Declare the chair vacant

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The motion to declare the chair vacant is a disciplinary procedure used as a remedy to misconduct or dereliction of duty by the chair of a deliberative assembly, when the rules allow it. It is usually combined with a motion to elect a new chair.

Explanation and Use[edit]

Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised allows this motion to be used if the offending occupant of the chair is not the regular presiding officer of a society, in which case it is a question of privilege affecting the assembly. Otherwise, the proper action is to rescind the election of the officer.[1] Demeter's Manual states that the procedure is to either bring charges against him for neglect of duty as presiding officer or abolish his term of office by amending the bylaws with due notice to all members; either of these methods requires a two-thirds vote.[2] Mason's Manual provides, "A presiding officer who has been elected by the house may be removed by the house upon a majority vote of all the members elected, and a new presiding officer pro tempore elected and qualified. When there is no fixed term of office, an officer holds office at the pleasure of the body, or until a successor is elected and qualified."[3]


An attempt was made to depose Joseph Gurney Cannon as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1910 using this motion.[4] A similar motion was introduced in the Texas legislature to remove Tom Craddick.[5][6]


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2000). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed., p. 642
  2. ^ Demeter, George (1969). Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure, Blue Book, p. 264
  3. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures (2000). Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, 2000 ed., p. 423
  4. ^ "CANNON LASHES HIS FOES.; Pours Out Bitterness at Dinner After the Fight". The New York Times. 1910-03-21. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  5. ^ Power Derived, Power Assumed | The Texas Blue
  6. ^ Ken Zornes: They Forgot the Alamo! | Texas Weekly