Absent members don’t negatively impact meetings, council member says


Council meetings are the foundation of the council’s decision-making process regarding student funds.
Due to academic and personal reasons, council members are not always able to attend council meetings. These absences do not affect the council meetings negatively, according to Eliot Collins, director of Student Affairs of Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College.
“There is less discussion in the public forum,” Collins said regarding meetings with absent council members. “But I would not go as far as to say that the decision hasn’t had the full attention.”
Members who are unable to attend a meeting can “vote by proxy,” meaning they cast their vote prior to the meeting and choose a representative to voice their vote to the council, according to Collins.
Collins has attended every council meeting for the 2012-2013 council term and believes full attendance happens.
“A guesstimation,” Collins explained, “would be at least 80 percent of the time, [the meetings have] full council attendance.”
If members are voting by proxy, they have already reviewed the information for funding requests, the line items to be discussed, and given their vote on each, according to Collins.
“The information is reviewed prior to members going into the meeting, so I would guess that members have a pretty clear view of what they are giving a proxy vote on.”

Meeting minutes

Meeting minutes provide historical documentation of these council decisions, according to Collins. He has kept the meeting minutes for the 2012-2013 council since the beginning of the council year fall 2012.
“It’s a historical record,” Collins said, “so it is very important.”
Minutes are posted on student news and the council bulletin board after each council meeting. These are the shorthand version of what was discussed at council meetings, Collins explained.
“It’s not the full dialogue,” Collins explained, “just shorthand notes detailing pass/no pass as well as specific details that seem pertinent to the decision.”
At the beginning of the council year, members receive training on being public officials and discuss different forms of keeping meeting minutes, according to Taran Underdal, ASCOCC advisor.
“They do get formalized training,” Underdal said. “There are also historical documents that they can go through; there are conferences they can attend to seek additional training.”
In addition to taking notes throughout the meeting, Collins records the audio from each council meeting for accuracy when transcribing minutes. These recordings are kept on the council’s shared drive and are accessible to any student.
All of the recordings and paper meeting minutes from the beginning of the 2012 council year are still available to students, according to Collins.
“I have no idea how long the regulations are to keep those,” Collins said. “I’m not deleting them.”
These documents are important historical records that could potentially guide future councils, according to Underdal.
“From our standpoint,” Underdal explained, “it’s great to have [meeting minutes] so other council members coming in can find information about what things were voted in, and why.”

–Molly Svendsen


The Broadside

(Contact: msvendsen@cocc.edu)


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