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Please help. We have a board president of a small HOA board who does not understand nor will she follow Roberts Rules of Order despite our state laws requiring board meetings must be conducted in compliance with RRO.  The most recent issue is the board Secretary issues the draft meeting minutes to the board for pre-meeting reading and to gather any corrections before the final draft is included in the board's meeting package for approval of the minutes.  The problem is the Secretary's meeting minutes have been completely rewritten by the President especially regarding an incident that the president was personally handling.  Other board members sent in changes for corrections but did not rewrite the minutes.  

Question: Does the president have the power to change the Secretary's minutes without any notice or rationale to the Secretary?  Doesn't the Secretary "own" the minutes content since she has to sign off that the meeting minutes approved are indeed correct?

If anyone can point me to where it is in RRO specifically that the President is not permitted to do this it would greatly help! Need to know the difference between the President approving the draft minutes and the President completely rewriting her own version. Thanks!

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Thank you potzbie for responding. I don't think I made my situation very clear. I hear what you're saying that anyone may submit changes to the minutes for the secretary to accept or reject in finalizing her draft of the minutes to be approved at the board meeting itself. That is quite clear. Here's the problem we're experiencing...

The secretary sent out draft minutes a month ago. Several board members sent their minor changes in - myself included. Today, one day before theboard meeting our board members receive a 75-page pre-meeting packet from our property manager company to review before the meeting tomorrow night. In reviewing it I see the minutes are completely changed but not for the better.  I check with the secretary and asked if the draft minutes we received today was her version after all changes were sent in. Turns out she did not write this newer version. THe president did and included it in the packet for us to respond to which will likely cause a small implosion.  So my question for you is A) does the president have the authority to change the minutes and distribute them for approval or is this president usurping the Secretary's role/domain/rights?  This president is re-writing history so to speak to malign a board member.  We'd like to avoid the potential war. (B ) should the secretary protest the president's actions and bring her own original minutes with which ever changes she accepted from the board members and present that version instead?

Lastly related to this, a buddy board member of thepresident has sent an email statying he will object to another board member's changes to the draft minutes (he was copied on those revisions). Are you allowed to object to minutes content just because yo don't like them without providing a reason why? I thought RRON required the objector to provide an actual correction to the minutes to replace others' content.  

Sorry for all the questions but its a messy problem.

 

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The identity of people who may or may not have "edited" the minutes before they were presented for approval is not relevant. If the minutes are in some way disagreeable or undesirable, a member should move to correct them when their approval is pending. Such a correction could include substituting the Secretary's original draft, so yes it would be worthwhile bringing that along.

As you have already alluded to, merely objecting to the minutes is not in order. Opposing an amendment that is proposed during the meeting is perfectly fine, and a majority vote will decide whether the amendment goes in or not.

I suspect the minutes may also contain a lot of extraneous information which should be removed. But that's just my parliamentary spidey sense.

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5 hours ago, Guest Ceva said:

(A.) does the president have the authority to change the minutes and distribute them for approval or is this president usurping the Secretary's role/domain/rights?

(B.) should the secretary protest the president's actions and bring her own original minutes with whichever changes she accepted from the board members and present that version instead?

(C.) Are you allowed to object to minutes content just because yo don't like them without providing a reason why? I thought RRON required the objector to provide an actual correction to the minutes to replace others' content.  

 

A. No. There is nothing in Robert's Rules of Order which suggests that such a practice is in any way expected or standard.

B. Yes, the secretary MUST bring the properly drafted minutes, so that those minutes may be adopted in lieu of the pre-packaged draft minutes. Consider the pre-packaged draft minutes an error. Consider the Secretary's version as the authentic draft minutes.

C. Neither. -- You don't object to minutes content. You are not obligated to provide a "why" reason. -- You just amend the minutes -- i.e., you make a motion to add, or to strike-out, whatever text. You don't make a fuss. It's just business.

It isn't the time to grand-stand and hold a parade.

