Robert's Rules' Committee Appointment Methods

When the time comes to get specific about who’s going to serve on a committee, Robert’s Rules gives you six different methods for deciding exactly who you want to do what. Each method is particularly well suited to a different situation (but is by no means exclusive to that situation).

  • Appointment by motion: This method is most often used to appoint special committees. Using this method, either you name the prospective committee members in the motion that establishes the committee or you name them in a separate motion after you adopt the motion to create the committee.

  • Appointment by the chair: This method is also commonly used to appoint special committees, but it can also be used in the appointment of standing committees. To use this method, you can either specify appointment by the chair as part of your motion creating the committee, or you can use a separate motion to appoint using this method.

    Appointment by the chair is also commonly established in bylaws to prescribe that a group’s president appoint standing committees listed in the bylaws.

  • Ballot election: Generally used to appoint members to important standing committees, this method is used when a group wants to select the committee members with the benefits of a secret ballot.

  • Open nominations: This method is used any time the members want to elect members to a committee but don’t require a secret ballot. Using this method, nominations are taken from the floor, and election is usually by voice vote.

  • Nominations by the chair: When you want to take advantage of the chair’s knowledge of individual members’ capabilities, you can use this method. The chair offers her nominees, and the membership votes on each, usually by voice vote.

  • Appointment by definition in the bylaws: Some committees are established with the bylaws prescribing details on who serves. For example, a bylaw defining a finance committee may read, “The finance committee membership shall consist of the treasurer, the chairman of the audit committee, the chairman of the budget committee, the executive director, two members appointed by the president, and three members elected by the membership at the annual meeting.”

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