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Poll results: Your minutes please?

Voters
27. You may not vote on this poll
  • I do a transcript - he said/she said kind of thing

    2 7.41%
  • I put who was there and what they voted on and that's it

    1 3.70%
  • I do a discussion points and a record of the vote

    17 62.96%
  • I do something in between

    3 11.11%
  • Um, minutes?

    4 14.81%
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Thread: Minutes

  1. #1
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Minutes

    What is the style of your minutes?

    My way is to have them be generally descriptive - to show how a hearing progressed and what generally was agreed upon, what the conflicted issues were, and ultimately what the vote is - so somebody 30 years from now generally knows how a decision came to be

    I don't do a transcript. My Planning Board likes a hybrid whereas you get some direct quotes and then some generalities - they are 16 pages long for a 4 hour meeting - i don't have the staff time to dedicate to that level of record keeping -

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Our minutes are a general description of the application, the staff report, Board members comments, abutter testimony, and a record of the votes.

    Our department secretary types them up off the cd or dvd produced by the cable access center. (no more audio tapes in the new facility).
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Yuck, I hate doing minutes but occasionally have to, when the admin assistant is out for any reason. At least when it was P&Z I had a tape to rely on. With our trails committee, it's all handwritten notes (sometimes while I'm running the meeting and presenting, as well; there's a challenge).

    Anyway, I try to hit the main points of discussion with no direct quotes. But I never use that phrase dreaded by anyone who reads the minutes in the future: "Discussion ensued". Our admin assistant on this team has followed suit, so our minutes are now of vastly higher quality.

  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I do summary minutes, but I think the notion of summary minutes is silly. If something can be recorded by electronic media why shouldn't THAT serve as the record?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  5. #5
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I do summary minutes, but I think the notion of summary minutes is silly. If something can be recorded by electronic media why shouldn't THAT serve as the record?
    I would love if that were the case, but alas, our state laws don't allow for it.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    My minutes last 60 seconds generally... Oh wait...I think we're talking about other minutes right?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Discussion points and a record of the vote. Unless there’s an appeal, then verbatim.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Obviously not encumbered with public sector responsibility, but this Bear does an ample job of note-taking that morphs (after review) into legible and quite accurate MINUTES.

    I have a strange technique, but it works for me. As a meeting is cooking I will scribble the important notes, thoughts, presentations, references, etc. on legal pad paper. When I do this the notes are scattered all over the page, in all directions, my own personal shorthand "lingo", etc.

    When I get back to review these notes my memory bank (even at my ripe old age) kicks in and I transfer the notes into MINUTES. Perhaps because of my long-winded tendancies I am pretty good at this. You could also figure out that this Bear's workplace is missing some fundamental writing skills, so a "C" student can easily be at the head of the class.

    Bear's Rules
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Matter of fact Budgie and I were discussing that very point today. He is a verbatum(Sp?) kind of guy. I on the other hand am an occasional quote but general lines of discussion and the vote. I have followed Bugie in office and have had a terrible time with a board that was expecting everything and got a more reduced form.

    Once again I am training a new board that has been accustomed to transcripts. Of course it was an issue. My explination is that there is a recording. The County Commissioners don't have transcripts and they are running an entire county, the planning board is an advisory board, why would they need transcripts?
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    My minutes last 60 seconds generally... Oh wait...I think we're talking about other minutes right?
    Yes and 60 of them in a degree

  11. #11
    Very brief and always includes thos ewho spoke and about what, discussion, staff report/recommendations and the motion/second and any conditions or stipulations. If a transcription is desired, the requestor can pay for it. We get more detailed if a writ of certiorari seems imminent.

    I never use direct quotes.
    Je suis Charlie

  12. #12
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    For the Plan Commission, we use verbatim.

    For Zoning Board of Appeals, we use more general transcribed minutes (not word for word, but modified direct quotes.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    I would love if that were the case, but alas, our state laws don't allow for it.
    So it is acceptable for a person to write them and mess them up, but it is not ok for video copy that accurately represent what was said!

    I love this legal system.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  14. #14
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    So it is acceptable for a person to write them and mess them up, but it is not ok for video copy that accurately represent what was said!

    I love this legal system.
    We can keep the audo recordings as backup, but there must be written minutes according to the NH State Statutes.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  15. #15
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner
    We can keep the audo recordings as backup, but there must be written minutes according to the NH State Statutes.
    Do you have a legal transcriptionest who does them, or does staff?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  16. #16
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Do you have a legal transcriptionest who does them, or does staff?
    No transcriptions, just general discussion and the votes are in the minutes. Audio has to be kept for 1 year.

    Our ZBA does transcriptions, but the Planning Board does not. I'd guess that 95% of NH Planning Boards do not do transcriptions.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    In our office we have had the same secretary (for 14 yrs) transcibe our meeting tapes.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Very brief and always includes thos ewho spoke and about what, discussion, staff report/recommendations and the motion/second and any conditions or stipulations. If a transcription is desired, the requestor can pay for it. We get more detailed if a writ of certiorari seems imminent.

    I never use direct quotes.
    That's the way we do it. If people want a verbatim, we charge for it. We also allow people to listen to the cd record of the actual hearing.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    We do what we have time for. Usually it is a "John testified that he was against the kennel. Commissioner Jane asked him whether he hated dogs, and John said he was alergic to them."

    Sometimes it's just "Discussion ensued."

    We just had two five-hour hearings in a row (on an appeal of a permit for a sign for a pron shop). Those minutes will be of the "hese are the people who testified, discussion ensued" type because the person who does the minutes is the only clerical person for the planning department.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis
    We do what we have time for. Usually it is a "John testified that he was against the kennel. Commissioner Jane asked him whether he hated dogs, and John said he was alergic to them."

    Sometimes it's just "Discussion ensued."

    We just had two five-hour hearings in a row (on an appeal of a permit for a sign for a pron shop). Those minutes will be of the "hese are the people who testified, discussion ensued" type because the person who does the minutes is the only clerical person for the planning department.
    Does your Board freak when they get this though - that's my problem, I want a more descriptive set of minutes (especially now that we are on TV) but when the board gets them, I get, wait you didn't put in what I said, etc etc -

    as if...

  21. #21
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian
    Does your Board freak when they get this though ...
    No, because we only use personal names with those that testify, and to identify the members for motion; second; and vote. So, if Ms. Pedestrian, a Commissioner asks a question, we would not quote her. Rather, we phrase the response in terms of "...in response to a question from the Commission, Mr. Gedunker denied the store will sell pron...".

    Of course, our members average age is about 65 and their collective memories are just "okay".
    Je suis Charlie

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I tend to do them verbatim for a number of reasons.
    • Verbatim minutes help if there is a legal challenge;
    • I'm a "transparency in government" kinda guy;
    • Come in handy when someone is misquoted in the paper; and
    • Helps staff document specific findings of the board.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  23. #23
         
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    Writing minutes?? I write the otion, who made it and the vote. Thats it...I am so bad at taking minutes I keep hoping if there isn't enough info in them they will eventually find someone else to write them

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