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Editing and correcting draft minutes


Guest Harold

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Guest Harold

I have a question about editing minutes of the secretary.  According to our bylaws, in our organization's general meeting a secretary (designated by the Chair) records the minutes and then the Chair checks and edits the draft minutes before distributing them.   In our executive committee, a secretary records the minutes and then all committee members check and edit the minutes.  I could not find anything in RRONR that would contradict this procedure.  Am I correct?  What is the role of the secretary in this case?  I ask because the draft minutes of both the general meeting and executive committee are heavily edited by the Chair and committee members between the meeting and the distribution of the minutes all members of our organization and it is a bit of a mess.  

 

 

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Well, nothing in RONR gives the chair, or anybody else, a "right" to edit minutes prior to their distribution.  So if you have such a rule in your bylaws, it will be up to you to deal with the problems that it may generate. 

The usual (RONR, page 468ff) is that the secretary writes the minutes, then presents them to the group that the minutes pertain to for corrections (if needed) and approval. And that is it.

Perhaps you are putting too much in the minutes -- the sort of material that gives rise to heavy editing.  See the cited pages for the only necessary content of minutes:  "what was done, not what was said".

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As far as RONR is concerned the Secretary (who is elected not appointed by the Chair) takes the minutes and no one has a right to edit them before they are brought before the assembly for approval (though the Secretary can ask others to take a look at them if he or she wishes).  See RONR pp. 458-460 and pp. 473-475 regarding the duties of the Secretary and approval of the minutes.

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1 hour ago, Guest Harold said:

In our executive committee, a secretary records the minutes and then all committee members check and edit the minutes.

That's basically what happens when any assembly (in this case, the executive committee) approves their minutes. The draft is read or presented to the assembly and any member has the opportunity to correct them at that time. When there are no more corrections, they are approved. If there is disagreement as to the proposed edits, then the assembly can vote on them.

1 hour ago, Guest Harold said:

I have a question about editing minutes of the secretary.  According to our bylaws, in our organization's general meeting a secretary (designated by the Chair) records the minutes and then the Chair checks and edits the draft minutes before distributing them.

Are the minutes formally approved at the next general meeting? Or is the chair acting as a one-person Minutes Approval Committee? Either way, if someone objects to what is in them, that member can propose an edit at the next meeting (or to Amend Something Previously Adopted if the bylaws give the chair the authority to approve minutes).

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2 hours ago, Guest Harold said:

I have a question about editing minutes of the secretary.  According to our bylaws, in our organization's general meeting a secretary (designated by the Chair) records the minutes and then the Chair checks and edits the draft minutes before distributing them.   In our executive committee, a secretary records the minutes and then all committee members check and edit the minutes.  I could not find anything in RRONR that would contradict this procedure.  Am I correct?  What is the role of the secretary in this case?  I ask because the draft minutes of both the general meeting and executive committee are heavily edited by the Chair and committee members between the meeting and the distribution of the minutes all members of our organization and it is a bit of a mess.  

There is nothing wrong with these practices in principle, provided the Secretary is agreeable. The Secretary takes the minutes, but it is ultimately up to the assembly to ensure their accuracy. Corrections to the minutes are in order when they are pending for approval. Sometimes, the Secretary solicits corrections in advance of their approval, and incorporates those corrections the Secretary believes to be correct into the draft minutes. This can save time at the meeting.

I am more concerned with the fact that there is “heavy editing” of the minutes. A need for heavy editing generally suggests there is something very wrong with the minutes. The most likely culprit is that there is too much in the minutes. Could you give some examples of these edits?

Edited by Josh Martin
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