My Services


The role of a Parliamentarian is varied, and is usually somewhat custom to the needs of the organization. Every organization is unique and handles their meetings, their board meetings, and their day-to-day operations differently. A Parliamentarian is flexible and works to best address the special needs of each organization. The services list below is a guideline for commonly-requested assistance, but is by no means exhaustive. If you find that your needs aren’t covered below, please contact me and we can discuss your requirements.

Professional consulting fees and expenses

Hourly consulting fees are the same, regardless of where the client is located. Services range from $50.00/hour to $110.00/hour, depending on remote (teleconference or videoconference) or on-site needs, and the level of effort required.

When travel is required, the client will be responsible for all reasonable and customary travel expenses. Expenses will be estimated and approved by the client prior to booking travel, and an expense report, trip summary, and invoice will be provided to the client within 15 days after the conclusion of the event. In the case of local clients (San Diego, CA and Southern California), no travel expenses will usually be needed except if the geographic distance is more than 30 miles or if there is a multi-day event scheduled.

Commonly requested services

Please use this as a starting point for understanding the kinds of services that I offer. If you have specific needs that aren’t mentioned, contact me and I can create something custom for you.

Description On-Site Remote
Meeting Parliamentarian – attend with the presiding chair and assist with proper application of parliamentary procedure, clarification of procedures, framing of motions, amendments, resolving questions, handling elections, offering advice and more. $75/hr
Board of Director training – board/officer introduction to parliamentary procedure; presiding officer consultation and training; assistance with board processes, motions, committees and standing rules; election of officers and members; special and executive meetings; quorum requirements, job descriptions, review of bylaws, etc. $90/hr
Bylaws – assistance with interpreting bylaws, constitutions and articles of incorporation (note: not from a legal perspective; an attorney is recommended for that); help with creation and development of bylaws, revising and amending; evaluation of bylaws; formal opinion writing; group discussions, standing rules, committees and more. $90/hr $75/hr
Group workshops/training – general group training and instruction on parliamentary procedure and processes, duties and roles of officers, committees, elections, conventions, etc; proper meeting planning; agenda creation; mentoring of officers or members, taking minutes, committee meetings and reports, etc. $110/hr $75/hr
Presider – If your organization simply needs someone to step in as a meeting presider or moderator, I can help. This service would provide your organization with an impartial, experienced resource who can manage your meeting from start to finish. $55/hr
Formal opinions – when there is a question of procedure, or an interpretation of a rule or bylaw required, then a formal written opinion by a professional Parliamentarian can be very useful. I would evaluate the question at hand, researching against all parliamentary authorities and resources, including your organization’s governing documents, to come to a conclusion. This is then written up as a formal opinion and provided to you, along with a verbal explanation. $55/hr
Committees – assisting committees in establishing goals and objectives, and learning how to function within parliamentary procedure frameworks. Clarification of duties, mentoring on limits of responsibility and so on. $50/hr $50/hr
Phone/email consultation – If you have specific needs or questions and just want an opinion or advice (not a formal opinion), then we can arrange time to discuss your question and provide suggestions. This may entail off-line work, but costs will be estimated and provided if that is needed. $30/hr

Ethics statement and credentials

As a member of NAP, and a past member of AIP, I am committed to a high standard of conduct, and pledge to my clients an ethical, confidential, and experienced engagement. NAP and AIP members have jointly agreed to a Code of Ethics Statement for their members, and one to which I subscribe.

Please also read the page about my specific skills and credentials in order to get a better understanding of my education and professional certification.

SLC 2017 Presentations

Thank you for attending the Ninth District PTA’s 2017 Summer Leadership Conference!

Below you will find all of my presentations, along with a few other parliamentarian training sessions given at recent Council and District in-service events. I’m also including a helpful resources in the form of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document and a great chart of motions and their characteristics. Some additional presentations from past District training is further down the page as well.

If you have any questions or concerns, please use my helpdesk to contact me and I’ll be happy to help you out.


Bruce Bergman

Ninth District PTA Parliamentarian


2016 “Three Things” Seminar

Thank you for attending our “Three Things” training session on October 19, 2016.

Below you will find the “Three Things” presentation, along with a longer version of the Parliamentarian Training given at recent Council in-service events. Also, you’ll find a few helpful resources in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

If you have any questions or concerns, please use my helpdesk to contact me and I’ll be happy to help out.


Bruce Bergman

Ninth District PTA Parliamentarian


  • RONR

    Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) is the most widely used parliamentary authority in the world today. More details about Robert’s Rules can be found here.


