Dear Dinosaur: When a member of our city council says, “I want this on the record!” do we have to include their remarks in the minutes? Answer: Not necessarily. Robert’s Rules says that the purpose of minutes is to record the actions taken by the body. In general, minutes should not include individual remarks. If…

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Did you know, gentle reader, that if your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order, you have already adopted the 12th edition? Here is the quotation from the horse’s mouth: This Twelfth Edition supersedes all previous editions and is intended automatically to become the parliamentary authority in organizations whose bylaws prescribe “Robert’s Rules of Order,”…

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Nonprofit organizations, like many voluntary groups in our country, struggle to locate and recruit adequate leadership. People are living such busy lives, with the demands of work, family, and personal well-being, that they find it a challenge to take on a leadership role. When there is a dearth of candidates to lead an organization—and often…

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With fall and the turning of the year, many organizations are struggling over their elections. We can’t do things the way we have always done, so what are the options? Here are a few thoughts on holding elections in this pandemic. As always, this is not legal advice. Be sure to consult your attorney! 1. …

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The term “pass the gavel” refers to a situation where the chair of a meeting (the presider, the person running the meeting) temporarily gives up the position of chair (the authority to run the meeting) to allow another person to preside over the meeting. Download PDF Pass the gavel in a large meeting In a…

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What can you do when your colleagues on a board or council say things that you find offensive? What if they are making subjective statements that hurt your feelings? We are living in tough times for civility. People feel free to say things during meetings that can be offensive and challenging. Robert’s Rules of Order…

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The biggest problem we encounter in meeting minutes is too much verbiage. Striving to do justice to their job, secretaries sometimes include the arguments that are made, what people say in response, and all the minutiae of discussion. There is a better way! According to Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes should record what is DONE,…

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The clerk of a local government meeting or the secretary on a nonprofit board has a high calling. Under Robert’s Rules, two persons must be present for a valid meeting: the chair and the secretary. They cannot be the same person, and state law often specifies this as well. The clerk or secretary keeps the…

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