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Minutes of a meeting


Guest Leona

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Two questions:

1) I have always been taught that minutes taken must be approved at the next meeting. At an AGM where we meet only once a year we request that the minutes be "accepted as heard" so that we can carry out the business for the year and ask if everyone is in favour and duly note same in minutes.

At the next AGM these minutes are "approved" - this makes them an official record. If a member has a comment or challenge it can still be dealt with before final approval.

We had been challenged when we carried out business before minutes were approved and now we are being challenged again by a member saying that we are doing is illegal - we can't ask for acceptance as heard.

Can anyone advise the legality?

2) Also another question... recently a member stated that they recommend that we not accept the item as presented. We were challenged in that one cannot make a "negative motion". I had never heard of this.

Any help is appreciated.

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Can anyone advise the legality?

No one here will give you legal advice, so we don't speak to what is or is not legal. We can explain how we think your questions would be answered using the guidance in RONR. Let me attempt to do that here.

1) I have always been taught that minutes taken must be approved at the next meeting. At an AGM where we meet only once a year we request that the minutes be "accepted as heard" so that we can carry out the business for the year and ask if everyone is in favour and duly note same in minutes.

At the next AGM these minutes are "approved" - this makes them an official record. If a member has a comment or challenge it can still be dealt with before final approval.

We had been challenged when we carried out business before minutes were approved and now we are being challenged again by a member saying that we are doing is illegal - we can't ask for acceptance as heard.

Minutes do not need to be approved before any adopted motion is implemented. The decision of the assembly is made when the motion is adopted. The minutes are simply the record of what happened for the long-term memory of the organization. It is appropriate for the officers, board or other authorized members to carry out the motions right away. Indeed, they may be neglecting their duty if they do not.

I've never heard of a motion to "accept as heard" the minutes that haven't even been written yet. As I just noted, it's not necessary. The tasks to implement the assembly's decisions should be done, even before the minutes have been approved.

If you have only annual meetings, your organization should not wait an entire year to approve the minutes from the last annual meeting. Who can possibly remember the details of those minutes to ensure that they are accurate? Instead, the assembly should authorize the board or a standing committee to approve the minutes or appoint a special committee to do so.

2) Also another question... recently a member stated that they recommend that we not accept the item as presented. We were challenged in that one cannot make a "negative motion". I had never heard of this.

Any help is appreciated.

A motion is not in order if its effect would be the same as doing nothing at all, and that's what this motion sounds like. In addition, even motions that propose some action but state it in a negative way, while not out of order, are confusing to the members as to the effect of their votes.

For a motion "that we not accept the item as presented," which should be ruled out of order, examples of better motions could be "that we reject the item" or "that we return the item with a letter explaining our rejection."

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If you have only annual meetings, your organization should not wait an entire year to approve the minutes from the last annual meeting. Who can possibly remember the details of those minutes to ensure that they are accurate? Instead, the assembly should authorize the board or a standing committee to approve the minutes or appoint a special committee to do so.

Also, if RONR applies, the only way to ligitimately object to the content of "approved minutes," would be to offer a motion to "Amend Something Previously Adopted."

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