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Adding supportive document to meeting minutes.


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Guest Carolyn

Can you add a supportive document to minutes of a meeting after the fact? The goal would be to support discussion that happened at the meeting. And also to memorialize the information presented in the document. Put another way: why attempt to summarize information which was already succinctly put forth at the meeting in the above mentioned document?

if yes, what is the mechanism to do this at a subsequent meeting? If no why not?

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Guest Carolyn

Thank you Mr.Huynh. 
so the addition of a document to existing minutes is legal. As the proponent of this action, I would merely make a motion to do this addition to the relevant minutes, get a second, and have a vote?

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2 hours ago, Guest Carolyn said:

why attempt to summarize information which was already succinctly put forth at the meeting in the above mentioned document?

Why, indeed? The first response is that the minutes should not be summarizing the discussion at all. Minutes record what was done, not what was said.

If it was, for example, a report from a committee, that report is filed with the official records of the organization but not the minutes.

That being said, you can move a motion to amend the minutes by a pending this document.

But I strongly suggest that you amend the minutes to be more in line with the rules in RONR.

 

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3 hours ago, Guest whattahw said:

What happens if adding "supportive document(s)", reveals hearsay and altered facts in the Minutes?

As others have previously noted, the best course of action is to not add "supportive documents" to the minutes.

As to this "hearsay and altered facts," I'm not entirely clear on what is meant by this. "Hearsay" is a legal term which generally has no meaningful application to meetings of a deliberative assembly. As to "altered facts," if the suggestion is that there is an error in the contents of the minutes, then generally the proper course of action would be to correct the error.

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As we go down this rabbit hole of problems that can occur when minutes contain discussion, please remember that when mr. Martin says,

3 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

if the suggestion is that there is an error in the contents of the minutes, then generally the proper course of action would be to correct the error.

that the minutes reflect what actually occurred at the meeting. If the minutes correctly record the information that was provided at the meeting - even if that information turns out to have been incorrect - then the minutes should not be "corrected."

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8 hours ago, Guest whattahw said:

What happens if adding "supportive document(s)", reveals hearsay and altered facts in the Minutes?

That is something the assembly may have to deal with later. The fact is that RONR provides that additional information such as reports may be added to the minutes, or appended to them, by a majority vote. This is a judgment call for the assembly to make.  

Note: if the minutes have already been approved, then the process for amending something previously adopted will have to be followed in order to add this document to the minutes after they were approved.
 

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Guest whattahw

Thank you for your responses, 

This matter involves an absent member whose right and opinion was not preserved. 

"A motion may also grow out of the presentation of a written communication to the assembly. This may be in the form of a letter or memorandum from a member who is not present...A communication normally is addressed to the president or secretary and is read aloud by the secretary—unless the presiding officer properly should read it because of special importance of the content or source." RONR (12th ed.) 3:26

AND

"The reading of a communication does not in itself formally bring a question before the assembly. After the reading, or at the time provided by the order of business, a motion can be offered proposing appropriate action." RONR (12th ed.) 3:28

In short, while the "communication" did get sent to the Secretary, it is obvious in the Minutes that the "communication" (supportive document) was not read, nor was the "unless" clause done.

While the "communication" was not to "formally bring a question" but identify a concern. It could have been viewed as a Question of Privilege.

Yet the record in no way resembles the supportive document. And thus, "rational decisions of consequence" could not be made due the suppression to allow "intelligent" choice. RONR (12th ed.) 43:1

How should one proceed since such a member is also in the minority?

 

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3 hours ago, Guest whattahw said:

Thank you for your responses, 

This matter involves an absent member whose right and opinion was not preserved. 

"A motion may also grow out of the presentation of a written communication to the assembly. This may be in the form of a letter or memorandum from a member who is not present...A communication normally is addressed to the president or secretary and is read aloud by the secretary—unless the presiding officer properly should read it because of special importance of the content or source." RONR (12th ed.) 3:26

AND

"The reading of a communication does not in itself formally bring a question before the assembly. After the reading, or at the time provided by the order of business, a motion can be offered proposing appropriate action." RONR (12th ed.) 3:28

In short, while the "communication" did get sent to the Secretary, it is obvious in the Minutes that the "communication" (supportive document) was not read, nor was the "unless" clause done.

While the "communication" was not to "formally bring a question" but identify a concern. It could have been viewed as a Question of Privilege.

Yet the record in no way resembles the supportive document. And thus, "rational decisions of consequence" could not be made due the suppression to allow "intelligent" choice. RONR (12th ed.) 43:1

How should one proceed since such a member is also in the minority?

