The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship



Don Sikkink

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Millions of our citizens participate in groups which make some use of parliamentary procedure. The early books on parliamentary procedure by Jefferson, Cushing and Roberts were based on the practices of legislative bodies and many of these complex interpretations are difficult for non-legislative groups to understand. Recent books have simplified such rules to help us realize that a well run meeting is a demonstration of democracy in action. A person studying parliamentary procedure should emphasize intent over language, learn to use a summary of rules chart and find ways to orally practice newly understood concepts.


I want to acknowledge that it was A. R. Christensen's assignment thirty years ago to teach the required course in parliamentary procedure at South Dakota State University that initiated my study of a topic area that has continued to fascinate me. I also wish to note that many of my early ideas in parliamentary practices came from conversations with Wayne Hoogestraat and resulted in a co-authored book called Modern Parliamentary Practices.

And of course the students in my classes and workshops deserve thanks. Their puzzlement, their questions and those "wild" practice sessions of "The Society for the Improvement of Just About Everything" or "The Society to Study Great Issues" did much to clarify my own ideas about this decision making system.

And a very special thanks goes to Ms. Regis Betts, a remarkable secretary, whose special skill with a new word processing system in our office made this text possible. Without her this book would not have happened! Thanks also go to Lynn Bryce and Arlene Sikkink for proofreading help. And as we all must say -- Thanks to everyone for your help but the mistakes are mine!

Don Sikkink
St. Cloud, Minnesota



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