Taking minutes at a board meeting is not as easy as it may seem.
How detailed do the minutes need to be? What statements are unnecessary to include that may put your association at risk for future legal action? And how should the information be accurately recorded?
Since meeting minutes are one of the most important documents for your condominium association, it’s crucial that they are done right. Here are five important tips to keep in mind when minute-taking at an upcoming board meeting.
Determining When Minutes are Needed
There are meetings big and small that will happen regularly at your condominium building.
Legally, only meetings when the board conducts association business that necessities voting must be properly recorded. In addition to owners’ meetings, all regular and special board of directors’ meetings must include minute-taking. These minutes must include all board votes and abstentions.
Eliminating Unnecessary Information
Board meetings can quickly get off-track – and that’s when minute-taking can stop.
Minutes are intended to record any actions taken by directors and/or members, not record verbatim everything that was said.
An association’s minutes can be brought to light in litigation, so it’s crucial that these minutes are official and accurate. All important matters should be recorded into a summary of the proceedings, which should be approved by the condominium’s board of directors.
Once approved, the secretary should destroy any notes used in the preparation of the minutes.
Including Items of Importance
Prior to the meeting, a written agenda should be distributed to all invited attendees. Not only does this provide a guideline for the meeting, but it will assist the recording secretary with documenting each item of business. All minutes recorded should be succinct and illustrate the key points only.
Arguments are bound to happen on specific issues. Ensure they’re recorded only if a board member requests his/her position to be documented.
When legal expertise is necessary, have resolutions drafted in advance by a lawyer so that complex matters can be clarified.
Any abstentions due to conflicts of interest should be recorded.
In addition, meeting minutes should confirm that a quorum was present, that there was adequate notice of the meeting and that any unapproved meetings were discarded. Unfinished business, new business and adjournment are also key points to include.
When closed meetings occur (ie. for litigation matters), minutes can be recorded sparingly so that any confidential details aren’t improperly disclosed.
Creating Permanent Records of Association Business
Board and owner meetings are an integral part of creating a respectful, collaborative condominium culture. Taking the time to properly record the meeting minutes can save time at upcoming meetings, guide the future of your condo building and reduce your organization’s exposure to liability.
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By Sarah McKenzie