Skip to main content

Preside Over the Meeting

Preside is, for the most part, a fancy word for lead.

The person presiding over the meeting leads the meeting and makes sure that the board efficiently tackles all the items on the agenda, hears from everyone who wants to participate, and guides the board in making decisions.

Parliamentary procedure, as described in Robert’s Rules of Order, provides the framework for leading these meetings1 and the presiding officer should have a solid, working, understanding of it. But of course, “no rules can take the place of tact and common sense.”2

Presiding over the meeting is the duty of the president or chairperson but they can delegate it as they see fit or whenever necessary.

Occasionally, the president/chairperson is unavailable. This can happen if the office is vacant, if the president/chairperson is absent, or if they have recused themselves. When this happens, most neighborhood council bylaws specify that the vice-president/vice-chairperson takes their place as the presiding officer.3

If the president and vice-president (or chairperson and vice-chairperson) are both unavailable, the board must elect someone to be the presiding officer until the return or replacement of the president or vice-president.4

  1. Article XII of the NC bylaws specifies the parliamentary authority for the NC, usually Roberts Rules of Order

  2. RONR (11th ed.), p. 449, II. 13-14 

  3. See the NC bylaws, article VI, section 2 where the duties of the board officers including the vice-president or vice-chairperson are enumerated. 

  4. RONR (11th ed.), p. 453, II. 3-7