such courses are offered to all staff at the Board (such as Windmills). Ensure that DAC members receive appropriate training relating to the current laws and rules governing employment of persons with disabilities (ADA training, Reasonable Accommodation, etc.).

To assist in establishment of departmental hiring goals that reflect persons by salary range and job category, and monitor the achievement of the Board's affirmative action plan for persons with disabilities.

To ensure DAC members are trained to participate in qualifications appraisal panels and that concerns of persons with disabilities are addressed on such panels within the department.

SAMPLE
PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE
HISTORY

In 1876, United States Major Henry Robert was ordered to lead a meeting for his commanding officer. He soon found that the meetings were not organized and in order to report back to his commanding officer an agenda of progress, he began taking notes and stuffing these notes into his pocket, referring to them as the occasion arose. The notes contained basic rules the Major felt were necessary to maintain order in the meetings. Major Robert's rules of order allowed all who attended the meetings an opportunity to voice their opinion as well as allowing the voice of the majority to be heard and their wishes carried out. The Major combined both rules of the American legislative bodies along with English Parliament to derive at what we now know as parliamentary law or "Robert's Rules of Order". The terms "Parliamentary Law" and "Parliamentary Procedure" are interchangable.

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY LAW

1. Regardless of tradition or familiarity, a group should restrict itself by rules and procedures only to the degree which the need has been felt by the members of the group.
2. The rights, privileges, and obligations of all members are equal, and must be safeguarded equally, whether the individual members are part of the majority or not.
3. Every member has the right to understand clearly any proposed action and to voice freely any opposition or support until such time as a decision is reached. At that time, the decision of the majority must be accepted as the decision of each member of the group.
4. Parliamentary procedure is not a method for investigation, creative thinking or problem-solving. Its sole purpose is to provide an impartial and orderly method for group decision-making.
5. Parliamentary rules and procedures exist only to permit impartial interaction and cooperation in the accomplishment of group activity They must always be in good faith and without recourse to technical- ities and trickery.
6. The simple way is usually the best way.

BASIC PROCESSING OF A MAIN MOTION OR RESOLUTION

1 . A member secures the floor.
2. A member introduces business.
3. The chair puts the question.
4. Members of the group vote. The item is accepted or rejected.

BASIC RULES OF DEBATE

1. Each member is entitled to speak once to a question, sometimes twice or more often if there is no objection.
2. Members indulge in no personalities.
3. Members make inquiries through the Chair.

BASIC MEETING AGENDA
1. Call to order
2. Quorun check
3. Minutes read by Recording Secretary
4. Reports of standing committees
5. Reports of special committees
6. Old business (unfinished business)
7. New business
8. Program (guest speakers, etc.)
9. Announcements (Chair announces upcoming meetings, next group meeting, etc.)
10. Adjoumment

BASIC RULES FOR MINUTES

1. Head minutes with name of organization, date, place, etc.
2. Write in third person
3. Keep brief and record action only, not opinions.
4. State motions in full, state name of maker of motion, that motion was seconded, exact wording of motion and action taken - carries or lost.
5. Give copy of minutes to Chair in arnple time to prepare next Agenda.
6. Correct signature is as follows:
_____________________________________________
Secretary.
Approved _______________________________ (date)
Chair

9. BASIC BY-LAWS OUTLINE

Article I - Name of Organization
Article II - Object and Aim of Organization
Article III - Membership (eligibility qualifications, categories of. membership, obligations, dues, etc.)
Article IV - Officers (list, qualifications, duties, term of office, how elected, etc.)
Article V - Meetings (quorum, kinds of meeting and by whom called)
Article VI - Elections (time and method for nominating, electing)
Article VII - Parliamentary Authority (for rules of order)
Articles VIII - How to amend by-laws (requires 2/3 vote)

10. MISCELLANEOUS DEFIMTIONS/SUBJECTS

DEBATE: Parliamentary jargon for discussion that takes place at meeting. Technically, the debate is not in order unless there is a motion on the floor. A member who seeks to be recognized to speak shall be officially recognized by the Chair and shall "have the floor" in order to express his opinion or ask questions. If another member wishes to ask the speaker a question, formality of gaining recognition from the chair is not required but each member shall give all speakers the opportunity to speak without constant interruption or several groups discussing different subjects simultaneously. All debate will focus on the motion being discussed. Members should take care in recognizing whether they are interrupting the speaker who has the floor in order to ask a question or to be heard on their own opinion. If they want to voice their own opinion in length, they should wait for the speaker to complete his oration, then seek recognition from the Chair to secure the floor.

