Author Topic: Meetings and Minutes  (Read 2255 times)

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Pippen

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Meetings and Minutes
« on: October 13, 2012, 11:04:56 PM »
I had to take the minutes at a body corporate meeting for my parents building today and am just about to type them up. Now a goodly part of the issues and the majority of the meeting was spent discussing problems relating to one particular owner who did not attend. The general concensus is she is a PITA and all the things she want are unreasonable and just aren't going to happen. It is going to be very difficult to record the discussion and actions without having to make repeated references to the fact she is not getting any joy on her issues and also that she needs to make immediate payment of her overdue fees. The whole thing is pretty heavily weighted against her.

It's not really up to me to soften the blow but I really don't want to record what was said regarding the justifications for the groups decisions as I know this person socially. Rock. Hard place. Let me introduce you.

Is it OK for me to omit some of the finer points and focus on more general issues and outcomes? This person takes offense when people disagree with her no one wants to wind her up but the view seemed to be that this document is required to get her to pull her head in on a number of things.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2012, 11:11:56 PM »
Pippen, this question may be better directed at your corporate lawyer.

But I will tell you that the minutes for our corporate meetings are a summary/highlights.  If we were to include every repetition and side discussion, they'd be 100 pages long, double-spaced.

camlan

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2012, 11:16:02 PM »
You do not need to detail the entire discussion, unless that is a standard practice that has been going on for a while, or there are legal reasons for doing so.

I'd stick to the issue and the decision, in very plain, matter-of-fact language.


Item 2. Mrs. Smith requested that no music be played in the building after 10 pm. Request denied.

Item 16. Overdue fees. The following people will be sent notice that their overdue fees must be paid in two weeks: Mrs. Smith.


See if you can look at some of the previous minutes to see how similar difficult situations have been handled in the past.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Pippen

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2012, 11:30:41 PM »
Pippen, this question may be better directed at your corporate lawyer.

But I will tell you that the minutes for our corporate meetings are a summary/highlights.  If we were to include every repetition and side discussion, they'd be 100 pages long, double-spaced.

Like the notes I took! Ha ha. These ones need a little bit more detail in them as there are some overseas owners who send in their votes by proxy but like to be kept informed on the situation. Not a huge amount but a bit more than would be usual if it was going out to only those in attendance. They have said in the past they didn't quite understand some of the issues fully and requested a bit more detail.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2012, 01:15:51 AM »
It's your responsibility in the minutes to document the decisions made by the group - not necessarily the route taken to get there.  So if the decision is to make sure Member X pays their dues already, the minutes might say "to ensure all dues are paid" or "to ensure members who are late on dues get caught up" or some similarly generic thing which nonetheless can be interpreted correctly by someone who knows the problem.

It is NOT your responsibility to catch up the overseas owners on all the gossip/infighting/drama going on, whether or not it concerns the owner who is your friend.  If there's a tactful way to be accurate in the minutes, that's great, but if not it's better to go for tact than for accuracy - especially if the general tone of the meeting was spiteful and would have been different if that member had been there.  If the overseas owners are confused by the minutes, they can ask for clarification on an individual basis.

mechtilde

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2012, 01:35:12 AM »
A lot of it depends on your "House style", as to what is acceptable.

Could you maybe discuss it with the chair, or circulate a draft to those present before publishing to see if anyone wants anything omitted? (I sometimes had to omit certain things for reasons of confidentiality when I minuted for a charities discussion group)
NE England

Pippen

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2012, 01:54:27 AM »
It's your responsibility in the minutes to document the decisions made by the group - not necessarily the route taken to get there.  So if the decision is to make sure Member X pays their dues already, the minutes might say "to ensure all dues are paid" or "to ensure members who are late on dues get caught up" or some similarly generic thing which nonetheless can be interpreted correctly by someone who knows the problem.

It is NOT your responsibility to catch up the overseas owners on all the gossip/infighting/drama going on, whether or not it concerns the owner who is your friend.  If there's a tactful way to be accurate in the minutes, that's great, but if not it's better to go for tact than for accuracy - especially if the general tone of the meeting was spiteful and would have been different if that member had been there.  If the overseas owners are confused by the minutes, they can ask for clarification on an individual basis.

It wasn't spiteful, more like resigned to ongoing drama and shutting it down. You have put it nicely in balancing tact and accuracy which is exactly the situation. One of the reasons we want to pad it out a bit is that the company who does the administration has had it up to here with this person as well and has basically said they no longer feel inclined to have the BC as a client if it involves dealing with her so we are trying to keep them happy until we can find a replacement. Dealing with the overseas owners without involving the admin company is some small way we can try and ease the burden in the amount of communication and double working. They have taken on a lot more than was required and normally the  communications would be up to them to handle.

Ms Aspasia

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2012, 08:08:37 AM »
In my state (Victoria), you can obtain this kind of advice by phoning the Consumer Affairs organisation.  This organisation coordinates the policies for Owner's Corporations (Body Corporate), and advises on management issues such as meetings.   

MrTango

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2012, 03:17:20 PM »
I just finished a 4-year term as Secretary of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit.

"Discussion followed." was a favorite.  Or, "The board discussed {Topic}."

As long as there weren't any motions, votes, or decisions actually made during the discussion, you can probably be pretty vague.

amandaelizabeth

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 12:24:32 AM »
" After a through discussion the matter was put to the vote and the vote was carried/lost.  Mrs Smith to be notified of the decision by secretary in writing"

Off topic did you feel the earthquake.  I was on the phone to my mother and she said it was a big jolt.

shadowfox79

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 06:21:08 AM »
As others have said - it's all about recording the decisions.

A cartoon at my workplace showed a meeting where the delegates were engaged in a ferocious wrestling match while the secretary blithely wrote down "Concerns were expressed..." That's not far off what happens at our meetings, either.

TootsNYC

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 01:29:28 PM »
Another vote to indicate that it's not about recording the discussion, in fact that might be inappropriate. And is almost certainly unwise, especially as there might be some negative feelings.

Trying to record someone's complicated point accurately is not fair to them.

Record motions, seconds, and votes.
That's all that's necessary, I think.
Remember that the minutes are, in a way, a legally binding document, and they need to be as non-distracting as possible.

(though it might be smart to check w/ someone more expert about what's required for your corporation)

As for the overseas owners wanting more background and explanations--they should get these from individuals, not from the official minutes of the board.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 01:30:01 PM »
When our AA is away, I take the minutes of our monthly meetings for her.  Except she calls them 'seconds' rather than 'minutes' because I put in far too much detail.   :)

I like the last four posters suggestions for giving an overview without too much detail.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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Yvaine

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Re: Meetings and Minutes
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 01:33:34 PM »
I just finished a 4-year term as Secretary of the Board of Directors for a nonprofit.

"Discussion followed." was a favorite.  Or, "The board discussed {Topic}."

As long as there weren't any motions, votes, or decisions actually made during the discussion, you can probably be pretty vague.

YES! "Discussion followed" is my best friend!  ;D