Handbook 16-AO has conflicting language in regards to distribution of COC minutes. Paragraph 194C (Rev 3) Amendment 5 states “After minutes are reviewed and any corrections made, the chairperson and CED shall: *obtain CED and COC signatures or COC chairperson’s signature for management and CED issues, then email under encryption or mail “to be opened by addressee” to DD, who will forward to the State Office * have Committee review the executive session minutes in executive session and document that they were reviewed in the executive session minutes. However, Paragraph 195A in the note section conflicts Paragraph 194C by stating “Do not wait for approval. If minutes are subsequently revised copies. CED shall clearly identify the revised copies by cover memo.”
Minutes are not official until reviewed and approved. Corrections made before approval are not considered revised minutes, as they have never been initially approved. Until minutes are reviewed and approved by the COC, signed by the chairperson and CED (and DD for CED personnel content), they should not be distributed as official minutes. In the event of a producer appeal or hearing, having unapproved unofficial minutes being distributed could cause major chaos and embarrassment for the agency. It could also result in the agency’ position in an appeal being compromised.
Paragraph 194C states that minutes are the legal and binding record of COC actions. Although minutes should be prepared soon after the meeting, the minutes should never be distributed as official minutes until proper review and approval is completed by the Committee. The “note” Handbook 16-AO Paragraph 195A that begins by stating “Do not wait for approval…” should be removed. It should further be noted that minutes are not considered “revised” until they have been approved and then any needed corrections are made.
NATIONAL OFFICE RESPONSE:
We will be updating the handbook to remove the “Note” about revisions.