    This page serves as an explanation page for the nomenclature used throughout this web site to indicate RONR citations.


    Where “RONR” is seen, this refers to the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (currently the 10th Edition). Where a parenthetical comment is seen, this is a page/line citation.


    Citations are listed by page number(s) first, then line number(s); all pages have numbered lines. For example, RONR (p. 351, l. 9-12) would refer to the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, page 351, lines 9-12.

    Electronic Meetings and Discussions

    It is certainly true that parliamentary authorities such as Robert’s Rules were written a long time ago, when things like email and the internet didn’t exist even in fantasy. That doesn’t imply that the procedures are out of date, though. By comparison, the Constitution of the United States of America is still a relevant and guiding document for many of our modern laws, even though it was written almost a hundred years earlier than Robert’s Rules! It’s safe to say that any collection of procedures should be a living document, changing and updating over time to fit the needs of the audience. In a like vein, RONR has been updated over the years to stay current with each passing generation. It is why we are currently using the 10th Edition of the book, and why a group of parliamentary scholars constantly review and consider things that need changing.

    The 11th Edition of RONR is scheduled for publication in 2011, and will have the most comprehensive set of changes in its long history. Many of those changes will specifically address electronic communications and how those apply to parliamentary procedures. Remember that the 10th Edition modifications were started back in the late 1990’s, at a time when the internet was coming into power, and the web was just beginning to take hold in our society. At the time, the authors of the changes knew that they needed to address electronic communications (teleconferences, for example, had been going on for decades, and email had been in use for 20 years), so they framed their comments with current technology in mind. The 11th Edition will go several steps further and be updated to represent the past decade of technological marvels that have come to pass. Suffice to say that we are all excited to see what the 11th Edition will bring to the table.

    In the meantime, do not despair, because the 10th Edition has much to say. To start with, RONR (p. 482-483, l. 28-35, 1-5) speaks directly to videoconferences and teleconferences for meetings. Although the context of this chapter is committee meetings, there is nothing precluding the same processes to be used in other meeting types, including board of director meetings. Lines 28-33 read:

    “The bylaws may authorize a board or committee (or even a relatively small assembly) to meet via videoconference or teleconference. If they do, then such a meeting must be conducted by a technology that allows all persons participating to hear each other at the same time (and, if a videoconference, to see each other as well).” [underlines are my emphasis]

    The reason for the underlined passage is a key element inherent in RONR — that everyone has an opportunity to be heard and participate in the process. Without that mutual communication opportunity, the rights of an individual are being restricted, and Robert’s Rules goes to great lengths to make sure this never happens. This is further explained in lines 33-35, and lines 1-2 on the next page:

    “The opportunity for simultaneous communication is central to the deliberative character of the meeting, and is what distinguishes it from attempts to do business by postal or electronic mail or by fax […]”

    In the case of meetings — of almost any shape or size — electronic communications are allowed. RONR does advise that the bylaws should specifically authorize (or deny) the use electronic facilities for types of meetings, and that standing rules or special rules of order should specify the logistics for the electronic meeting. That is, how the meeting is started, how individuals are to be recognized for motions and comments, how voting will be taken, how recesses are handled, etc (RONR, p. 483, l. 2-5).

    So what about the use of email in deliberative assemblies? Does the comment about simultaneous communication negate the use of email as a mechanism for deliberations? Well, it’s clear that RONR does not recommend this approach, even though it is commonly done in today’s electronic world. On page 2 or RONR, as a footnote, is the following comment:

    “Efforts to conduct the deliberative process by postal or electronic mail or facsimilie (fax) transmission — which are not recommended — must be expressly authorized by the bylaws and should be supported by special rules of order or standing rules as appropriate, since so many situations unprecedented in parliamentary law may arise and since many procedures common to parliamentary law are not applicable.”

    This isn’t just a case of CYA (Covering Your Assets); there are indeed a number of parliamentary procedures that don’t apply to electronic mail communications. For example, how does one obtain the floor in email? In a face-to-face meeting, someone could stand or raise their hand. There is no equivalent in email. This is why it is important to delineate the aspects of the process in standing rules. Since email is entirely non-deterministic, meaning that it is indeterminate when an email might be received, regardless of when it was sent, it would be hard to say who actually “raised their hand” first. One solution to this problem is to designate a trustworthy party (perhaps an independent third party) who is the arbiter of “when” an email is received by the group. Of course, this is a bit excessive in most cases, since I can’t think of a common situation where the exact, precise order of email comments is truly relevant to the discussion at hand.

