Parliamentary Procedure/Signing minutes

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Question
I cannot find in RONR where the person who takes minutes is the signer. I have found that in the absence of the secretary, the body should elect a secretary pro tem. If a secretary pro tem is not elected, but volunteers or is appointed by the secretary or chairman, then is it correct that the volunteer/appointee signs the minutes? Thank you.

Answer
The submitted minutes are a 'report'  

While the secretary has the duty to take notes, write up, and present the minutes to the organization -- if the secretary does not do the minutes, for whatever reason , then whoever prepares the minutes signs them. All this signature means is that they are the author of the proposed minutes.

It is possible that in the absence of a secretary, two or more people might prepare (conflicting) minutes for the same meeting. Each person would sign the minutes they produced and that they want to submit at the following meeting.  If a committee is delegated to create minutes, then everybody on the committee who agreed with the minutes (as reported) would sign them.

Approved minutes

I sense, however, that your question is about who should sign the minutes after they have been approved. Or in other words -- whose signature testifies that these are the officially approved minutes.

Many organizations don't bother with signing the official copy of the approved minutes but it is a good idea to do that - so that it is obvious which copy of the minutes is the officially approved minutes.  There should be only one officially signed copy and this copy should be kept by the secretary.

This is usually done by adding a line to the bottom of the minutes.

Approved: ________________________  Date: _________________.

The person to sign the official copy of the approved minutes will be the person at the meeting (the meeting when the minutes are approved) who has the responsibility and duties of the office of the secretary. This will almost always be the elected secretary (even if that person missed the last meeting and someone else prepared the minutes.)  If the secretary is not there (again!) then the chairman/president has the obligation to appoint (or elect) someone to be secretary pro tempore.  Under RONR the organization must have two officials - a chairman and a secretary - in order to hold the meeting. That appointed/elected person has the responsibility and duties of the secretary (at least temporarily) and therefore that person will signed the approved minutes as part of their office.

Some organizations have the custom that both the secretary and the president sign the officially approved minutes. In this case, there should be two approval lines, one for the secretary and one for the president.  An organization can adopt a standing rule on how they want to signify the official copy of the approved minutes.

Summary

If a person prepares the minutes they will sign the submitted minutes because they are the author of the report. If the organization wants someone to sign the minutes indicating that they have been approved and that this is the official copy of the minutes, the person to do that is the person who is acting as secretary of the meeting when the minutes are approved.  

Parliamentary Procedure

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Loren Kropat

Expertise

Answer auestions on parliamentary procedure and rules of order for organizations. These are the rules by which a deliberative body (private clubs, parliament, legislatures, senates, social organizations, etc.) conduct business. Expertise is primarily in American parliamentary procedure but can answer questions on world-wide deliberative bodies. Research on parliamentary procedure books.

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Professional Registered Parliamentarian.

Organizations
National Association of Parliamentarians, American Institute of Parliamentarians

Education/Credentials
Professional Registered Parliamentarian; Certified Parliamentarian

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