Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mind Your Latin Phrases

The Register-Star reports today that Board of Supervisors chair Pat Grattan cast the deciding vote on a resolution that could result in the sale of the county nursing home: "Committee narrowly OKs Pine Haven RFP." According to the article, "Grattan said Thursday that he is an 'ad hoc member' of every committee as chairman of the board." Let's hope Grattan meant to say he was an ex officio member of every committee--that is, a member by virtue of his position as chair. Ad hoc has the meaning "done for a particular purpose only," which could suggest that Grattan becomes of a member of every committee for a specific purpose--in this case, to ensure the success of the resolution.


  1. If you look closely enough at Hudson's government - and probably at the county too - there's an 'ad hoc' element in a great deal of governance here.

    An old Hudson friend calls it Hudson's "discretionary anarchy."

    In the worst cases, the safeguards of public notice and public involvement are easily circumvented in conversations behind closed doors.

    In the past, mayors have assumed an authority that wasn't theirs, but for this or that purpose only. In those cases it was the usually pliable council that was circumvented.

    If you live in Hudson, the definition of "ad hoc" should be "what you do when the rules get in the way." It's practically a local tradition.

  2. It's my understanding that ex officio members of a committee or board are nonvoting members. I do think Pat Grattan meant ad hoc.

    1. Here's what Wikipedia says on the subject:

      A common misconception is that the participatory rights of ex officio members are limited by their status. This is incorrect, although their rights may be indeed limited by the by-laws of a particular body. Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised (10th ed.), clarifies that the term denotes only how one becomes a member of a group, not what one's rights are. It is a method of sitting on a committee, not a class of membership (466-67) . . . unless by-laws constrain their rights, they are afforded the same rights as other members, including debate, making formal motions, and voting (466-67; 480).