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When it was said above that people can submit changes to the minutes, we didn't just mean for the Secretary to accept or reject.  If a change is not incorporated into the draft presented at the meeting, you can amend it there, by a majority vote, to include your correction.  No individual has final say on what goes into the minutes, whether Secretary or President.

Tell the Secretary to stop including commentary or discussion in the minutes, and to limit them to what actions were taken.  Why do I say that?  Because the minutes were changed "especially regarding an incident the President was personally handling."  It is unlikely that this means business related to that "incident."  More likely, commentary is being included, and should not be included.  If you can fix that, then the President won't have nearly as much with which to play around.

As for a citation saying that the President cannot rewrite the minutes, you won't find that.  Similarly, you won't find a citation saying that the Secretary cannot light the podium on fire - but, to be clear, the Secretary shouldn't do that.  The President can write whatever they want, as can anyone else.  The point is what comes up for adoption.  If it's the President's version, just substitute the Secretary's version - but I see no reason the President's version should come up.  If the Secretary's draft comes up for adoption, the President can seek to substitute their version.  So, you see, it's perfectly allowable to write your own version of the minutes.

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It is the duty of the secretary to prepare a draft of the minutes of each meeting of the board, and it is this draft, and no one else's, that is presented to the board for its approval at its next meeting.

I suggest a careful reading of what is said on pages 468-473 of RONR (11th ed.) regarding content of the minutes, and on pages 354-355 concerning their adoption. It's a total of only 8 pages, but it appears that virtually no one in this organization has read them. 

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And remember that it is the assembly which determines what corrections go into the minutes.  

It may be your practice that members can offer suggestions for changes before the draft is presented, and in that case, the secretary is free to accept or reject them (even if they originate with the president).

 But once the draft is presented at a meeting, it is the board as a whole, not any single individual, that determines what the minutes should say.  The board offers corrections, not suggestions, and if a majority agree, that is what goes in the minutes, the opinions of the president and secretary notwithstanding.

Failure to include the secretary's draft in the packet is probably good cause for reprimand of the president or other responsible party, if gentle suggestions fail.  The board has the right to insist that the rules be followed, and it is the duty of the president to take care that they are.

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Thank you all for these detailed explanations. Here's what went down at the board meeting last night:

- upon arrival our board secretary immediately handed each board member a hard copy of her draft meeting minutes to be read and approved shortly.

- the president began to argue that her minutes were another version up for consideration and that the board should vote on which minutes to use. Because our board is divided into two unhappy camps, the president has three others who vote her way (they live side by side), she knows her version would have won any vote.

- I had prepared for that, used your insights and got my ducks in order with RRONR specific citations and shared those with the secretary for her own use should she choose to object to the president's underhanded methods.

- the HOA attorney our president has insisted must attend every meeting tried to side with the president but gave up when told the according to RRONR the president was out of order. The secretary's entrusted to capture the draft minutes and only she can submit them to the board for consideration at the next board meeting to be approved. The president was obviously annoyed and refused to answer when asked in front of homeowners did she submit them? The secretary confirmed the minutes in our packets were not submitted by the secretary so it was obvious to all the president had done so. I stated then the packet minutes are invalid and the secretary's minutes are the authentic ones that we are to use. The president remarked my changes (submitted to the secretary and to all board members back during the feedback dates) were included but not hers. Some of her wording was incorporated were but she hadn't read enough yet to recognize it.  The difference between the two versions of minutes is that the president did not like being portrayed as telling people what to do and not permitting debate which is why we have a divided board. OHHHH and did I mention this president called the police on another board member for recording a meeting openly (not to intimidate as the camera was on the table next to her)  for personal safety purposes (trust me its a long story but the recording woman had been menaced twice by a guy on the board and she had asked her husband to start attending meetings with her just in case.)