    (One possible situation would be if a certain notice is given — say “comments must be received within three days” or similar — then it might be difficult to determine if an actual comment was received before the deadline. This would hopefully not be a big deal, but it could arise).

    In any case, RONR discusses the use of electronic communications in several areas, including a detailed description of voting (RONR, p. 410-11, 404-405) and even a discussion of what to do when roll calls can be done electronically, say via mechanisms for checking in on teleconferences, and when those same mechanisms can be used for registering votes (RONR, p. 408, l. 4-28).

    Summarizing, any organization can use electronic resources in the execution of their meetings, deliberations, voting and operations. They keys to proper use of electronic communications are:

    1. Specify in the bylaws when electronic communications and mechanisms can be used and when they cannot be used. This should include the type of meetings, the type of deliberations and so on. The bylaws are not the place for the operational aspects (see the next point), but they should specify the basis for use of electronic communications.
    2. Specify in standing rules, or special rules of order, exactly how the electronic resources will be used. The logistics of meetings, recognition of speakers, counting of votes, what to do when equipment fails, how to recess and adjourn and so on.
    3. In the case of email processes, make sure that everything is finely detailed, enough that there should be no question of how the email processes are handled. Email can easily be used to handle day-to-day operations where there are no questions of equity, but when the rights of an individual might be restricted, those processes must be clearly defined and arranged.
    4. A review of your organization’s current bylaws should be conducted in order to see if there are clauses in the bylaws that would preclude the use of electronic communications. If such clauses are found, then the bylaws might need to be amended.

    Where situations arise that are not covered by the bylaws or standing rules, fall back on the basic principles of RONR: one subject at a time, democratic process, the right of an individual, and the rights of the group to make their own decisions. If you stay true to RONR, even faced with vexing electronic questions, then there is no reason why electronic communications can’t be a perfect augment to today’s organizational process.

    Online Bookstore

    The following book titles are ones that I am personally familiar with and have found to be informative and helpful. I’ve listed them here, in random order, in case you need suggestions on some of the better books to add to your library. If you know of other titles that I should list, please let me know and I’ll see about adding them. Note that these are listed in random order, not in order of the best reference or the best book to buy. Some of these are also available in electronic editions for the Kindle reader.


    The Guerrilla Guide to Robert’s Rules


    A really great introduction to Robert’s Rules if you need to get off the ground fast and hard. This no-nonsense book gives you a head start without spending time on the historical aspects of parliamentary procedure.

    Robert’s Rules of Order In Brief


    One of the “must have” books in your library. This brief version of the classic Robert’s Rules of Order brings all the important facts into one handy guide.


    Use this book in your regular meetings for quick reference, answering questions of procedure or simply finding out the best way to handle certain processes.

    The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure


    An alternate parliamentary authority, and probably the next most common set of standard rules in existence. This set of procedures was recently updated by the American Institute of Parliamentarians for day-to-day use by organizations.

    The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Robert’s Rules


    A great introduction to Robert’s Rules from one of the most prolific parliamentarians writing today. If you’ve never spent time with Robert’s Rules, this would be a good first stop for your journey.

    Riddick’s Rules of Procedure

    A streamlined alternative to Robert’s Rules. This book serves as a glossary and collection of rules for modern meetings and organizations.

    Robert’s Rules for Dummies


    Another great introduction to Robert’s Rules in the tried and true Dummies style. If you’ve never spent time with Robert’s Rules, this would be a good first stop for your journey.

    Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 10th Edition


    The seminal and official book on parliamentary procedure. This is the original document, updated to the 10th Edition, by descendants of the original Henry Robert. This is a “must have” book for anyone doing significant work in parliamentary procedure. It’s thick, but it is definitive and helpful.

    Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules of Order


    The comments and opinions of a known parliamentary scholar as he goes through the entire Robert’s Rules of Order text.


    If you’ve ever wondered why something was written the way it was, or what the thinking behind a procedure is, then this will likely answer your question.

    Cannon’s Concise Guide to Rules of Order


    A modern interpretation and guide through rules of order, with a view towards to how to use rules practically and efficiently in meetings and deliberations.


    Parliamentary Procedure at a Glance


    One of the best quick references to parliamentary procedure. A great help for new users of parliamentary procedure, chairpersons or committee members.


    Robert’s Rules in Plain English

    A revised and concise reference to Robert’s Rules, newly updated for changes in the 10th Edition.This version includes an extensive glossary as well as references for electronic meetings and modern technology use in relation to parliamentary procedures.


    Why is a certification important?

