Quick answers to questions on parliamentary procedure

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Agenda (1) Boards (2) bylaws (2) Debate (2) Elections (4) Minutes (3) Officers (3) Presiding (1) Quorum (1) Voting (3)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who Can Move to Approve Minutes?

Q. Can a person move to approve the minutes of the previous meeting even though he was not in attendance at the previous meeting?


Yes. Any person may move, second, or correct the minutes and may vote to approve them. To formally move approval of the minutes means that the maker of the motion has either reviewed the secretary's draft and feels that it is in decent form for approval or trusts the secretary's ability to draft the minutes. It is so routine a question that it is best done by unanimous consent, rather than a formal motion. Seconding simply means that the person wishes to consider the approval of the minutes, but then who wouldn't be in favor of considering and approving the minutes? Again, it is so routine that seconds should not even be required. One doesn't have to have attended the meeting to make a correction. The name of a member mentioned in the minutes might be misspelled and the person who was not in attendance is as capable as anyone to correct such things.

As for voting to approve the minutes, all members should be allowed to do so, even though they may not have attended the previous meeting. Minutes are a legal statement of actions taken. The principle at play here is that an organization, and especially a corporation, speaks through its minutes. If your organization ever finds itself in court, the first question the judge may ask is to see a copy of the minutes. Every member should have a say so in something that important.

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