COMMITTEES, CCIUNCILS AND BOARDS: There may be several types of groups formed within the parent group in order to research subjects, work with other agencies, etc. In keeping with an informal atmosphere and the fact that the parent conunittee is small, "committee" work many times will be assigned to an individual member of the group (or two, etc.). Since the parent group is small, if there is a subject expansive enough, it would usually involve the meeting of the entire group.

EXECUTIVE SESSION: A meeting from which all nonmembers are excluded. Motion is made and passed that "we go into executive session for the remainder of the meeting" or "that we go into executive session for the consideration of this matter." This option may want to be utilized when members seek a member-only audience in which to voice their concerns. This option is in alignment with the intent of parliamentary procedure (fairness to all, an opportunity to all to be heard).

MOTION AMENDMENTS: There are several methods of amending a motion (deletion, insertion, substitution, wording, voting, motions that can or cannot-be amended, how to amend an amendment until "we get it right", illegitimate amendments, etc.). For simplicity's sake, the committee should feel free to offer amendments of motions (subjects of discussion). If such amendments seem to confuse the subject being addressed, the "old" subject may be dismissed in its entirety and-a "new" subject adopted for discussion/consideration.

MOTION TO RECONSIDER MOTIONS: There are usually two reasons to reconsider previous action:

  • Belief that the action was hasty or impulsive. This calls for a motion to reconsider now.

  • Belief that the group at this meeting is unrepresentative with a conviction that if a larger (or more representative) group were present this action would never be taken. The hope is that the subject would be reconsidered at the next meeting. This calls for a motion to reconsider later.

The standard parliamentary law provides for motions to reconsider to be debatable motions, meaning the very motion to reconsider can be debated. Since the parent group is small and the premise of parliamentary law promises all in the group to be heard, it is acceptable for a member to motion that a motion be reconsidered without reprisals. This motion does need to be seconded by another (voting) member and will be voted upon by the quorum present at the appropriate meeting.

MOTION WORDING: Should be worded in the affirmative to avoid confusion.

MOTION WITHDRAWAL: A motion may be withdrawn by the person who made the motion before it is seconded or before the Chair states that it has been seconded.

NON-DEBATABLE MOTIONS: There are several types of motions that are technically "undebatable" (to adjourn, to recess, to close debate, to go into executive session, etc.). For the purpose of simplicity and informality, it is the DAC's intention not to place this formality upon the group).

POINT OF ORDER: This is an exceptional point or request that may be made by any member at any time during a meeting. It usually involves subjects that are not related to the subject being currently discussed, such as a request to open or close a window if it is too hot or cold in the meeting room, a request for the speak to speak louder, etc.

RIGHTS AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE

  • All members of the parent committee have a right to an explanation of the meaning of a motion and to understand everything that is being discussed in the meeting. At any time, the member should feel free to question the speaker or group in general in order to gain such understanding.

  • All members have a right to talk and to stop someone else from excessive talking.

  • All members have the right to exclude "outsiders" during debate if they do not feel free to discuss a matter. This is accomplished through the "executive session".

  • All members shall have the right to change a vote.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"Basic Principles of Parliamentary Law and Protocol" Marguerite Grumme 1965

"Handbook of Parliamentary Procedure" Henry A. Davidson M.D. 1968

"The Majority Rules" H.W. Furwell 1988

"Robert's Rules of Order" Major Henry M. Robert 1989

Compiled by Victoria Kerin
Chair, Disabled Advisory Commimee
State Board of Control
April 20, 1995

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