An ex officio member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ex officio 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. Accordingly, the rights of an ex officio member are exactly the same as other members unless otherwise stated in regulations or bylaws. In some groups ex officio members may frequently abstain from voting.
Any ex officio membership (for example, of committees, or of the board) is 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.
The Prime Minister of India is ex officio Chairman of NITI Aayog. Other ex officio members of NITI Aayog are the Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of Railways and the Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.
In the House of Lords, the bishops of the five Great Sees of Canterbury, York, London, Durham and Winchester, and the 21 next most senior bishops of the Church of England, are ex officio members, and are entitled to vote just as any other member.
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).
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.
In most Colorado counties, the county sheriff is elected by the citizens of the county. However, in the City and County of Denver, the mayor of Denver appoints a "Manager of Safety" who oversees the Department of Safety (including the Fire, Police, and Sheriff Departments) and is the ex officio sheriff of the jurisdiction. Similarly, in the City and County of Broomfield, Colorado, near Denver, the police chief (an appointed position) also acts ex officio as the county sheriff.
The Speaker of the New York City Council, and its Majority and Minority Leaders, are all ex officio members of each of its committees. Furthermore, each member of the Council is a non-voting ex officio member of each community board whose boundaries include any of the council member's constituents.