The parliamentarian is an officer usually appointed by the president, subject to ratification by the executive board. A parliamentarian “pro tem” should be appointed in the absence of the parliamentarian.


The bylaws are specific rules by which the unit is governed, and they supersede any general rule of parliamentary law with which they may be in conflict. They are the “Articles of Organization.” They may not be suspended, even by a unanimous vote. Any action contrary to the unit’s bylaws is null and void and should be so stated when discovered.

The bylaws of the unit, council, district, State, and National PTA all state that Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority. If help is needed in understanding or interpreting Robert’s or the bylaws, the council or district PTA parliamentarian should be contacted.

The California State PTA bylaws contain “starred” articles and sections that are to be included in the unit bylaws. Do not alter, change, or add to any articles or sections with stars. Several bylaws sections refer to information in the California State PTA Toolkit and may not be altered. These are policies or procedures of the California State PTA.

Note: The adoption of an amendment to any provision of the National PTA bylaws or to any provision of the California State PTA bylaws that pertains to unit, council, or district PTA automatically amends the unit’s bylaws and does not require a vote of the unit. Other revisions to the unit’s bylaws may be made only as provided in the bylaws themselves.

Policies and Procedures

Basic policies of the National PTA are included in all PTA bylaws. Parliamentarians often are asked to interpret these policies or give a rationale for them. The National PTA Quick-Reference Guide discusses them in detail. The California State PTA and district PTAs also have policies and procedures that must be observed.

Nominating Committee

The statement in the bylaws, “… shall call the first meeting of the nominating committee … and give instructions in procedure…” means that the parliamentarian should explain the eligibility requirements to hold office, which offices are to be filled, and those sections of the bylaws that pertain to the conduct of the nominating committee, committee voting procedure, etc. The parliamentarian conducts the election of the chairman of the nominating committee. The parliamentarian does not automatically serve as a member of the committee unless elected to it. The parliamentarian, if not a member of this committee, should be available for any questions by telephone or at a specific location.

For details on the responsibilities of the parliamentarian at the unit, council, and district PTA levels see “Job Description for Parliamentarian.

Human Relations

The six most important words:  “I admit I made a mistake.”
The five most important words:  “You did a good job.”
The four most important words:  “What is your opinion?”
The three most important words:  “If you please.”
The two most important words:  “Thank you.”
The one most important word:  “We”
The least most important word:  “I”

 For additional information about bylaws, contact the California State PTA Parliamentarian at or 916.440.1985 ext. 310


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