The rules of procedure for AQPAC are below. You may also download an
Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file of the bylaws here.
Visit the bylaws page for more detail.
RULES OF PROCEDURE APPLICABLE TO AQPAC:
THE CONDUCT OF MEMBERS AND THE CONDUCT OF NON-MEMBERS
Presented to the
Air Quality Public Advisory Committee
June 16, 2003
Lee Ruck, General Counsel
Metropolitan Washington COG
I have been asked to address several questions concerning the conduct
of business before the Air Quality Public Advisory Committee, particularly
concerning the decorum and conduct required of members and public participants,
and the obligations of the Chair and the Assembly as a whole. The answers
to these questions must be found in the various rules governing the
formal proceedings of the Committee.
Rules of procedure applicable to meetings of AQPAC derive from several
|Bylaws of Air Quality Public Advisory Committee (AQPAC)
|Bylaws of Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee
|Bylaws of the Metropolitan Washington Council
of Governments (COG)
|Rules of Procedure of the Metropolitan Washington
Council of Governments
|Robert's Rules of Procedure, Newly Revised (Robert’s
|COG, MWAQC, and AQPAC all adopt Robert’s Rules
as applicable to the proceedings of the respective organizations.
|The COG Board of Directors has also adopted specific
rules of procedure for the conduct of business that occurs under
the general authority of COG.
Since MWAQC is, in significant part, derivative of COG and is
largely supported by COG financial and human resources, and since the
COG procedures are generally more liberal than Robert's Rules, I am
of the opinion that AQPAC is obligated to follow the COG rules of procedure
when such rules specifically address a situation, and must follow Robert's
Rules when the COG rules of procedure are silent on the situation or
question at hand.
||May the public address AQPAC?
Whether the public has the general right to address AQPAC is
left to the discretion of AQPAC, itself.
COG has no requirement to permit public comment, except as part
of a public hearing process, set and advertised pursuant to 6.00-6.03
of the COG Rules of Procedure. MWAQC has a requirement to seek
public participation (Bylaws, Section 9), which it has implemented
formally by the creation of AQPAC, and informally by affording
a limited public comment at the beginning of each MWAQC meeting.
||If AQPAC elects to consider public
comment, it may do so at such times and places, and for such individual
or group duration as it sees fit.
||How does a person obtain the floor
for purpose of a comment or question?
A member of the public may be requested to sign in on a register,
and await recognition by the chair or, if an open public forum
is permitted, may request recognition from the chair by standing,
raising a hand, or such other signal as the chair may indicate
is appropriate for such purpose.
A member may seek recognition orally from the chair.
In any event, neither a member of the public or a member of AQPAC
may substantively address the body until recognized by the chair.
||For an AQPAC member the requirement
to seek and receive recognition from the chair is true whether the
purpose is to give notice, make a motion, submit a report, or for
any other purpose. COG Rule 2.01; Robert's Rules, Section 41. If
a member is entitled to the floor, the chair must recognize the
member. In general a member is entitled if a) no other member currently
has the floor and b) the member seeking recognition has not already
spoken to the issue while others desire to address the question.
COG Rule 2.01. There are a few occasions when a member need not
obtain the chair's recognition, e.g., calling a member to order,
requesting division of a vote, parliamentary inquiry. These, however,
cannot be used to defeat the normal operations of the body pursuant
to the rules; they merely insure parliamentary accuracy and personal
privilege. See, e.g., Robert's Rules, Sections 29 and 41.
||Once a member has the floor, what are
the limitations on his or her speech?
The primary general requirement is germaneness - a member's
comments must be germane to the question or issue before the body.
Robert's Rules, Section 42. Germane debate is limited to five
minutes at any one time for any member. COG Rule 2.02. If the
member's comments are not germane the chair may rule a member
out of order, and grant recognition to another member. Robert's
Rules. Section 42.
COG's rules grant a member the privilege of addressing the
body "for a period not longer than five minutes concerning matters
which may affect the Board collectively, its rights, its dignity
and the integrity of its proceedings, or the rights, reputation,
and conduct of its individual members in their representative
capacities only. COG Rule 2.03.
Any statement, whether under COG Rule2.02 or 2.03, must follow
decorum and be made in good taste, without personal attack. If,
in the opinion of the chair, decorum is not followed, the chair
may rule the statement out of order and grant recognition to another
If a member disagrees with the ruling of the chair, the member
may appeal the ruling of the chair. The full assembly will then
vote on the appeal with both the appealing member and the chair
authorized to vote. A majority vote is required to sustain the
chair. Robert's rules, Section 24.
||How does the chair maintain order and
If a member of the public acts in a manner disturbing the
assembly, the chair may request that the person leave. If the
person does not, and continues to disrupt the assembly, the person
may be removed as a trespasser, either by a sergeant at arms or,
if necessary, the police. The public person has no right to appeal
such order of the chair. Robert's Rules, Section 60.
If a member of the body does not relinquish the floor when
so ordered, or continues to act in a way that disrupts the continuing
efforts of the body, the chair may order the member to leave.
If the member refuses, the chair may request that other members
of the body, or its sergeant at arms, or the police perform this
function. Robert's Rules, Section 60. This order of the chair
may be appealed, pursuant to Robert's Rules, Section 24.