- The president wants to take the minutes debate into closed session. I object and state it is not a closed session topic requiring privacy per our bylaws. We continue to go at it calmly but tersely.  Homeowners are riled up to learn this craziness is happening and some begin shouting at me (?) that I'm "the problem" because I am insisting we follow proper parliamentary procedure and am disagreeing with the (tyrant) president publicly. Some are just sitting there with their mouths open to learn the police were called at all and then to find out that one male board member has gotten aggressive with the recording woman. Of course he denies it but theres proof of the incident when another woman took him to task in an email to the board for his "purile" behavior towards her and the recording woman shortly after the second incident.)


- This guy (the menacer) who always backs the president started to balk and object line by line to having the police incident include any information as to what led to the incident - none is editorial in nature but strictly statements of fact between the president, the recording woman and the HOA attorney who injected herself into that discussion, escalating the matter by suggesting the president make a motion to call police instead of letting board members discuss this and come to a solution.  The police were called six minutes into the meeting!!  Of course by now the entire homeowner audience is sitting there shocked to hear about this.  

- The menacer moves to reject the minutes and the president calls a vote and the minutes are not approved and rejected. There were suggested changes and the secretary is now expected to resubmit the minutes with these changes.  

So, where do we go from here per Roberts Rules? Is this not the craziest thing you've ever heard? FWIW, the president who is employed as a project manager treats this board like a project manager telling people what is being done and without debate and then goes through the motions of making each motion herself and calling a vote knowing she has 4 votes going her way (the majority), the rest of us don't understand why she's doing this but to speak up is to be maligned and attacked.

So what would YOU do in this case (besides resign) concerning these minutes?

 

 

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It's very likely that the details of the police being called don't belong in the minutes, unless there was some motion and vote to do so.

Minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said.  The text of motions belongs there, and how they were disposed of, but debate does not.  For motions, sticking to the facts of who made the motion, what the motion said (possibly after amendment) and whether it was adopted are pretty much all you need.

And sticking to the facts gives you less to argue about when it comes time to approve the minutes.

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Gary, the motion to call police was included in the minutes draft along with the vote.  

So while RRONR state you should not include discussion details, it is permitted to do so if the secretary feels its needed in this case for proper context.  I believe she's trying to be clear as to what led to this mess so that some bullies are revealed and of course they don't like that. 

That said, the members of the board then have the right to suggest corrections to the minutes when the minutes are up for board approval.  At this point, if the secretary does not agree with the corrections being suggested, is she required to say something or is she forced to include them?

Lastly, lets say one board member moves to strike a specific sentence, and  immediately thereafter another member moves to add that sentence back in, what happens next? Who decides? Is it up to the secretary to determine what stays in and what stays out or does it go to a vote on a specific correction?  If there are several changes to a set of draft minutes, do all corrections to the minutes get voted on collectively or does it fall to having a vote on each correction?

If its the latter, it seems the bullies have cover if they out number the others.

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I suggest (again) a careful reading of what is said on pages 468-473 of RONR (11th ed.) regarding content of the minutes, and on pages 354-355 concerning their adoption. It's a total of only 8 pages, but it appears that virtually no one in your organization has read them. 

If a majority of your board decides to do things differently, don't expect help from here. As a wise man said in this forum some time ago, you can't seek shelter under a roof you're tearing down.

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3 hours ago, Guest said:

[...]

Lets say one board member moves to strike a specific sentence, and  immediately thereafter another member moves to add that sentence back in, what happens next? Who decides? Is it up to the secretary to determine what stays in and what stays out or does it go to a vote on a specific correction?  If there are several changes to a set of draft minutes, do all corrections to the minutes get voted on collectively or does it fall to having a vote on each correction?

If its the latter, it seems the bullies have cover if they out number the others.

Here's a wild and crazy suggestion.

• "Make a motion -- to hire a parliamentarian."

You need someone who can give real-time advice, in the heat of the battle. -- Not after-the-fact autopsy. Not post-game analysis.

