Can approval of Minutes be postponed?

secsteveJuly 25, 2012

I hope someone here can answer that question.

I'm currently President of an organization and we had a flap come up over the way the secretary takes minutes. Quite frankly I think he's doing an outstanding job.

One member never reads the minutes when they are sent out for correction and then pitches a fit later because "That's not what I said..." etc.

We're having a meeting on Saturday and these minutes are rather long. I know this member is going to object (or hopefully vote no and save a discussion)to them and another member suggested postponing approving them.

I've done a lot of research on line but can't find anything about postponing approving them and frankly, I don't think it's a good idea.


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It depends on what rules your group follows? If it is not specified I guess you can table anything until a later date..even the minutes. I mean just imagine the minutes were lost or the person who had them was delayed and couldn't get to the would just postpone or table that part of your meeting till the minutes were ready.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:30PM
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We publish ours in a newsletter and on the website and then just ask for approval as they are shown. I don't know the answer to your question but I suspect that it needs to be handled right then.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Read Item 7 Agenda at the link below. Robert's Rules of Order.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rules of Order

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:34PM
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I serve on a Board and here is how we do it. Secretary takes the minutes and then emails them out to the members, asking for additions or corrections. She makes changes if anyone has any and then emails them again. At the next meeting, the president asks for approval of the minutes. This is another chance for anyone to make corrections. Once everyone is satisfied, we vote to approve the minutes. No changes after that point.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Sally Brownlee

After minutes are read, I believe you are only required to ask "are there are any objections to the reading of the minutes? Hearing none, they are approved."

Once the minutes are approved, you must file a motion to amend...which requires majority consent or even the whole organization if thats the way it is collectively decided.
If he is objecting before they are approved then he should have the opportunity to have corrected immediately.

BUT, I am no way an expert...just leftover HS FFA and a volunteer rescue organization. (FFA drilled and competed in PP!)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:42PM
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dedtired that is what we do also. Problem is some board members don't read the minutes, come to the meeting, we ask for approval, everyone votes and they are approved. It's only later that I get this nonsense of "I ...." and have problems.

From what I've been able to find out on the web, I don't think we can postpone approving them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:52PM
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In regards to corrections and such one source on says that minutes should not cover what was said by everyone but rather what was done. Here is the quote
Question 15:
Isn't it necessary to summarize matters discussed at a meeting in the minutes of that meeting in order for the minutes to be complete?

Not only is it not necessary to summarize matters discussed at a meeting in the minutes of that meeting, it is improper to do so. Minutes are a record of what was done at a meeting, not a record of what was said. [RONR (11th ed.), p. 468, ll. 16-18; see also p. 146 of RONRIB.]

So maybe the minutes are getting too detailed.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:04PM
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I was recording secretary for several organizations and had a similar issue with a couple of board members who would approve, then disapprove after the approval passed. Frustrating as all heck. According to our Bylaws the reading of the minutes could not be postponed. I asked to be put on the agenda at our meeting to discuss the approval/non approval issue. The two board members sat stone faced and never spoke up. After that they never complained.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:16PM
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Also, recording the meeting (a digital recorder is good) eliminates the "That's not what I said" issue.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:26PM
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secsteve, I recommend a tape recorder to be turned on when "that" person speaks.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Eons ago, I took a college course in Parliamentary Procedure, and then I taught the subject matter too. I have observed over the years that the problems develop when the minutes are written with too much information. Camp56s info sheet on minutes content is perfect. Nothing more. Then the arguments don't happen. And corrections to the minutes are made, not additons.

Moreover, the minutes are not so long that people refuse to read them and argue about them later.

Minutes are the record of the the business of the meeting. If ever you are sued, they go to court to back up the actions of the organization. The opening sentence of the minutes contain all the information about time, place, presiding officer, name of organization, and type of meeting (committee, general meeting, executive board, etc.).Any motion is written exactly as moved by the originator of the motion and that person is named--Henry Smith moved that the membership research the possibility of our group marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade for 2013. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

You have received some good advice from our members here.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Thanks everyone for your input.

Even before it was mentioned, I thought of using a tape recorder in order to prevent this from happening again.

It's not that our minutes are all that detailed except where necessary for clarification of an issue.

ruthieg tx you mentioned publishing your minutes on your web site. That's what caused the flap. In the minutes, a motion that had been made, was written incorrectly and a member give a board member a dressing down for that. This is the board member I was speaking about who never reads the minutes, votes to approve them and then causes problems later. This isn't the first time this has happened with him. I was against posting the minutes in the first place, but the immediate past president and the former president pushed the issue.

I'm at the point where I'm ready to resign, and I know two other board members have told me they're about ready to resign also.

What fun.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:48PM
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I like to advise that the recording secretary sit next to the president during meetings. That way, if the secretary needs a motion repeated from the originator of the motion or needs help knowing someone's name, the president is aware and can help immediately to prevent problems with minutes.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:23PM
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I agree with OP, it is "fun" doing a job and then get criticized when you do it. I assume this is a volunteer, or no paid job. I have given up two secretaries jobs recently not so much what I wrote, but the so call disagreements how they wanted the notes takes. I am not a trained person, but did enjoy doing it--for awhile. My only suggestion, is to do the best you can, review the rules, have a board meeting opened to the public (members), but restrict comments until after the discussion. Insist all board members be present, or they are off the board. As to posting the minutes on line etc, keep them simple, short and only write what exactly happened, motions etc but put discussion followed etc. If the former presidents say anything, just gently remind them YOU are the president, and it is YOUR decision--etc.
Yep, been there and done that.
I wish you the best and keep us informed.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Wellllll, keep in mind that the president merely facilitates the meeting. The bylaws guide the organization, and usually bylaws to refer to Robert's Rules as the guiding parliamentary authority. Steve, the minutes ought to be straightforward, brief and without interpretation. If a motion needs to be amended to meet the requirements of the group, then during the discussion of the motion, amendments ought to be made to any clarification or limitation.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:01PM
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