Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Point of order 

The tattoo artist at the podium at the July 10 City Council meeting had been speaking for all of two minutes when Mayor Hood felt compelled to clarify the city's position on tattoo shops. She wanted to say she didn't think people with tattoos were bad people. "I don't mean to interrupt you," she said, then argued with the artist for several more minutes.

But the mayor was out of line. Who says? Robert's Rules of Order, the 124-year-old guide to parliamentary procedure that most boards use to govern their conduct. Had Hood read chapter four, she would have known that being chairwoman didn't allow her to talk while the artist had the floor. "Although the presiding officer should give close attention to each speaker's remarks during debate, he cannot interrupt the person who has the floor so long as that person does not violate any of the assembly's rules and no disorder arises," the Rules state.

Those rules are very limited. Had the tattoo artist drifted off the subject of tattoos, for example, the mayor (or any other member of the forum) could have shouted "point of order" and brought the speaker back to the subject.

The faux pas wasn't Hood's first. She and Commissioner Daisy Lynum consistently interrupt speakers, some of whom engage in personal attacks. Of course, personal attacks are also against Robert's Rules. As Henry Martyn Robert wrote a century ago, speakers should maintain a courteous, formal tone, address only the presiding officer and "must never attack or make any allusion to the motives of members."

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation