Reflections From the Parlimentarian

Written by: Beverly Przybylski, National Parliamentarian
February 4, 2019

At the beginning of this Administration I asked each of the Executive Officers and National Parliamentarian to write a blog post to introduce themselves to the membership and share a bit about what their role would be. As we are nearing the end of the Administration, I’ve asked them to reflect on their favorite experiences and memories over the past three years. First up will be the National Parliamentarian Beverly Przybylski. I hope you enjoy hearing their stories!

- President General Ann Dillon

When I introduced myself in the 2016 blog, I described how I saw the role of the National Parliamentarian as one who provides the best advice and possible solutions to real-life and sometimes very complex issues while protecting the rights of the members and the rights of the group. I believe a parliamentarian should also be an educator in parliamentary procedure. As I reflect back over the almost three years of the Dillon Administration, I feel that I’ve accomplished both of those goals.

Whether the question or problem arrives by email, by phone call, by mail, or in person, a common thread is that the leader or member has exhausted all other resources, including working with the state parliamentarian and state regent. Many times, it is those two officers who reach out. Regardless of who does the asking, I’m very glad that they are comfortable about approaching me and that in addition to receiving possible options, they know that confidentiality will be maintained.

Of course, not everything is problem-driven. Most of my work for the executive officers is routine, such as wording motions, determining when certain motions need to be presented and which ones go to the National Board of Management or Continental Congress. I also review meeting scripts and possible motion scenarios, and some of my work overlaps or is in conjunction with work performed by other executive officers and/or national chairs, so we work together and coordinate.

While I truly enjoy untangling parliamentary problems, what I really love is teaching members in the proper use of parliamentary procedure. I’ve taken two approaches to accomplish this. The first is by writing a monthly article on parliamentary procedure that I call a Parli Point. All monthly Parli Points are available on the National Parliamentarian’s website. The other approach has been to provide training, mostly in the form of scripted skits, to the National Board of Management and, at the invitation of state regents, at a few state conferences and spring/fall meetings.  I believe that members who use parliamentary procedure correctly will have more rewarding, more efficient, more respectful meetings that are better attended, and at which more is accomplished in less time.

Naturally these three years haven’t been all work and no play. I feel extremely fortunate that I have been included in so many activities, such as the annual wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington and Mount Vernon, visiting the Museum of the American Revolution, washing the Vietnam wall, attending the Christmas Open House, watching first-hand the progress to our buildings (e.g. the renovated stage, DAR museum, C.A.R. hall and entry area), and attending the annual gala event of The Life Guard Society at Mount Vernon, to name just a few of the many opportunities.

Sometimes when I’m asked what a parliamentarian does I explain that a parliamentarian keeps the ship from listing and helps to navigate it through uncharted waters. These three years have been happy sailing as we move forward.

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