Question: I am the newly elected secretary of our condo board. I know we want to follow Robert's Rules of Order for our meetings but I'm not really clear about how that works. I'm also wondering if there are any rules about how to take minutes. Do I need to record everything that everyone says?
Answer: Robert's Rules of Order is the foremost guide to parliamentary procedure. The rules were developed by Henry Robert, an engineering officer in the Army. This process provides rules and procedures for deliberation and debate in meetings, including meetings of condominium association boards. When proper rules of procedure are followed, all interested parties have a chance to participate in the decision making. The easiest way to learn about these guidelines is to purchase and read the official book that can be found at www.robertsrules.com.
Minutes usually begin with the name of the association, location, date, the time that the chair called the meeting to order, a list of people present and whether they represented a quorum. Some organizations' meetings require minutes that record what was actually said at the meeting, either in the order that it was actually said or in a more coherent order, regardless of whether the meeting allows any written agenda. This is generally not necessary for a condominium meeting because almost the only time the minutes are used would be for a lawsuit so less detail is better than memorializing every comment, emotion or unnecessary facts.
The primary function of minutes recorded during a condominium association meeting is to record the decisions made. If a formal motion is proposed, seconded but not passed, then this is recorded also. Minutes should have only the bare facts.
If reports are given, the subject and name of the person reporting should be recorded. Only the items and motions are recorded for new or previous business. The names of the directors and how they responded should be recorded during voting.
Minutes are an official record of the association. The document should be placed in a file and retained for seven years.
Your attorney can provide advice about assuring that your board is following the correct procedures and recording minutes appropriately.
Attorney Sylvia Heldreth is a certified specialist in real estate law. Her office is located at 1215 Miramar St., in Cape Coral.
This article is not intended as specific legal advice to anyone and is based upon facts that change from time to time. Individuals should seek legal counsel acting upon any matter involving law.