***

We can cite pages all day long. But if a MAJORITY does not like those cited pages, then we are just pounding sand, my friend. Just turning big rocks to tiny rocks. :(

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15 hours ago, Guest said:

So while RRONR state you should not include discussion details, it is permitted to do so if the secretary feels its needed in this case for proper context.  I believe she's trying to be clear as to what led to this mess so that some bullies are revealed and of course they don't like that. 

 

 

Including discussion details in order that it is clearly understood how a motion was handled is one thing. Including discussion so one can understand what is a mess and who the bullies are (both of which are subjective opinions) is quite another matter.

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16 hours ago, Guest said:

So while RRONR state you should not include discussion details, it is permitted to do so if the secretary feels its needed in this case for proper context.  I believe she's trying to be clear as to what led to this mess so that some bullies are revealed and of course they don't like that.

I understand your point, but what you said actually is not true.  It is the ASSEMBLY (the assembly that is meeting, whether the membership, board, etc) that determines what ultimately goes into the minutes.   The secretary might include it in his draft minutes, but such discussion doesn't belong there and it is the assembly, not the secretary or the president, that has the final word. 

It really isn't the purpose of minutes to reveal who is being a bully, etc.  The purpose of minutes is to have a record (some would say a legal record) of the BUSINESS conducted by the society..... the motions that have been adopted and rejected, to be kept for posterity.   If your organization wants to get into a "he said, she said" in the minutes, that is your business and you can do so, but over the span of many years it has been found to cause more problems than it solves. It almost invariably leads to constant and unnecessary bickering over the minutes.

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Thank you for all this great feedback and clarification. What I was hoping to get from this forum was an understanding of what are the latitudes, not so much what is the strictest view of Roberts Rules. I've been reminded more than once by the attorney that small boards do not have to follow the formal version of Roberts Rules.

1.  Is that true?

2. What is meant by "informal" versus "formal" in this situation?  And how would that be applied?

3. Can we bring back these rejected minutes for approval at the next board meeting or are they rejected indefinitely?

4. The president wanted to take the contentious minutes discussion into closed session. I objected and we did not do so because we are not allowed to hide anything from homeowners unless it has to do with personnel or specific home owners business (i.e. debts) for these individuals privacy. Was I wrong to object? Does the president have the right to take something into closed executive session if its really to just hide what she's doing?

I'm looking to understand if there are only absolutes (i.e. strict applications) or if there options when using Roberts Rules. I want to be completely fair but be prepared for future efforts against following RR. Thanks. 

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21 minutes ago, Guest Ceva said:

1.  Is that true?

2. What is meant by "informal" versus "formal" in this situation?  And how would that be applied?

3. Can we bring back these rejected minutes for approval at the next board meeting or are they rejected indefinitely?

4. The president wanted to take the contentious minutes discussion into closed session. I objected and we did not do so because we are not allowed to hide anything from homeowners unless it has to do with personnel or specific home owners business (i.e. debts) for these individuals privacy. Was I wrong to object? Does the president have the right to take something into closed executive session if its really to just hide what she's doing?

1.) Review:

>> I've been reminded more than once by the attorney that small boards do not have to follow the formal version of Roberts Rules.

True. There are countless parliamentary rules in Robert's Rules of Order. In most cases, those rules are (a.) customizable; (b.) suspendable.

***

2.) See page 487-489 for the official Robertian "small boards and committees" list of informalities.
 

Quote

PROCEDURE IN SMALL BOARDS.  
In a board meeting where there are not more than about a dozen members present, some of the formality that is necessary in a large assembly would hinder business.  The rules governing such meetings are different from the rules that hold in other assemblies, in the following respects:

●    Members may raise a hand instead of standing when seeking to obtain the floor, and may remain seated while making motions or speaking.
●    Motions need not be seconded.
●    There is no limit to the number of times a member can speak to a debatable question.* Appeals, however, are debatable under the regular rules–that is, each member (except the chair) can speak only once in debate on them, while the chair may speak twice.
●    Informal discussion of a subject is permitted while no motion is pending.
●    When a proposal is perfectly clear to all present, a vote can be taken without a motion's having been introduced.  Unless agreed to by unanimous consent, however, all proposed actions must be approved by vote under the same rules as in larger meetings, except that a vote can be taken initially by a show of hands, which is often a better method in small meetings.
●    The chairman need not rise while putting questions to vote.
●    If the chairman is a member, he may without leaving the chair without rising or leaving the chair; speak in informal discussions and in debate, and vote on all questions.

