Palatine Township board members Monday night agreed further discussion is needed before voting on a policy that would allow the hiring of a parliamentarian to ensure meetings run smoothly.
Parliamentarians are experts on meeting rules and enforce decorum, such as having only one speaker at a time and keeping personal confrontations at bay. Township officials say the governmental referee should provide more structure for meetings and improve how they function, along with preventing personal attacks.
Board members agreed more discussion and study is needed before formally voting on a policy that would enable the hiring of the parliamentarian.
Trustee Andy-John Kalkounos said the board is heading in "the right direction" by seeking the parliamentarian. Minutes from an Oct. 23 meeting show Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson stated she apologized in a telephone call to Kalkounos for remarks she made to him at a September session.
"A parliamentarian, I think, will serve as an asset to the board," Kalkounos said.
Langlotz-Johnson said the policy would require the parliamentarian to come from outside Palatine Township in an effort to prevent any conflicts of interest. Officials also have said the township should pay $50 to the parliamentarian for each regular and nonvoting committee meeting worked.
However, Trustee Susan Kern questioned whether the parliamentarian needs to be from outside the township.
"This parliamentarian is not going to be in any way affiliated with a political organization," Kern said. "Therefore, there is no reason to restrict it to outside the township, which will restrict our ability to retain somebody, because nobody is going to drive long distances to be paid $50 to come to a board meeting."
In addition to being masters of the commonly used Robert's Rules of Order and other methods to ensure well-run meetings, a parliamentarian is expected to make sure board members keep their comments on a current issue and prevent crosstalk.
While uncommon at suburban governments, parliamentarians are frequently used for larger legislative bodies, such as the U.S. House of Representatives.