The controlling rules on this matter are:

"In an ordinary society, the minutes should contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members." RONR (12th ed.) 48:2

"To modify the rules governing what is regularly to be included in the minutes requires adoption of a special rule of order, although a majority vote may direct the inclusion of specific additional information in the minutes of a particular meeting." RONR (12th ed.) 48:3

I concur based upon the facts presented that the communication should not be included in the minutes, as it is not something that was "done" at the meeting and does not fall under any of the specific categories in RONR (12th ed.) 48:4-5 relating to the items which should be included in the minutes. Notwithstanding this, RONR is clear that "a majority vote may direct the inclusion of specific additional information in the minutes of a particular meeting."

When the minutes are pending for approval, a member can move that the communication in question be included in the minutes. Such a motion is debatable and ultimately requires a majority vote for adoption. Those members who support the inclusion of the communication can speak and vote in favor of its inclusion. Those members who oppose the inclusion of the communication can speak and vote against its inclusion. Ultimately, the majority will determine whether the communication will be included.

Edited by Josh Martin
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3 hours ago, Guest whattahw said:

How should one proceed since such a member is also in the minority?

By asking that the document be appended to the minutes. If the minutes have not yet been approved, do this at the time they are up for approval. It requires a majority vote if there is an objection.

If the minutes have already been approved, then you do so by making a motion to do it using the motion to amend something previously adopted. The motion would be along these lines: “I move that we amend the minutes of the March meeting to append to the minutes the document received from member John Smith dated March 1, 2021 regarding the condition of the clubhouse.“. That is a main motion.  If it is made without giving previous notice, it requires a 2/3 vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership. If previous notice of the motion is given, it may be adopted by a majority vote. Since it is a main motion, the fact that the motion was made and its disposition should be recorded in the minutes of the current meeting.

No member can force the assembly to adopt the motion or to attach the document. It is up to the will of the assembly.

Edited to add: I added the phrase “regarding the condition of the clubhouse“ to the second paragraph of my answer so that the subject matter of the communication is apparent. If it is necessary to use the motion “amend something previously adopted”, I would submit the motion in writing to the chair and the secretary so that the secretary has the exact wording of the motion because the exact wording  of the motion should be entered in the minutes regardless of the outcome of the motion. 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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6 hours ago, Guest whattahw said:

Thank you for your responses, 

This matter involves an absent member whose right and opinion was not preserved. 

"A motion may also grow out of the presentation of a written communication to the assembly. This may be in the form of a letter or memorandum from a member who is not present...A communication normally is addressed to the president or secretary and is read aloud by the secretary—unless the presiding officer properly should read it because of special importance of the content or source." RONR (12th ed.) 3:26

AND

"The reading of a communication does not in itself formally bring a question before the assembly. After the reading, or at the time provided by the order of business, a motion can be offered proposing appropriate action." RONR (12th ed.) 3:28

In short, while the "communication" did get sent to the Secretary, it is obvious in the Minutes that the "communication" (supportive document) was not read, nor was the "unless" clause done.

While the "communication" was not to "formally bring a question" but identify a concern. It could have been viewed as a Question of Privilege.

Yet the record in no way resembles the supportive document. And thus, "rational decisions of consequence" could not be made due the suppression to allow "intelligent" choice. RONR (12th ed.) 43:1

How should one proceed since such a member is also in the minority?

 

If the letter was not read, and no motion resulted from it, and the member in question was not present, and no decisions of consequence or otherwise were made, I don't see what entry would appropriately belong in the minutes.  

As others have pointed out, discussion does not belong in the minutes.  Minutes are not a record of what was said, but rather a record of what was done.  It appears from your description that while things may have been said, nothing was decided, so there's nothing to memorialize in the minutes.  

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Guest whattahw
1 hour ago, Gary Novosielski said:

If the letter was not read, and no motion resulted from it, and the member in question was not present, and no decisions of consequence or otherwise were made, I don't see what entry would appropriately belong in the minutes.  

As others have pointed out, discussion does not belong in the minutes.  Minutes are not a record of what was said, but rather a record of what was done.  It appears from your description that while things may have been said, nothing was decided, so there's nothing to memorialize in the minutes.  

Thx to everyone,

Isn't reading the communication an action thus it would be done not said.

The minutes are poorly written and I agree there is a lot of what was said in the record not what was done.

Yet a decision of consequence was done and the record claims it was the suggestion of the communication.

As stated earlier, the communication didn't requests/suggest/ask, only brought up a concern.

I guess this is all pointless because the majority is using meetings to breach decorum and the minutes to vilify other members to the point of the secretary's opinion is in the record. 

Ugg this whole thing is a mess!

