On ACAC’s Rules of Order

    Part of a story about the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee’s Nov. 14 meeting was inadvertently omitted from last week’s Star.
    Before the arrival of Councilman Dominic Stanzione, the advisory committee’s town board liaison, Bill Di Scipio (William J. Di Scipio, Ph.D.), the group’s secretary, launched into a presentation of what he called “a system to enhance the workings and prestige of the committee.”
    Dr. Di Scipio had clearly put a lot of time and toil into his speech, which was accompanied by slides and charts. He was hoping for the committee to adopt a long list of procedures he had drawn up, along the lines of Robert’s Rules of Order, dealing with and defining “ordinary motions” (to adjourn, to recess, to amend, etc.) and “special motions” (point of order, to appeal, to rescind, etc.). His 20-minute discourse had a few in the audience of about 30 muttering, though most listened politely.
    “We are not just advisers,” Dr. Di Scipio maintained at one point. “We are a professional committee.”
    After Mr. Stanzione spoke, as reported last week, about more parking in the hamlet and deer fencing at East Hampton Airport, Dr. Di Scipio stood up to continue his spiel, though this time there was scattered vocal opposition.
    “We don’t need these hard-and-fast rules,” said Tom Field. “They limit discussion. The chairman takes care of it.”
    “We have 34 [committee members] with different ideas,” Dr. Di Scipio responded. “I don’t want to put all the power in the chairman’s position.”
    “No one does this,” protested Sheila Okin. “If we have all these rules we’ll never get anything done. We’re all here for the same reasons — we’re here for Amagansett.”
    Dr. Di Scipio pressed valiantly on. “There has to be a quorum,” he said. “And this brings in the issue of proxies. The federal government and the state government —” But here, the muted groans became more audible.
    “Part of your right to vote is your punishment to be here,” said Joan Tulp. “I am absolutely against proxies.”
    “I’d like to make a motion that everyone in favor of proxies raise their hand,” said Elaine Miller.
    “I move to rescind that motion,” said Dr. Di Scipio.
    “He hasn’t got a second for that,” Mr. Field observed, and Kent Miller, the chairman of the committee, declared the meeting over.
    “Okay,” said Dr. Di Scipio. “I’ll still be your secretary.”