Even if your governing documents do not specifically require your board to follow a particular parliamentary procedure, deliberative bodies are generally bound by certain principles. The most basic is the requirement to keep minutes.
The minutes are the official record of the actions taken at a meeting. Meeting minutes should include certain things, like:
time, method, and place of meeting
how notice was given
the names of those board members attending and if there is a quorum present
record of official actions taken
Sometimes the board may want a more detailed record of its activities--say, for example, if it is considering a major purchase or it knows its decision may expose it to threats of legal action. In that case, the minutes can include statements that the board was fully informed, had a deliberate and detailed discussion, and relied on specific reports or data from its accountants, attorneys, or other experts. Those reports can be attached to the agenda.
This reminder is important because board members sometimes use the minutes as a word-for-word transcript of the meeting, which can end up encouraging people to use the meeting as a platform to give speeches or offer unhelpful editorializing. Comments and speeches usually don't reflect the consensus view anyway. Robert's Rules of Order reminds us that there is no reason to report the details of any debate. Minutes should only record the motion and vote, not the surrounding discussion.
For help creating your board minutes, check out our condensed HOA Handbook Companion here.
Jennifer Winegardner began her legal career in Cleveland, Ohio. She currently practices real estate law in Florida where, according to the Community Association Institute, has more community associations than most states combined.