VFW Post Meeting Minutes by the Book | VFWCT2 Training

SOURCE: VFW Bylaws and Manual of Procedure

The duties of the post adjutant are well detailed in Section 218 (a)(6) of the podium edition of the VFW Manual of Procedure (https://www.vfwstore.org/products/22690)

(6) Adjutant. Among the duties of the Post Adjutant, the Adjutant shall:

  • a. Be the official corresponding officer for the Post and shall attest to all official communications and reports with their signature.
  • b. Under the direction of the Commander, prepare all reports and returns required of the Adjutant.
  • c. Maintain the books and records in a legible and uniform format. Record keeping by electronic means may be used, provided a back-up is maintained. Books and records shall be available for inspection by authorized officers and Post members at all reasonable times. Unless specifically authorized by the Post to remove such books and records from its facilities, they will be kept at the Post facilities.
  • d. The Post Adjutant shall maintain the following records:
    • 1. A copy of the original application of every member admitted to the Post.
    • 2. Minutes of each Post meeting after correction and approval.
    • 3. All current orders or circulars issued by the Commander-in-Chief, the National Council of Administration, the Department Commander, the District and/or County Council Commander (if applicable) and the Post Commander.
    • 4. A correspondence file.
    • 5. A file containing a copy of the proof of eligibility submitted by officers pursuant to Section 216.
  • e. Maintain a current copy of the Bylaws, Manual of Procedure and Ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and copies of the Bylaws of the Post, Department, District and County Council (if applicable).
  • f. Transfer to their successor, without delay, all books, papers, records, monies and other records and property of the Post in their possession or under their control.
  • g. Comply with and perform all duties required of the Adjutant by the laws and usages of this organization, applicable Bylaws and orders from lawful authority and perform such other duties as are incident to such office.

SOURCE: Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition (446) [Updated Oct. 4, 2021]

§48. MINUTES AND REPORTS OF OFFICERS

Minutes

48:1 The official record of the proceedings of a deliberative assembly is usually called the minutes, or sometimes—particularly in legislative bodies—the journal. The minutes should be kept in a substantial book or binder.

48:2 Content of the Minutes. In an ordinary society, the minutes should contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members. The minutes should never reflect the secretary’s opinion, favorable or otherwise, on anything said or done.

48: 4 The first paragraph of the minutes should contain the following information (which need not, however, be divided into numbered or separated items directly corresponding to those below):

  1. the kind of meeting: regular, special, adjourned regular, or adjourned special;
  2. the name of the society or assembly
  3. the date and time of the meeting, and the place, if it is not always the same;
  4. the fact that the regular chairman and secretary were present or, in their absence, the names of the persons who substituted for them; and
  5. whether the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved—as read, or as corrected—and the date of that meeting if it was other than a regular business meeting. Any corrections approved by the assembly is made in the text of the minutes being approved; the minutes of the meeting making corrections merely state that the minutes were approved “as corrected,” without specifying what the correction was (see first paragraph of form, 48:8).

    The body of the minutes should contain a separate paragraph for each subject matter, and should show:
  6. All main motions or motions to bring a main question again before the assembly that were made or taken up — except, normally, any that were withdrawn—stating:
    1. a. the wording in which each motion was adopted or otherwise disposed of (with the facts as to whether the motion may have been debated or amended before disposition being mentioned only parenthetically); and 
    2. a. the disposition of the motion, including —if it was temporarily disposed of—any primary and secondary amendments and all adhering secondary motions that were then pending;
  7. secondary motions that were not lost or withdrawn, in cases where it is necessary to record them for completeness or clarity—for example, motions to Recess or to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn (among the privileged motions), or motions to Suspend the Rules or grant a Request to Be Excused from a Duty (among the incidental motions), generally only alluding to the adoption of such motions, however, as “…the matter having been advanced in the agenda on motion of…” or “a …a ballot vote having been ordered, the tellers…”;
  8. the complete substance of oral committee reports that are permitted to be given in small assemblies in particular case as provided in 51:60-61;
  9. all notices of motions;
  10. all points of order and appeals, whether sustained or lost, together with the reasons given by the chair for his or her ruling; and
  11. the declaration by the chair in “naming” an offending member as part of disciplinary procedures, as well as any disorderly words that led to such naming and that the chair directed the secretary to take down.

    The last paragraph should state:
  12. The hour of adjournment.

