Ex officio member

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An ex officio member is a member of a body (a board, committee, council, etc.) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term is Latin, meaning literally "from the office", and the sense intended is "by right of office"; its use dates back to the Roman Republic.

According to Robert's Rules of Order, the term denotes only how one becomes a member of a body.[1] Participatory rights of ex officio members may or may not be limited by the body's regulations or bylaws. In some groups ex officio members may frequently abstain from voting. Unless regulations or bylaws constrain their rights, however, they are afforded the same rights as other members of the body, e.g., proposing motions, and voting.[2]

For profit and nonprofit use[edit]

Any ex officio membership (for example, of committees, or of the board) will be as defined by the nonprofit association's bylaws or other documents of authority. For example, the bylaws quite often provide that the organization's president will be ex officio a member of all committees, except the nominating committee.

Governmental Examples[edit]

Mainland China[edit]

According to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, the General Secretary of the Central Committee must be a member of Politburo Standing Committee.[3]

Hong Kong[edit]

As of 2007, the Executive Council of Hong Kong is still composed of ex officio members (official members since 1997) and unofficial members (non-official members since 1997). By practice the ex officio members include the secretaries of departments, i.e. the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Justice. Since 2002 all secretaries of bureaux are also appointed by the Chief Executive to be official members of the Executive Council. But since 2005 the secretaries of bureaux attend only when items on the agenda concern their portfolios.

New York City[edit]

The Speaker of the Council, and its Majority and Minority Leaders are all ex officio members of each of its committees.


The Manager of Safety in the City & County of Denver is the Ex Officio Sheriff of the jurisdiction. The manager is appointed by the mayor of Denver and oversees the Department of Safety which includes the Fire, Police and Sheriff Departments. Other Colorado sheriffs are elected by the citizens of the county. The City & County of Broomfield, Colorado also has an Ex Officio Sheriff who is the appointed police chief. As the ex officio sheriff, the official is charged with performing the duties of a sheriff per Colorado law.

United Kingdom[edit]

House of Lords[edit]

In the House of Lords, 26 senior bishops of the Anglican church are ex officio members, and are entitled to vote just as any other member.

Supreme Courts of Scotland[edit]

The Lord President of the Court of Session is by virtue of office appointed as Lord Justice General of Scotland. As such, he is both head of the judiciary of Scotland, president of the Court of Session (the most senior civil court in Scotland), and president of the High Court of Justiciary (the most senior criminal court in Scotland.)

United States[edit]

Ex officio members who may never vote[edit]

Each member of the city council of New York City is a non-voting ex officio member of each Community Board whose boundaries include some of the council member's constituents.

Ex officio members who sometimes may vote[edit]

The United States Vice President, who also serves as President of the Senate, may vote in the Senate on matters decided by a majority vote (as opposed to a three-fifths vote or two-thirds vote), if the votes for passage and rejection are equal.


  1. ^ Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 483-484 (RONR)
  2. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 2)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Archived from the original on 2004-11-12. 
  3. ^ Chapter III Central Organizations of the Party Article 22