 

***

3.) Yes, you can amend minutes at any time.

Minutes which are 100 years old could theoretically still be amended.

***

4.) Executive session (a.k.a. "closed session" or "in-camera session") is not invoked by a single individual. It is a motion to be voted on.

However, you refer to actions which make me think of "name calling" and "accusations" and "attacks on one's character".

If these are the things which are occurring, or which are at high risk to occur often, then indeed an executive session would be preferred over open session.

***

 

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I agree with Mr. Goldsworthy above.  Just to add:

1.  Attorneys often say things like "Roberts is just a guideline, not rules."  They should, before saying that, recheck the title, in particular the second word of the title.  Parliamentary procedure is a set of rules - and rules are sometimes broken.  If an organization doesn't like those rules, it doesn't need to follow them  - it can adopt its own rules that supersede those of its parliamentary authority - and then follow its rules.  It could decide not to adopt any parliamentary authority and "each do what is right in their own eyes."  As General Robert says, there will be the least of real liberty, but it can do it.  What it shouldn't do is adopt rules and then ignore them.  Now, within those rules, there are small-board rules, which give less formal procedures for small boards and committees.  

2.  What informal means, in this context, is that motions need not be seconded, discussion without a pending motion is permitted (although it's sounding like that isn't working out so well in your organization, so maybe you don't want to permit that), and a few others changes exist - such as the ability of the chair to make motions.  In small committees, but not small boards, some motions are out of order, such as previous question.

3.  Yes, they can be approved at the next meeting.  If they are "moved" again, rather than following the procedure suggested in RONR, and again a majority does not vote yes, they can be approved at the next meeting, etc.  Remember, saying "no" to a motion doesn't mean forever, and a rejected motion could be made at every meeting from now until infinity.  

4.  You weren't wrong to object, and the president wasn't wrong to suggest an executive session.  It's a question to be decided on its merits - should we, or should we not, enter into executive session?  (There may, though, be applicable laws preventing your organization from doing certain sorts of business in executive session.)  In general, it doesn't make much sense to enter into executive session for the purpose of considering minutes of an open session - whatever is in there either happened in open session, or is wrong, in which case it should be removed from the minutes.  

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On 3/23/2016 at 5:47 PM, Guest said:

So while RRONR state you should not include discussion details, it is permitted to do so if the secretary feels its needed in this case for proper context.  I believe she's trying to be clear as to what led to this mess so that some bullies are revealed and of course they don't like that. 

That said, the members of the board then have the right to suggest corrections to the minutes when the minutes are up for board approval.  At this point, if the secretary does not agree with the corrections being suggested, is she required to say something or is she forced to include them?

Lastly, lets say one board member moves to strike a specific sentence, and  immediately thereafter another member moves to add that sentence back in, what happens next? Who decides? Is it up to the secretary to determine what stays in and what stays out or does it go to a vote on a specific correction?  If there are several changes to a set of draft minutes, do all corrections to the minutes get voted on collectively or does it fall to having a vote on each correction?

If its the latter, it seems the bullies have cover if they out number the others.

Where did you read that rule that the secretary can decide to put things in the minutes because she feels like it?  Is it in your bylaws?  It's certainly not in RONR.

Once the secretary's draft is open for correction, it's out of her hands completely, except that if she is a member she may vote on a correction, if it comes to that.  Her duty is to include what the assembly decides should be included, and delete what the assembly decides should be deleted.

