Last updated: April 28, 2022

4 Tips for Municipal Clerks to Simplify Meeting Minutes

Whether it’s preparing agendas and arranging meetings or processing payroll and managing records, municipal clerks have one of the most multifaceted jobs in government, requiring lots of knowledge and responsibility in multiple areas.
Posted by GovOS Team
Municipal Clerks Entering Meeting Minutes Online

Municipal clerks are the unsung heroes of government and often don’t get the recognition they deserve. While governments certainly can and arguably should reduce the workload of clerks, there are some things clerks can do on their own to lighten the load.

Government meeting minutes are a great place to start. Take a look at these tips for meeting minutes and see which ones you can implement to simplify this often time-consuming task.

Use Templates

Having templates on hand for the different meetings you’re tasked with taking notes for will save a lot of time, making this one of the best tips for meeting minutes. It’s also one of the easiest solutions to reduce the work you’re doing for government meeting minutes. Depending on your region, there may be different requirements for what needs to be included in the finalized minutes. However, most will include the following:

    • Date and time
    • Location
    • Who is in attendance
    • Meeting agenda
    • Key issues discussed
    • Motions proposed, motions accepted, and motions rejected
    • What is voted on and by whom
    • Activities that need to be undertaken and next steps

Just like every region doesn’t have the same requirements, the same format won’t work for every person. So, play around with template tools to create ones that works best for you and your agency. You can find plenty of templates online for inspiration.

Don’t Make Minutes Too Specific

Meeting-Minutes-Template-ExampleConsidering government meeting minutes aren’t expected to be overly detailed, this is one of the more obvious tips for meeting minutes, but it’s still important to discuss as there can be some confusion about what to include and what not to include. 

Government meeting minutes should provide a summary of what happened with a sentence or two for each item, and you may be able to avoid notating direct quotations or every detail of a conversation. Instead, you can likely summarize what was said and if attendees discuss something that wasn’t on the agenda, just simply note “time was provided for attendees to discuss items not on the agenda.” 

Of course, you don’t want to be too vague either. Work with your municipal association to find out the specific requirements, and you’ll know where the line is.

Automate Where You Can

The world is moving towards automation, and so should you. Automation can save you a lot of valuable time when note-taking for government meetings, and you can even create your own tools on Microsoft Office applications like Excel and Word.

Cut Down on Meeting Length

Shortening meeting length will give you more time back in your day so you can focus on other important tasks, and that’s what these tips for meeting minutes are all about. If you find that your meetings often go off track and members often spend time discussing things that aren’t on the agenda, bring this up to them. 

When done right, municipal minutes can increase the amount of civic engagement in your community and strengthen trust between citizens and government, and as a clerk, you play an important role here. These tips for meeting minutes will help you improve your process so meeting minutes don’t take up too much of your precious time.

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