Anyone involved with condominiums or condo-related associations likely attends a healthy number of meetings of various sorts. With each meeting comes a set of minutes to memorialize what transpired and was accomplished at the meeting. The minutes are customarily approved at a subsequent meeting.
At a recent meeting of one of my committees, I made a motion to approve the minutes of an earlier meeting. A fellow committee member then asked whether it was proper for me to make that motion given that I was not present at that earlier meeting.
For the answer, we turn to the Frequently Asked Questions section at Parliamentary Procedure Online, which is the companion website to Robert’s Rules Online. FAQ #30 provides:
Q: Can a member vote on or second a motion to approve the minutes of a meeting that he did not attend?
A: Yes, absolutely! There is no requirement in Robert’s Rules of Order that a member have first-hand knowledge of something before voting on minutes or other motions. In fact, a motion need not be made regarding the approval of the minutes. The chair says, "Are there any corrections to the minutes?" Members may offer corrections, and when there are no further corrections forthcoming, the chair says, "If there are no further corrections to the minutes, they stand approved as corrected… the next item of business is…" or if no corrections are offered, "If there are no corrections to the minutes, they stand approved as read… the next item of business is…" Note that there is no second involved in this process. For more information, refer to RONR (10th ed.), pp. 343-344.
Of course, this answer assumes that Robert’s Rules are the accepted rules of the organization and there are no statutory or by-law provisions that apply or take precedence.
While it is not necessary to have attended the meeting at issue or even to have read the minutes before approving them, it certainly makes good sense to check that the draft minutes appear to be in order before approving them.
A hat tip to my observant friend and fellow committee member, John Damaren of Malvern Condominium Property Management, for posing the question and calling me out on my absenteeism!
Got any other questions about meeting procedures? Send them in and we’ll try our best to give a good answer.