If one board member moves to strike a sentence, no other member can move anything until the first correction has been either adopted or rejected.  If it's adopted, then the assembly has decided, presumably by a majority, that it should go.  It would not be in order to move to add exactly the same sentence back in, but even if essentially the same sentence were allowed, what makes you think that it would get a majority vote?    Any corrections that are not unanimously acceptable are put to a vote, and the majority decides.  Again, the secretary has no special authority with respect to corrections.  When a correction is offered, the chair should state the correction and ask "Are there any objections?"   If there is silence (no objections), he declares that the correction is agreed to, and asks for any more corrections.  If there are objections to unanimous consent the chair puts the correction to a vote.

Each correction that does not have unanimous consent (no objections) is voted on individually.  Finally, when the chair asks, "Are there any further corrections?" and nobody seeks to offer one, the minutes are presumed correct.  At that point the chair does not ask for a vote on approval.  He says, "Hearing no further corrections, the minutes stand approved as corrected."  

It sounds like you're making it much more complicated than it needs to be.  I'd advise you to read the section in RONR carefully and follow it.  Even potentially contentious minutes can be quickly approved if they include no editorial comment, and stick to the facts of what motions were made, adopted, rejected, committed, postponed, or otherwise disposed of.    Include actions in the minutes, not words.  As Twain observed, they speak louder, and less frequently.

 

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Godelfan:  We are required by HOA state law to comply with Roberts Rules when our bylaws do not address a matter, in this case process to conduct board meetings.  Question: Does RR permit our board to not comply with RR if the board votes to make this our standing policy? I can't imagine we can do so because of the state statute but I might as well ask you. (Feels sort of Inception-esque if that is the case).

-

Kim Goldsworthy:  Thank you for posting those informal rules for small boards. I will definitely share it with the board. Just to let you know we have not yet had board members resorted to any name calling but one male board member stated to the audience and board he spoke to his (sister) attorney to see if he could press charges against a female board member because she disagrees with him rather bluntly. Of course he's trying to get ahead of his own physical menacing but that's another matter. Still the real reason the president wanted to go into executive session was to prevent the home owners from learning she had subverted the process by trying to rewrite the minutes and presenting them as the secretary's version to be considered for approval. And that the president did not want to publicly corrected ignoring the rules. She actually began mocking the fact she had to open motions to debate before the vote -- in a snide tone. Oh well.

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Gary Novosielski:   If I understand the scope of minutes required by RR, it is to be a record of a board's actions. It does not preclude detail concerning what led to those actions.  Our secretary did not include any he said/she said transcriptions or quotes but of actions taken by specific board members that led to a motion to call police. (i.e. President told Secretary and Member-at-large to turn off their recordings. Secretary complied. Member-At-large did not comply stating concerns for her personal safety. President moved to call police to eject board member.) Question:  Should this type of description use board member titles or names? If you think this type of description is wrong, please explain why since it seems appropriate in this style.  Of course, the board members then vote on whether that content stays or not in the minutes when it comes back up for approval.

-

Last question:  Since our meeting minutes were rejected by a majority vote, what does the secretary need to do at this point?  Does she revise them based on the objections (we did not vote on each correction unfortunately) heard and resubmit the minutes to be approved at the next board meeting or should it be tabled or never brought back? What would you recommend?

 

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1 hour ago, Guest Ceva said:

Since our meeting minutes were rejected by a majority vote, what does the secretary need to do at this point?  

Does she revise them based on the objections (we did not vote on each correction unfortunately) heard and resubmit the minutes to be approved at the next board meeting or should it be tabled or never brought back? What would you recommend?

This is unique.

If the assembly does not want "those" draft minutes to be the official minutes, then what should have happened is that a committee ought to have been created for the purpose of re-creating the minutes.

Whoever is a partisan combatant in this squabble are parties who ought not sit on this committee. That is, keep the committee confined to the sane and the rational.

***

You may wish to hire a parliamentarian to sit on this new committee, so that each line can be crafted free of non-Robertian-compliant text. -- Any or all text of a "He Said, She Said" variety must go, go, GO.

