The Duties of the President

By: Angelica Bassett

National President of 2012-2013

It is very important that the president be something more than a "traffic officer" at meeting. The president is a presiding officer and an administrator, and should set an example for the assembly regarding courtesy, fairness and the application of rules and must maintain a position of impartiality. An effective president demonstrates poise, assume a confident posture when approaching the presiding station, and looks over the audience briefly before speaking. The president must ve calm, courteous, and speak with a strong, clear voice throughout the meeting. A person presiding at a meeting who had no regular title, or whose position may be temporary, is sometimes addressed as "Mr./Madam Chairman," Mr./Chairperson,"or " Mr./ Madam Chair."

One of the criticisms often head is that the president is "unfair" at meetings. It must be remembered that the main function of the president is to run the meeting efficiently and fairly, using the organization's parliamentary authority. The president may explain motions, provided that the interpretation does not side or the other. Except in small board meetings, the chair may not debate a question while presiding. If the chair wishes to debate, he/she relinquishes the chair to the organization's vice-president and resumes the chair after the question has been resolved. The president may vote when it could affect the final outcome (to make or make a tie or to reach or break a two-thirds vote) or when the vote is by ballot.

The specific duties of the president at meetings are to:

1. Start meetings at the assigned time and note if a quorum is present.

2. Announce the business to come before the proper order.

3. Recognize members who wish to speak after they rise and address the chair.

4. State motions that are presented to the assembly, and if appropriate, put them to a vote, and announce the results fo the voting.

5. Enforce the rules of the organization relating to debate, order, and decorum.

a. Decide all points of order.

b. Protect the meeting procedures by refusing to recognize members who offer frivolous or dilatory motions.

c. Respond to members regarding parliamentary procedures.

d. Use good judgment by keeping debate on the topic that is under consideration germane and by appointing qualified members to committees.

6. Expedite business. Use time efficiently, allowing for satisfactory consideration of all items. However, don't conduct business hastily or delay matters to a point where members are bored.

7. Adjourn the meeting.

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