Meeting Terminology

Role of the Chairman
The function of the chairman is to provide leadership to the group. He/She has certain duties and responsibilities that must be performed.
  • Insure that the meeting is conducted in accordance with established rules.
  • Maintain order and bring the group to a conclusion on the matters before it.
The Agenda
The agenda should always be prepared ahead of time and copies given to all board, commission, or committee members ahead of time if possible. If non-members attend the meeting, they should also be provided with an agenda. The agenda should be prepared by the department director or staff person assigned to the board, commission, or committee. All boards, commissions, and committees are subject to the Open Meetings Act and their agenda must be properly posted in a public place, at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.

Generally, the first order of business on the agenda is the reading, correcting, and passing of the minutes from the last meeting. Next, are matters properly listed on the agenda, followed by reports from staff or committees.

Robert's Rules of Order
Meetings of boards, commissions, and committees are generally conducted under standard parliamentary rules as outlined in Robert's Rules of Order (PDF). This handbook contains a quick reference chart for frequently used Robert's Rules of Order.

Public Hearings
Public Hearings are open forums that allow the public an opportunity to express their opinion on a specific issue related to the City of La Porte. Public Hearings are generally conducted in the following manner:
  • The Chairman of the board or commission formally opens the Public Hearing.
  • Proponents (those in favor) of measure speak first.
  • Opponents (those against) speak second.
  • After hearing all who wish to comment on the issue, the proponents are allowed to give rebuttal and summarize their position, and then the Chairman formally closes the Public Hearing.
  • Members of the board, commission, or committee may ask questions at anytime, of any witness. Board, commission, or committee members are encouraged to ask questions even after the hearing is closed. After the Public Hearing is closed, members of the public may speak only in answer to a question asked by a member of the board, commission, or committee.
  • If a Public Hearing drew a large number of interested Citizens, a time limit for individual speakers may be set by the board or commission before the Public Hearing.
  • The Chairman may use his/her judgment about how strictly this format is followed.
A quorum is the minimum number of members needed to officially conduct business. The quorum is generally established by the ordinance, resolution, or other document that establishes the board, commission, or committee. Where no statement on the quorum number exists, the quorum is the majority of the members.

Signing the Minutes for the Meeting
The minutes of Decision-Making boards and commissions must be signed by either the Chairman and/or the Secretary once the Minutes are approved by the members of the board or commission.