 

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It was improper to vote to reject the minutes. The way to handle disagreements to the minutes is to propose a correction. For future reference the chair should not put the approval of the minutes to a vote, but instead ask for corrections — and when he hears no more corrections, he should declare the minutes approved.

For now, you are where you are. I would start by trying again to get the minutes approved at the next meeting. As KG says, you could appoint a committee to come up with minutes if you need to.

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I'm not sure what is indicated by "standing policy" here.  RONR allows you to adopt special rules of order that contradict RONR.  I can't tell you if that would satisfy the law, though.  RONR does not allow you to just decide "we're not going to follow any rules" while it is your parliamentary authority.  For instance, you can't vote to suspend all rules.  

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Guest Ceva, I think this has been said already, but in case it hasn't, here it is again:

You have so many issues and things being done incorrectly and so many people, including possibly yourself, who do not have a clue what the rules are in RONR that you NEED A COPY OF THE BOOK.  By "The Book" I mean RONR: Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition.  It is your parliamentary authority.  It is about 800 pages (716 numbered pages plus many pages of preface, introduction, tables and charts) and costs only about $18 in bookstores and $12 from Amazon. http://robertsrules.com/book.html

For someone (or an organization) with all of the problems your organization has, I believe having a copy of it is absolutely necessary.  We simply cannot explain everything to you or walk you through the way everything should be done.  It's all in the book in great detail.

A book I usually recommend for someone who wants just the basics, and doesn't have any real problems to deal with, is RONR in Brief:  Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief, 2nd edition.  It is written by the authorship team of RONR and is based solidly on RONR.  It's only 197 pages (vs 800) and gives you the basics of proper parliamentary procedure in easy to understand language.... but it contains only the basics.  It does contain a decent chapter on minutes, but it is not as thorough as the chapter in RONR.   It's about $7.50 both in bookstores and on Amazon.   http://robertsrules.com/inbrief.html

A third book I often recommend for people who want more than just the basics but have a hard time understanding RONR is "Robert's Rules for Dummies", 2nd edition, by C. Alan Jennings.  Mr. Jennings is a well respected Professional Registered Parliamentarian.  His book is not intended to be a substitute for RONR, but is more in the nature of a book about RONR.  I look at it as supplementing RONR.  It explains some of the more complex provisions of RONR in language easier for the layman to understand.  It goes into much greater detail than RONR in Brief, but is naturally not as thorough as RONR.  I believe it's about $18 in stores (I have loaned mine to a friend) and is about $12.50 on Amazon.  Keep in mind that if you purchase that book, it is not a parliamentary authority and is not a substitute for RONR.  It should not be cited as a parliamentary authority.  It is, as I said above, more in the nature of a book about RONR which I believe is a great help in understanding the rules and principles in RONR.  http://www.amazon.com/Roberts-Rules-Dummies-Alan-Jennings/dp/1118294041/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458919392&sr=8-1&keywords=robert%27s+rules+for+dummies

btw, I notice that if all three books are purchased together on Amazon, the total cost is $31.41 and qualifies for free shipping.  It's a great "package" that I recommend highly.

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Guest Ceva, I also agree with those who have suggested that you should consult with a professional parliamentarian.  Both of the two national associations of parliamentarians have websites and referral services.  In addition, they can give you information on local "units" or affiliates in your state.  Most of them have meetings which are open to the public and have members who might be able and willing to assist you.  Here is the contact info  on two national associations.  Note:  The NAP is  the larger of the two organizations with more local units, but both are worth consulting. 

National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP)
213 South Main St.
Independence, MO  64050-3850
Phone: 888-627-2929
e-mail: hq@NAP2.org  
www.parliamentarians.org


American Institute of Parliamentarians (AIP)
618 Church Street, Ste 220
Nashville, TN 37219
Phone: 888-664-0428
e-mail: aip@aipparl.org
www.aipparl.org

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