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Guest Garrett

Motion to approve minutes

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Guest Garrett

How does the chair respond to a member making a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting before the chair accepts the minutes as presented/ corrected?

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Well, the chair doesn't exactly accept the minutes.  More precisely, when the minutes are up  for the approval, the chair asks if there are any corrections.  After any corrections have been made and no more corrections are being offered, the chair declares the minutes approved.  Here is the procedure set out on pages 354-355 in RONR:

 

"A formal motion to approve the minutes is not necessary, although such a motion is not out of order. After the minutes have been read (or after their reading has been omitted by unanimous consent as described in the previous paragraph), and whether or not a motion for approval has been offered, the chair asks, "Are there any corrections to the minutes?" and pauses. Corrections, when proposed, are usually handled by unanimous consent (pp. 54–56), but if any member objects to a proposed correction—which is, in effect, a subsidiary motion to Amend—the usual rules governing consideration of amendments to a main motion are applicable (see 12).

After any proposed corrections have been disposed of, and when there is no response to the chair's inquiry, "Are [page 355] there any corrections [or "further corrections"] to the minutes?" the chair says, "There being no corrections [or "no further corrections"] to the minutes, the minutes stand [or "are"] approved [or "approved as read," or "approved as corrected"]."  The minutes are thus approved without any formal vote, even if a motion for their approval has been made. The only proper way to object to the approval of the secretary's draft of the minutes is to offer a correction to it. It should be noted that a member's absence from the meeting for which minutes are being approved does not prevent the member from participating in their correction or approval."

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And if an eager member blurts out "I move to approve the minutes!" before the chair gets a chance to say that the minutes are approved as corrected?  (I took it that was the OP's question, and have seen it happen fairly often)

 

As Mr Brown notes, such a motion would not be out of order, even though it's not needed.  I believe the chair should just continue as RONR prescribes, and maybe take it as an opportunity to do some helpful instruction on the proper procedure. (briefly, of course)

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If a member makes a formal motion to approve the minutes as read, the chair should briefly explain the proper procedure and proceed as he would without such a motion. In any case, the question whether the minutes are approved as read or amended, as the case may be, is not put to a vote; rather, the chair announces the approval after all motions to amend them have been disposed of.

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