No need to record that “second”

The individual who seconds the motion need not be recognized in the minutes.

Most people are familiar with what should be contained in the Meeting Minutes according to Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised. There have been questions regarding recording the names of those making AND seconding motions. An individual seconding a motion does so because they want the motion debated. They may believe the idea is so terrible they want to voice their opinion or even to have it on record that the board formally rejected the motion. Contrary to what some have believed for years, it is not “support” for the motion and recording the name next to the motion could lead someone to believe that. More information on handling a motion is available in this article from Julie Pioch, Professional Registered Parliamentarian.

Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised explains that, “The name of the maker of a main motion should be entered in the minutes, but the name of the seconder should not be entered unless ordered by the assembly” (RONR, 11th ed., p. 470).

Why might an assembly want to record the seconder? One individual recently explained to me that it is how their organization notes active participation in the membership “by seeing the names in the minutes” they note who is engaged in the meeting. If the organization feels it is critical to record the “second” and the bylaws indicate Roberts Rules as the parliamentary authority, the organization should adopt its own rule that makes things clear and explicitly says what is to be recorded by the secretary. A rule that applies to the content of minutes would be a special rule of order. Rules of order “relate to the orderly transaction of business in meetings and to the duties of officers in that connection” (RONR, 11th ed., p. 15). Rules applying to the content of minutes relate to the Secretary’s duties in connection with the transaction of business in meetings.

Michigan State University Extension educators can provide your organization with assistance in learning more about parliamentary procedure. The Government and Public Policy team also offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 

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