Tuesday’s special meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board — called by the board’s president to deal with confusion created by this year’s selection of a group health plan provider — appears to be illegitimate, according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Photo by Robin May
The Lafayette Parish School Board
At its Oct. 16 meeting, the board voted unanimously to defer its decision to award the insurance contract until its Nov. 6 meeting, but late Thursday, Board President Shelton Cobb called for a special meeting Tuesday with the sole purpose of ironing out the various issues that have arisen during this year’s selection. He's also proposed the possibility of restarting the process from the beginning.
It seems, however, that tonight’s meeting doesn’t jibe with proper parliamentary procedure, and aside from giving the board and public a chance for more discussion, a vote on any of the four resolutions on the agenda would not be binding, according to Robert’s Rules, which reads (emphasis is ours):
The time to which a question is postponed must fall within the session or the next session, and, if it is desired to postpone it to a different time, which must not be beyond the next regular session, it is necessary first to fix the time for an adjourned meeting, and then the question may be postponed to that meeting.
When a question has been postponed to a certain time, it becomes an order of the day for that time and cannot be taken up before that time except by a reconsideration.
For clarification, The IND reached out to the board’s appointed legal counsel, 15th Judicial Assistant District Attorney Roger Hamilton, but his office says he’s not allowed to speak with the press.
Based on our interpretation of Robert’s Rules, the special meeting needed to be set before the matter was postponed by the board at its last regular meeting in order for it to be addressed at tonight's special meeting.
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