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Thread: Taking minutes at a board meeting?

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    Taking minutes at a board meeting?

    A boring procedural question for all you municipal planners. Who takes minutes at your planning board and zoning board meetings? Do you record the meetings? And are there any boards out there that record the meetings and then use those recordings to create the minutes after the meeting rather than have someone takes notes for the purposes of minutes at the meeting? Any thoughts as to whether or not it is a good idea to rely on an audio recording?

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by makingplans View post
    A boring procedural question for all you municipal planners. Who takes minutes at your planning board and zoning board meetings? Do you record the meetings? And are there any boards out there that record the meetings and then use those recordings to create the minutes after the meeting rather than have someone takes notes for the purposes of minutes at the meeting? Any thoughts as to whether or not it is a good idea to rely on an audio recording?
    We have a preset form established to record action on each agenda items, but then rely on audio recordings to garner significant information for inclusion into the minutes following the meeting date. If you have a reliable recording system, it can be a huge asset, since it either (a) lessens overtime costs to have a management assistant or someone in a similar position be forced to attend the meeting, or (b) it frees up valuable staff to be able to participate more in the meeting discussion without worrying about who said what and having time to jot it down.

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Our Admin Assistant takes notes during the meetings, and supplements her notes with the audio recording (on CD) from the cable access feed.

    If needed, we can also get the meetings on DVD as well to assist in the preparation of the minutes.
    "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

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Our admin assistant is the secretary of both our boards. She does the minutes and uses the recorded transcript (which is digital) to help add anything she misses.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Thanks! Now a couple of follow-up questions:

    If the person who takes the minutes uses a recording to create minutes, do you know about how long does it generally takes to get the minutes done (a day? a couple of hours?)? Any thoughts as to whether this is more or less efficient than having someone take notes right on a laptop during the meeting?

    Does anyone use voice recognition software (eg Dragon Naturallyspeaking) in conjunction with audio recordings of meetings?

    And finally, how many paid staff attend your meetings?

    The reason I am asking these questions is that I am trying to figure out how to make our dept. of efficient as possible. Currently, three paid staff attend our planning and zoning meetings: the dir. of planning, assistant dir of planning, and board counsel. No one takes minutes at the meeting -we use the audio recording to create them after the fact. I am wondering if this is the most efficient way to proceed. Perhaps we should have an admin. assistant attend just for the purposes of taking minutes. And maybe we should have just the dir. of planning or just the asst director of planning at the meeting - two prof. staff might be overkill. Thoughts?

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by makingplans View post
    Thanks! Now a couple of follow-up questions:

    If the person who takes the minutes uses a recording to create minutes, do you know about how long does it generally takes to get the minutes done (a day? a couple of hours?)? Any thoughts as to whether this is more or less efficient than having someone take notes right on a laptop during the meeting?

    Does anyone use voice recognition software (eg Dragon Naturallyspeaking) in conjunction with audio recordings of meetings?

    And finally, how many paid staff attend your meetings?

    The reason I am asking these questions is that I am trying to figure out how to make our dept. of efficient as possible. Currently, three paid staff attend our planning and zoning meetings: the dir. of planning, assistant dir of planning, and board counsel. No one takes minutes at the meeting -we use the audio recording to create them after the fact. I am wondering if this is the most efficient way to proceed. Perhaps we should have an admin. assistant attend just for the purposes of taking minutes. And maybe we should have just the dir. of planning or just the asst director of planning at the meeting - two prof. staff might be overkill. Thoughts?
    I think timing depends on how good your recording secretary is. With good prep our admin gets it done by noon the next day. I would imagine that it is different with every person. Personally I like having our admin ast. there as well as use the record to finish the minutes. I like having another set of ears from the office remembering what was said, how it was dealt with, and the intent.

    Our office has at least two staff at each meeting, sometimes three. We have staff for each board and the admin ast. and depending on the case another staff or higher up. Unless it is needed, we try and allow everyone to go home at night.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    I attend the meetings and I take the minutes. We are a department of one with no clerical help. Our minutes are very basic and give a brief summary of discussion and any motion. Most of the time minutes take up less than one page.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by makingplans View post
    Thanks! Now a couple of follow-up questions:

    If the person who takes the minutes uses a recording to create minutes, do you know about how long does it generally takes to get the minutes done (a day? a couple of hours?)? Any thoughts as to whether this is more or less efficient than having someone take notes right on a laptop during the meeting?
    Our admin asst uses her laptop during the meeting. By state law, we have 5 working days to complete draft minutes. Typically, our are done within a day or two from the meeting date.

    Does anyone use voice recognition software (eg Dragon Naturallyspeaking) in conjunction with audio recordings of meetings?
    No.

    And finally, how many paid staff attend your meetings?
    At the first meeting of the month (new development applications) staff is myself (Town Planner), Asst. Director of Public Works & Engineering, and the admin asst. At the second meeting of the month (long range planning, ordinances/regulations) it is the same staff plus the Community Development Director and occasionally the DPW Director (depending on the agenda).
    "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

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