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Disputing approved minutes


Guest Rina
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We have the following situation:

 

Minutes of a meeting was approved by the Chair and Secretary only without getting approval from the meeting members due to false statements, putting some of the meeting members in a very bad light.

 

The minutes was disputed by 3 members and a request for amendments was issued in written format to the Chair. Various verbal requests for amanedments in subsequent meetings were also tabled. Every request was waved as "timing not appropriate, waste of time, unecessary complaining, etc."

 

The topic was escalated to another forum and again the complainants face the same resistance for the amendments to be investigated.

 

What is the suggested way forward? Should the members seek legal advise?

 

I will appreciate your advise.

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You're dealing with self-inflicted wounds here.  If you only put into the minutes what Robert's Rules says to put in the minutes your problems will miraculously dissapear.  See p. 146ff in RONR In Brief, or for the big book version, RONR (11th ed.), p. 468ff  Putting statements into the minutes is the first thing that needs to go, then your presiding officer is the second thing that needs to go.

 

Someone who likes to type a lot can finish the rest. 

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We have the following situation:

 

Minutes of a meeting was approved by the Chair and Secretary only without getting approval from the meeting members due to false statements, putting some of the meeting members in a very bad light.

 

The minutes was disputed by 3 members and a request for amendments was issued in written format to the Chair. Various verbal requests for amanedments in subsequent meetings were also tabled. Every request was waved as "timing not appropriate, waste of time, unecessary complaining, etc."

 

The topic was escalated to another forum and again the complainants face the same resistance for the amendments to be investigated.

 

What is the suggested way forward? Should the members seek legal advise?

 

I will appreciate your advise.

The Chair and Secretary do not (and should not) approve minutes. Members approve the minutes. In addition (as another post says) to getting rid of things that do not belong in the minutes, the process should be to accept "corrections" from  members at the meeting. When all "corrections" are accepted, the minutes are approved.

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What is the suggested way forward?

 

I recommend looking at FAQ #16. It is possible to amend the minutes after they have been approved. Also, Appeal from the chair's decision the next time he rules a correction to the minutes out of order based on "timing not appropriate, waste of time, unecessary complaining, etc." Additionally, neither the motion to Lay on the Table or the motion to Postpone to a Certain Time (which is the motion you really want - see FAQ #12) may not be applied to a subsidiary motion (such as a correction) alone, although the approval of the minutes overall could be postponed. Both of these motions also require a majority vote - the chair can't declare a motion "tabled" or postponed on his own.

 

I also concur with Mr. Mervosh that the most important thing is to stop putting too much information in the minutes. The minutes are a record of what was done, not what was said. If your chair and secretary refuse to accept that, replace them. See FAQ #20.

 

Should the members seek legal advise?

 

Legal advice tends to be expensive, so I'd make sure to try all parliamentary options first.

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Several years ago, our local, neighborhood Civic Association (meets quarterly) had a very contentious issue come up at a meeting. At the next meeting, when the draft minutes were distributed for approval, similar "out of control" things happened regarding the approval of the minutes. The minutes' version of motions made and the results of one or two motions were disputed by one member. The problem was that this member strongly and adamantly contended that the minutes were wrong, BUT she could not offer a correction that would say what was the correct version. BIG MESS. During this, I was unable to offer and have accepted the proper way to handle this. After the meeting, in emails and discussion(s) with the Chair and Vice-Chair, as well as suggesting getting a copy of RONRIB and RONR, I was able to educate them on the proper way to handle the approval of the minutes.

 

One "key" to properly handling minutes' approval is that it is not an option to just "disapprove" the minutes; a member must offer a correction.

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  • 7 years later...
16 minutes ago, Guest Helen said:

What if the correction is disputed?

Such disputes would be settled by vote. If a correction to the minutes is offered when the minutes are pending for approval, a majority vote is required for adoption. If a correction to the minutes is offered for minutes which have already been approved, then adopting the correction requires a 2/3 vote, a vote of a majority of the entire membership, or a majority vote with previous notice, since this is a particular application of a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted.

If you have further questions on this subject, I suggest posting a new topic.

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I am a heretic who strongly does not agree with the skeletor minutes outline in RONR and I don't follow it (and our special rules are now amended to direct certain other things to be included).  However, even in groups where more is put in, there should never be editorializing or the personal opinions of the Secretary.

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