    Credentials are important in professional services because they provide you — the customer — with a sense of how educated a person is in a specific area of knowledge. I maintain membership in two parliamentary organizations, and have certifications in parliamentary procedure, so that you can have confidence in my abilities and in the services I can offer your organization.

    I am a member of both the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP) and a past member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP). These two organizations form the backbone of parliamentary knowledge world-wide. Each organization has a slightly different focus, yet between the two of them, there is much to share and learn. NAP focuses exclusively on Robert’s Rules of Order, the most commonly used parliamentary authority in the world today, and its members are experts within that realm. AIP generalizes on several parliamentary authorities, giving its members a wide range of parliamentary knowledge for a variety of organizational needs.

    Within NAP, I am a Regular Member and working on my Registered Parliamentarian (RP) certification. Within AIP, I was also a regular member and working on my Certified Parliamentarian (CP) standing.


    I have been involved with parliamentary procedure for over 30 years in a number of areas.

    I have been an active member of many non-profit and community organizations, giving advice and training on parliamentary topics. I have also served on two Board of Directors in director and officer capacities, and have spent considerable time helping organizations improve their meetings through better use of parliamentary practices.

    My involvement with parliamentary procedure started back in the late 1970’s, when I joined debate in high school. Although I was primarily interested in the debate team, I was also involved with DeMolay, a fraternal youth organization that is an offshoot of the Shrine organization. In DeMolay, all meetings are held in compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order, which I found interesting and exciting. I participated as a member of a parliamentary procedure team (a “Parli Pro team”), where team members are challenged with a variety of parliamentary scenarios, and scored on how well they know Robert’s Rules and how properly applied that knowledge is. It began a long association with parliamentary procedure that continues to this day.


    Some of the groups and organizations I have helped in the past:

    • DEC Users Society (DECUS)
    • Oracle Development Tools Users Group (ODTUG)
    • San Diego Mountain Rescue Team (SDMRT)
    • Penasquitos Lutheran Church (PLC) Council
    • International Oracle Users Group (IOUG)
    • Axapta Users Group (AXUG)
    • Your Conference Connection

    I am interested in helping other organizations through instruction, advice and training, and can offer a wide variety of services that may be of interest to you. I look forward to understanding your organization’s specific parliamentary needs.


    My membership and credentials can be verified through these links:


    Bylaws are designed to help the group function in an orderly manner. A copy of each organizations Bylaw should be provided to all officers and board members. Each member should be responsible for making a thorough study of them. A copy of the bylaws should be made available to any member of the association upon request.

    If a unit cannot locate the bylaws, a committee should be appointed by the president and chaired by the parliamentarian. Standard bylaws should be obtained from the state office for a nominal fee. Standard bylaws are sometimes pre-printed and provide blank spaces to fill in according to an organization’s needs, but generally bylaws are written with each specific organization in mind.

    Changing Bylaws

    Bylaws should be reviewed every year. Appoint a small committee with the parliamentarian as chairman to study them, make recommendations, and forward through channels to the organization voting membership. Generally, changing bylaws requires a 2/3 majority vote passed in order to become adopt.

    Standing Rules

    Whenever members are required or permitted to take any action at a meeting, a written notice of the meeting shall be given, not less than 10 days nor more than 90 days before the date of the meeting, to each member, who on the recorded date for the notice of the meeting, is entitled to vote at such meeting.

    Standing rule outlines the procedures of the organization that are not included in the bylaws and must not conflict with the bylaws. Some examples of the differences are:

    • Bylaws state when the meetings of the association and executive board are held.
    • Standing Rules tell where and what time these meetings are held.
    • Bylaws give the primary responsibilities of officers and chairmen.
    • Standing Rules give the specifics.

    If the Bylaws state that the first vice president is responsible for the program, the Standing Rules would list the various chairmen, who work with the vice president under the first vice presidents title, such as program, Founders Day, Honorary Service Award, hospitality, refreshments, and program booklet.

    If the organization has supplies and/or equipment, the Standing Rules would state who is responsible for them and where they would be kept.

    Standing Rules might also list:

    • Who has the responsibility for securing the outgoing president’s pin and its inscription.
    • If there is to be an installation of officers, who is responsible for selecting the installing officers and when the installation should take place.

    In short, Bylaws are hard and fast rules that may be amended only with prior notice to the membership.

    Standing rules are the details of regular work that may be changed from administration to administration or from meeting to meeting. They generally require a two-thirds (2/3rd) majority vote without notice and a majority vote with 30 days notice to adopt or amend.