A parliamentarian is an expert on parliamentary procedure who advises organizations and deliberative assemblies. This sense of the term "parliamentarian" is distinct from the usage of the same term to mean a member of Parliament.
Some parliamentarians are officers or employees of the deliberative assembly that they serve, as in the case of the Parliamentarian of the United States Senate. In most state legislative bodies, the secretary or chief clerk of the body serves as parliamentarian.
In some organizations, a member of the organization may be appointed as the parliamentarian. Other parliamentarians have a contractual relationship, much like outside attorneys or accountants.
Generally, the parliamentarian's role is purely advisory. At meetings, the parliamentarian should unobtrusively call the attention of the presiding officer to serious errors in procedure. However, the advice of a parliamentarian is generally not binding on the presiding officer of an assembly.
If the parliamentarian is a member of the assembly, that person has the same rights as other members, but should not exercise those rights to maintain impartiality, similar to the impartiality that is required of the chairman. In other words, the parliamentarian should not be making motions, speaking in debate, or voting.
The highest certifications of parliamentarians are the Professional Registered Parliamentarian, or PRP (issued by the National Association of Parliamentarians) and the Certified Professional Parliamentarian, or CPP, or the Certified Professional Parliamentarian Teacher, or CPP-T (both issued by the American Institute of Parliamentarians).
Chief Clerk - A nonpartisan, nonmember officer of the Assembly elected by the majority of the membership at the start of each two-year session as its legislative officer and parliamentarian.