48: 5 Additional rules and practices relation to the content of the minutes are the following:

  1. The name of the maker of a main motion should be entered in the minutes, but the name of the seconded should not be entered unless ordered  by the assembly.
  2. a. When a count has been ordered, the number of votes on each side is entered, unless the vote was on a motion that would not otherwise be entered in the minutes.
    b. When the voting is by ballot, the full tellers’ report is entered.
    c. When the voting is by roll call, the names of those voting on each side and those answering “present,” as well as the total number in each category are entered…
  3. The proceedings of a committee of the whole, or a quasi committee of the whole, should not be entered in the minutes, but the fact that the assembly went into committee of the whole (or into quasi committee) and the committee report should be recorded.
  4. When a question is considered informally, the same information should be recorded as under the regular rules, since the only informality in the proceedings is in the debate.
  5. When a committee report is of great importance or should be recorded to show the legislative history of a measure, the assembly can order it “to be entered in the minutes,” in which case the secretary copies it in full in the minutes, or attaches a copy of it to, the minutes.
  6. The name and subject of a guest speaker can be given, but no effort should be made to summarize his remarks

The use by the secretary of a recording device can be of great benefit in preparing the minutes, but a transcription from it should never be used as the minutes themselves. 

48:7 The Signature. Minutes should be signed by the secretary and can also be signed, if the assembly wishes, by the president. The words Respectfully submitted—although occasionally used—represent an older practice that is not essential in signing the minutes.  

48:8 Form of the Minutes. The principles stated above are illustrated in the following model form for minutes:

  • The regular monthly meeting of the L.M. Society was held on Thursday, January 4, 2020, at 8:30 p.m., at the Society’s building, the President being in the chair and the Secretary being present. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved as corrected…

48:14 When the minutes are approved, the word Approved, with the secretary’s initials (or the signature of the chairman of the approving committee) and the date, should be written below them. If the minutes are approved with corrections, the secretary should prepare a fully corrected version and distribute copies to the members as well as placing it in the minute book. (…. all such corrections should be incorporated in the minutes to which they pertain, and not in the minutes of the meeting making the corrections.)

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QUARTERMASTER’S REPORT INFORMATION; TRUSTEES APPROVED

In an effort to improve VFWCT2 district schools of instructions, I prepared a tutorial on “VFW Adjutant Training on VFW Post Meeting Minutes | VFWCT2.” I posted the webpage on the “VFW Post Commanders Discussion Group” on Facebook seeking feedback. 

Dave Staehlin, Minnesota VFW State Parliamentarian, was good to offer some points including, “While reports of audit must be accepted, there should be no vote to accept the Quartermaster’s (treasurer’s) report as it is informational.” 

WHAT?! For five years our post has been accepting the Quartermaster’s Detail of Receipts and Disbursements (No. 4208) with, “I move to accept the Quartermaster’s report subject to audit.” 

Sure enough, Straehlin was on the money. According to Robert’s Rules, “at each meeting of a society, the chair may ask for a “Treasurer’s Report,” which may consist simply of a verbal statement of the cash balance on hand—or of this balance less outstanding obligations. Such a report requires no action by the assembly” (RONR 454). In other words, in the wake of adopting Robert’s Rules and with no VFW post/district/department/national bylaws or Manual of Procedures mandating the acceptance of the Quartermaster’s Detail of Receipts and Disbursements, Form No. 4208, than it is just for information only. 

However, the quarterly Trustees’ Report of Audit (No. 4214) is supposed to be approved. Robert’s says, “it is the auditors’ report which the assembly accepts” (RONR 456). Referencing elected officers known as “trustees,” it says, “if the auditors’ report consists only of an endorsement on the financial report—to the effect that it has been found correct…the treasurer can simply read out this certification as he concludes the presentation of his own report” (RONR 456).

“After the treasurer has made his report to the assembly, the chair states the question on adopting the auditors’ report. The adoption of the auditors’ report has the effect of relieving the treasurer of responsibility for the period covered by his report, except in case of fraud” (RONR 456).

Lastly, if a quartermaster presents an unaudited Trustees’ Report of Audit (No. 4214), the chair immediately says, “The report is referred to the .. Trustees for audit.” (RONR 457).

But as Staehlin wrote about accepting the quartermaster’s report, “In the end, it’s one of those things where there’s no real harm done either way.”

Works Cited

Robert, Henry M., Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th ed., PublicAffairs, 2020

VFW, 2020 National Bylaws and Manual of Procedure, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, 2019

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