Sample meeting minutes according to Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised

I’ve been elected as the Secretary, now what?

This article is the second in a two-part series that focuses on the role of the Secretary in recording the meeting minutes. The first article, titled “Components of Meeting Minutes” concentrates on the purpose of the minutes and what the format should include. This article focuses on the correct wording and offers a sample of minutes based on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised “RONR” (11th ed.).

For review, the minutes are the written history of the organization. It is where everyone can go to find out what has been decided. The minutes follow a standard order regardless of the organization, but may vary depending on the type of body. Legislative or elected boards may vary in the level of detail when compared to an administrative board. There is a Michigan State University Extension bulletin titled “How to take Minutes for Administrative Decisions” that provides greater detail on these differences. The example found in RONR (11th ed.) provides a great basic overview of the three parts of minutes and demonstrates the critical content to be recorded for most groups.

A sample of the first paragraph of the minutes would look like this:

The regular monthly meeting of the Example Society was held on Friday February 7, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the East Bank Office on Front Street, City, State, the President being in the chair and the Secretary being present. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved as corrected.

The body would continue with:

The Treasurer reported the receipt of a bill from the Snow Company in the amount of $1,695 for the snow removal at the Example Society’s building. The question put by the chair “that the bill be paid” was adopted.

Mr. Kelly, reporting on behalf of the Membership Committee, moved “that John J. Smith be admitted to membership in the Society.” The motion was adopted after debate.

The report of the Recruitment Committee was received and placed on file.

The special committee that was appointed to investigate and report on suitable parking facilities near the Society’s building reported, through its chairman, Mrs. Weber, a resolution, which, after debate and amendment, was adopted as follows: “Resolved, That . . . [its exact words immediately before being acted upon, incorporating all amendments].”

The resolution relating to the use of the Society’s conference room by nonmembers, which was postponed from the last meeting, was then taken up. This motion and a pending amendment were laid on the table after the chair announced that the guest speaker had received a phone message which would require his early departure.

The President introduced the guest speaker, Mr. Mark Lewis, whose subject was “Increasing membership in your Society.”

At the conclusion of Mr. Lewis’s talk, the resolution relating to the use of the Society’s conference room by nonmembers was taken from the table. After amendment and further debate, the resolution was adopted as follows: “Resolved, That . . . [its exact wording immediately before being finally voted on].”

Mr. Roberts moved “that the Society undertake the establishment of a film festival.” Mrs. Jones moved to amend this motion by inserting the word “kids” before “film.” On motion of Mr. Green, the motion to establish the festival, with the pending amendment, was referred to a committee of three to be appointed by the chair with instructions to report at the next meeting. The chair appointed Messrs. Flynn, Dorsey, and Fine to the committee.

The final paragraph should include:

            The meeting adjourned at 11 a.m.

Lori R. Jackson, Secretary

The National Association of Parliamentarians offers an online course called Minutes Made Easy, which is designed for people new to taking minutes or who wish to improve or correct their minute-taking skills. Preparing concise, accurate minutes is an essential skill for secretaries of any organization and for members responsible for reviewing and correcting minutes.

The MSU Extension Government and Public Policy team 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.

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