Once a meeting is called to order by the presiding official and it has been determined that a quorum is present, the next business in order is approving the minutes of the previous meeting(s). Many organization believe, incorrectly, that you can “dispense with the reading of the minutes” and that you never need to review them and subsequently correct/approve them. Since minutes are the official record of an organization (see What are Minutes), the assembly must act on them. This action “certifies” or “makes” the minutes the official record. So minutes need to be considered.
Some organizations read, verbatim, the minutes at the meeting. The presiding officer will say, “The secretary will read the minutes of the previous (or date: May 23rd, 2008) meeting.
The most common practice is to pass out/mail/email the minutes to the members who (should!!) read them ahead of the meeting. In this case the chair would say “You have the minutes before you. Do you wish to have the minutes read?” or “The minutes were sent to you previously. Do you wish to have the minutes read?”
After the minutes are read ( or no one wishes for them to be read), the presiding officer then says “Are there any corrections to the minutes?” It is common (and wrong!!) to hear “Are there any additions or corrections to the minutes?” An addition is a correction and therefore is redundant. Members may be recognized and suggest corrections to the minutes; if there are no objections to the correction they may be included by unanimous consent. Once all of the corrections (if any) are incorporated, the (corrected) minutes may be approved by unanimous consent.
Wording for adoption using unanimous consent:
- Minutes Read. “If there is no objection, the minutes will be approved as read. Since there is no objection, the minutes are approved as read.”
- Printed Minutes. “If there is no objection, the minutes will be approved as rendered. Since there is no objection, the minutes are approved as rendered.”
- Corrected Minutes. “If there is no objection, the minutes will be approved as corrected. Since there is no objection, the minutes are approved as corrected.”
For further information see RONR (11th Ed.) pp. 353-355;468-476; 557; 628