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President's Message from Christina Dokter - September 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018  
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President's Message from Christina Dokter - September 2018

One of the key things I remember from the NALBOH Annual Conference was actually the preconference session on Robert’s Rules.  Many of us may find the process too formal or stuffy; but actually, Roberts Rules have a lot of practical functions in running a meeting.  That’s why almost all Boards of Health use them.

These are some of the many benefits to using the Roberts Rules:

  • Roberts Rules give board meetings a structure to follow so that digression from the main topic areas can be prevented.  
  • It also gives everyone an opportunity to speak so that dominant personalities do not make all the decisions.  
  • Given everyone has a chance to air their opinions, it also makes for intelligent decision making.  
  • Since an agenda is followed, and the meeting stays on topic, and ends on time.
  • Roberts Rules gives everyone a chance to look at the meeting minutes and approve them before the next meeting.
  • Since Robert’s Rules provide a formal way of conducting a meeting and voting on important decisions, these rules provide a way of checks and balances from becoming enslaved to heuristics.

Heuristics are defined as a practical, often shortcut-oriented way of solving problems to make judgments quickly and efficiently.   For example, in science labs when heuristics dominate the culture of the lab, pretty soon scientists find themselves taking easy shortcuts rather than abiding by the rules and regulations of research.  In the same way, avoiding Roberts Rules and making decisions without effective discussion making and voting, could lead to heuristics where eventually the Board engages in activity not beneficial to their fiduciary responsibility.

I hope if you were able to attend the NALBOH Annual Conference. There were MANY topics and considerations you were able to learn from! We look forward to continuing to provide education and training relevant to boards of health.

Christina Dokter