Ex officio member
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.
A common misconception is that the participatory rights of ex officio members are limited by their status but an ex officio member's power is only limited by law and, if there is no law stating this, there are no limits to their power. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised 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 board or committee, not a class of membership. Ex officio members will frequently abstain from voting; however, unless the bylaws constrain their rights, they are afforded the same rights as other members (e.g., debating, making formal motions, and voting).
For profit and nonprofit use
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.
As of 2007[update], 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
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.
The Italian Senate has former presidents of the Republic, and some appointees by the President, as ex officio members.
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.
Ex officio members who may never vote
Ex officio members who sometimes may vote
The U.S. 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.
- Robert, Henry M. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., p. 483-484 (RONR)
- "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 2)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association.
- Chapter III Central Organizations of the Party Article 22