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1 hour ago, Guest whattahw said:

Isn't reading the communication an action thus it would be done not said.

 

To clarify, when we say what was done, not what was said, we mean decisions of the body. Suppose you move to paint the clubhouse red. Then there's debate, and the motion is adopted. What was done was deciding to paint the clubhouse red. What happened during debate was what was said.

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Guest whattahw
2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

To clarify, when we say what was done, not what was said, we mean decisions of the body. Suppose you move to paint the clubhouse red. Then there's debate, and the motion is adopted. What was done was deciding to paint the clubhouse red. What happened during debate was what was said.

I agree these minutes are a mess!

But I think I figured out an argument for ASPA:

These minutes record a custom that applies to adding supportive document(s) to the minutes when there is a proposal by a member.

So what was done:

A discussion on proposal X and the action taken.

Thus, there is a material omission because the supportive document is not attached. 

"a particular practice may sometimes come to be followed as a matter of established custom so that it is treated practically as if it were prescribed by a rule." - RONR (12th ed.) 2:25

Would I be correct in this reasoning?

Love the new digital version!

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1 hour ago, Guest whattahw said:

"a particular practice may sometimes come to be followed as a matter of established custom so that it is treated practically as if it were prescribed by a rule." - RONR (12th ed.) 2:25

 

This is only true if the custom does not, itself, violate a rule. Including extraneous information in the minutes without the order of the body does violate a rule. 

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Guest whattahw

"Additional rules and practices relating to the content of the minutes are the following:

5) When a committee report is of great importance or should be recorded to show the legislative history of a measure, the assembly can order it “to be entered in the minutes,”..." RONR (12th ed.) 48:5

Like this rule?

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I don't know what you're asking, precisely. The inclusion of extraneous material without an order from the assembly violates the rules. One of the instances where the assembly can so order is when a committee report is of great importance. It still needs an order from the assembly. The two do not contradict each other, they work in harmony. 

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29 minutes ago, Guest whattahw said:

"Additional rules and practices relating to the content of the minutes are the following:

5) When a committee report is of great importance or should be recorded to show the legislative history of a measure, the assembly can order it “to be entered in the minutes,”..." RONR (12th ed.) 48:5

Like this rule?

Please note that the rule you cited says that the assembly can order the document to be entered in the minutes. Doing that requires a majority vote. I think you keep missing that point.  Yes, the report or document can be included in the minutes but it takes a majority vote to do so unless it falls within one of the categories that RONR says should be in the minutes.

You may have a point about it being custom to include such reports in the minutes. I think I put greater weight on that than Mr. Katz does.  However, if any member objects to its inclusion, it will require a majority vote to resolve the issue. The fact that you say it should be in the minutes is not what is determinative. The assembly itself has the final word, whether by deciding the issue directly or by the chair making a ruling on a point of order and his ruling being appealed to the assembly. 

You are making good arguments as to why it should be in the minutes. However, those are arguments you may need to make to convince the secretary, the chair or the assembly of that. 
 

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Guest whattahw

Well there are supporting documents attached and no recorded order to do so.

Can the body have a custom (that doesn't violate any other organizational rules) which:

Submits documents without an order if of great importance and if due to legislative history and if action has been taken wrt to the contents of the document.

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35 minutes ago, Guest whattahw said:

Can the body have a custom (that doesn't violate any other organizational rules) which:

Submits documents without an order if of great importance and if due to legislative history and if action has been taken wrt to the contents of the document.

I think a body could certainly adopt such a rule. I would suggest making a motion to that effect. That way, the body will at least take a position moving forward.

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43 minutes ago, Guest whattahw said:

Submits documents without an order if of great importance and if due to legislative history and if action has been taken wrt to the contents of the document.

The problem is your phrase “If of great importance“. Who determines whether something is of great importance and what is the criteria?

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Guest whattahw
25 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

The problem is your phrase “If of great importance“. Who determines whether something is of great importance and what is the criteria?

A matter is of great importance when:

1) new business is added to the agenda.       during a committee report

OR

2) when a chair officer or secretary address opinions of an absentee or for an absentee.

OR

3) is a Questions of Privilege

 

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Guest whattahw

2) when a chair officer or secretary address opinions of an absentee or for an absentee.

 

Update:

2) the opinions of an absentee or for an absentee are addressed:

          a) without a prior invite to the meeting

         OR

         b) without making "...every effort to obtain a satisfactory solution of the matter quietly and informally." - RONR (12th ed.) 61:4

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Guest whattahw

Note: it would be prudent to ask for a Question of Privilege "quietly and informally" so that the board can probably read and address.

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