We’ve all been in meetings where we count the minutes, but how often do we stop to think why the minutes count? Minutes are a rough draft of history that can provide value in a host of ways. But before we dive in, let’s answer the big question:
What are meeting minutes?
To put it simply, meeting minutes are notes taken during a meeting. Meeting minutes provide an official record of the decisions made at a board meeting, including actions taken by the board, outcomes of motions, and brief record of items shelved for future meetings. Minutes are not meant to be a transcript of everything that was said. Instead, their purpose is to provide an objective record of the actions taken at the board meeting.
Why are they important?
Board members can change frequently, so it is important for the continuity of the community association to have clear, written records. HOA managers will frequently refer to past meeting minutes, along with their own personal notes, to provide information regarding past discussions and decisions. Both the Texas Property Code and most governing documents require that the board maintain written minutes of each regular and special board meeting.
Who is responsible for recording the minutes?
Typically, the secretary of the association board is responsible for preparing the minutes, though specific duties regarding each board position are outlined in most governing documents. If the secretary is unable to record the minutes, they can delegate this responsibility to another board member or the HOA manager. Allied encourages board members to be responsible for recording minutes managers can remain focused on their duties, which include notes regarding items that will not be in the minutes.
What should the meeting minutes include?
Robert’s Rules of Order details a widely accepted procedure for conducting and recording meetings. The agenda for the meeting can serve as a general outline for the meeting minutes. The minutes need to record, at minimum, the following information:
- Name of the association
- Full date of the meeting
- Start and end time of the meeting
- List of attendees and positions. This includes board members, management company representatives and any third parties such as legal counsel.
- Approval of the prior meeting minutes
- Financial review
- Old business, make sure to include any motions and voting details, if applicable
- New business, make sure to include any motions and voting details, if applicable
- Date, time and location of the next meeting, if available
- Name and signature of the person who wrote the minutes
Contact us to request a meeting minute template that can be customized to fit your association.
What about items discussed in the executive session?
Section 209 of the Texas Property Code states that, “following an executive session, any decision made in the executive session must be summarized orally and placed in the minutes, in general terms, without breaching the privacy of individual owners, violating any privilege, or disclosing information that was to remain confidential at the request of the affected parties.” Care needs to be taken to appropriately record sensitive topics.
How should the minutes be saved?
The Texas Property Code requires that the board keep the record of the minutes. If the association has professional management, then the responsibility is typically delegated to the management company. Since the minutes need to be available to members for inspection, this solution makes matters easier for the association’s secretary. Otherwise, the secretary will be responsible for facilitating requests by homeowners and other stakeholders to access the minutes.
Minutes are the written history of an association that provide continuity across what is often many years. They prevent old arguments from being rehashed, grant insight into board meetings past, and help the board both preserve history and learn from it. Minutes also allow a board to retain their thoughts, insights, and even wisdom for future board members. Now that you know why meeting minutes matter, always be sure someone at your board meeting is keeping minutes!