Mrs. Gladys S. Hawkins, State Director 1959-1961

As a Past State Director, I have been asked to give to Table Directors a few duties to the State Organization. I do hope that they will help in a small way to make your year of office a happy one.

The Pan-American Round Table is not a club. It represents a movement of Pan-Americanism and its titular head is a Director.

  1. Please read and inform yourself on the history of the Pan-American Round Table Organization. That history should be found in the file of each Table, as it was sent by me to the Directors in December, 1959.
  2. Read and acquaint yourselves with the Constitution and by-laws of both the State and the Alliance, using Robert’s' Rules of Order in conducting your meetings.
  3. Before leaving the Convention, please see that the Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer have the names of your elected officers for the coming term.
  4. As soon as your Year Books are ready, mail a copy to the following:

    Alliance Director

    Alliance Secretary

    Alliance Treasurer

    All State Officers and all other Tables.

  5. When State Officers send communications to the Tables it is for a purpose, not just to be busy, use stationery and spend postage. So please, answer these communications and do so on time, not two weeks later.
  6. Have one program a year at which both State and Alliance are represented. It is the courteous thing to invite your State Director and an Alliance officer to meet with your Table and be your guest during your term of office.
  7. Look well to your Program Chairman, selecting one who will really arrange a program on Pan-Americanism, - not a tea party.
  8. Have a strong Project Committee. Projects could include any of the following; Scholarships, Spanish classes, Study of the 22 flags, and perhaps making a set of flags, studies of histories and customs of South American countries, study of the organization of the American States, etc. (Speakers are available through the Pan American Union.)
  9. The Constitution states that our organization is non-profit. Since the organization does recommend that Scholarships be given, and that Tables send delegates to the Convention, a plan for financial assistance might well not be termed non-profit making. But funds solicited or raised for other purposes are in violation of the Constitution and so could result in the organization losing its status for mailing services and its Income Tax status.
  10. Membership. - Choose new members who are really Pan American minded, not just joiners. Keep your membership small and interested, rather than large and unwieldy. It is better to take in no new members than to just fill your rolls to the maximum membership.

You will no doubt ask, "Are we not allowed local autonomy?" You are, so long as the Table operates within the framework of the Constitution and so long as your own Constitution and By-laws have been accepted by the Constitution and By-laws Committee of the State and Alliance. I am sure that if you study the above mentioned, you will realize that you enjoy a great deal of local autonomy.

The itemized suggestions and rules are very easily complied with. And if you try them, you will have a good Round Table and a happy membership, and that you will make a real contribution to your ideals and to our motto, "Unas para todas, y todas para unas".

I will try to give you some simple but helpful hints to make your presiding easier, efficient and pleasant. The following suggested lessons are arranged to help officers learn first the elementary things necessary in order to take part in a meeting, only a few of the simplest rules are called for in an ordinary meeting. The next step is to find a correct ruling at a glance rather than to attempt to remember all. First let me state that there are four basic rules for Parliamentary Procedure. Without them all else is lost.

1. Courtesy and justice to all;

2. Consider one thing at a time;

3. The minority must be heard;

4. The majority must prevail.

Be sure that all of your officers are acquainted with their duties. Before presiding at your first meeting, I would urge that you and your officers thoroughly acquaint yourselves with your Constitution and By-laws. This is most important, and you should always have a copy of such in your or your secretary’s possession during a session, unless you have your Parliamentarian present - in which case she should have one.

Whether in General meetings or Board meetings, do start on time. If a time has been set, there is obviously a reason for it. Stress that fact to your Board and to your general membership.

Have an agenda made up and abide by it and preside by it checking off each piece of business as it is disposed of, being sure that your secretary gets each correctly. Check with her immediately following the meeting. To wait until you get home and call her by phone might be too late.

Correct minutes are very important. They constitute a permanent record of your organization. It is not important that red, white and blue decorations were used, but it is important as to how much money was voted to be expended on a project and how the group voted on proposed legislation from the State or National Organizations. And it is important as to whether Mrs. Black or Mrs. Brown proposed an amendment to an amendment.

So, with your Constitution in mind and a good secretary, you should have no worry - unless you have made some poor choice in the appointment of Committee Chairmen, and I hope you have given serious thoughts to this. After this appointment has been made, it is out of your hands, and no chairman wants the president calling her every day or so as to how her project is going. She had rather report to you.

So, in presiding, I would stress these points. Always look your best, stand erect, speak and enunciate clearly, making your language definite. Remember that you were elected by the group, and that group is looking to you to lead them, and to always represent them well. Get names correctly. To some people there is nothing more deflating or irritating than to be introduced or spoken to by an incorrect name.

I am sure that you are acquainted with the order of business, i.e.:

Secretary's minutes

Treasurer's report

Special orders for the day

Special committees

Unfinished business - never old business

General orders for the day or new business

Standing committees.

This order of business is flexible and could be so arranged as to accommodate Board members. After the above procedure it is best that the Chair entertain a motion to adjourn. Never let your meeting drag on or hang on, move efficiently from one item of the agenda to the next.

If there is a program, never say, "I will now turn the meeting over to Mrs. Jones". Rather say, "It gives me pleasure to introduce our Program Chairman". Remember that you are in "the Chair" until the meeting is adjourned.

In introducing a speaker either the president or the chairman, you should always have it understood just how long he is to speak and hold him to it, saying tactfully, 'Mr. or Mrs. __ will speak to us for 15 minutes" or the agreed or allotted time.

If as Director you wish to enter into a discussion or bring up any questions, step out of the Chair to do so asking the Associate Director to preside for you.

And speaking of Associate Directors, many organizations consider it an honor and a courtesy for the Director to ask the Associate Director to preside at one meeting during the year. Of course, she would always preside in the absence of the Director and be expected to move up in case of resignation or death of the Director.

Let us move on to Board meetings. Board meetings are very important and are set up for the convenience of taking care of the business of the organization - recommendations, resolutions, and so on, and to later be presented to the general membership for approval and adoption. If small items, such as approval of bills, committee appointments, etc. are handled at the Board meetings, only the reading of important items need be mentioned at the general meeting, and so it can move on to the program, the lecture or other forms of interest. Thus the membership is informed, but not tired out by such business. After all, the Board is elected to handle the organization's business. If any member at large objects to or wishes to speak to any of the recommendations or resolutions from the Board, that member is entitled to do so, and a discussion could follow, but seldom does.

It seems that most business resolves itself around motions. So lets discuss the processing of a main motion or resolution, and incidentally, about 80% of all motions are main motions as compared to resolutions.

  1. A member, to secure the floor, rises (in large bodies gives her name) and addresses the Chair, is recognized by the Chair.
  2. To make a motion, the member "moves" - as, "Madam Director, I move that " The motion must be seconded by a member, else it dies on the floor. The Chair states the motion (or has the secretary read it) and calls for any discussion on same. (The presiding officer is addressed as "Madame Director" but always refers to herself as "the Chair".)
  3. The Chair puts the question to the body and takes the affirmative vote the negative vote - and must announce the result.

There are "Basic rules for any debate".

  1. Each member is entitled to speak once to a question, perhaps twice if there is no objection.
  2. Members of the organization indulge in no personalities and avoid references by name.
  3. Members always make inquiries or ask questions on any point through the Chair.
  4. The member making the motion has the privilege of opening and closing the debate.
  5. The Chair must remain neutral and if debating, must leave the Chair until the debate is finished and the vote taken.

These are simple rules and with them go my best wishes for a happy term of office.


Gladys S Hawkins (Mrs. W. W.)

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