Dear Dinosaur Advice Column

Got questions about Robert's Rules of Order? Ann Macfarlane is a dinosaur who knows her stuff. She explains the complexity of Robert's Rules so it makes sense. She loves hearing from readers with their questions about Robert's Rules of Order.

How can we approve November minutes with 3 new board members?

Dear Dinosaur: During the last election, three of our five board members were replaced with new directors, who take their oath of office at the December meeting. Our question is regarding the approval of the November board minutes. With three of the five being new board members who were not in attendance at the November meeting, who approves the November minutes at the December meeting? Normally, if they weren’t attending they would abstain from voting on it, but if three of the five abstain we have no quorum. Thoughts?

Answer: The new board members may vote to approve the November minutes. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition, says 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.” (41:12) This applies to new board members as well. You should change your custom of abstaining, since it’s not necessary, and have all directors take part in the approval process.

See our article Approving minutes if you were absent and other articles in the Meeting Minutes category.

Dear Dinosaur provides simple, practical answers to questions about Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure. Send your questions to Dear Dinosaur here. Our answers are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 12th edition. As always, nothing in this post constitutes legal or business advice. For complicated questions, seek a qualified authority.

Never miss an article!
Sign up today and get our blog articles right in your inbox.

Posted in

Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.