It is very important that the minutes of the county commission be accurate, be reviewed, and be formally approved by the county legislative body. The minutes are required to be promptly and fully recorded and open to public inspection in the clerk’s office. They must include a record of persons present, all motions, proposals and resolutions offered, the results of any vote taken, and a record of individual votes in the event of roll call.  All votes of the County Commission must be public; no secret votes or secret ballots can be taken T.C.A. § 8-44-104. Each member's vote regarding the appointment process shall be recorded by the clerk and entered on the minutes of the county legislative body. T.C.A. § 5‑5‑111(e). The minutes are the only record of the meeting that will be used if a question arises concerning what happened at the meeting and that will be recognized by a court.

Members of the county legislative body can greatly assist the county clerk in preparation of the minutes by ensuring that all resolutions are presented in writing. This will ensure that the resolution is recorded in the minutes in the proper format and will speed the process of approving and correcting the minutes. However, resolutions that are not presented in writing will have to be reduced to writing by the county clerk.

The minutes should contain what was done by the body and not necessarily what was said by each member. As a general rule the minutes of the County Commission are written in third person and contain the following information:

  1. Date, place, and time of the meeting and whether the meeting was a regular or special meeting.
  2. Names of the members in attendance and those not in attendance.
  3. Approval or correction of the minutes of the previous meeting.
  4. Motions and proposals made, along with amendments, the name of the maker, and the vote on the motions.  (Motions withdrawn do not have to be included.)
  5. Resolutions adopted in full.  Resolutions not presented in writing must be reduced to writing by the County Clerk and included in the minutes.
  6. Actual vote of each member on roll call votes and “approved by voice vote” or “disapproved by voice vote” for simple voice vote.  A count of the votes should be included when voting is done by a show of hands.
  7. Summaries or written reports appended to the minutes for committee reports.
  8. Committee appointments, elections to fill vacancies or other appointments, and confirmations of appointments.
  9. Any special provision required for compliance, such as a two-thirds vote.
  10. A notation if the meeting is also serving as a public hearing on an issue.
  11. Any other matter directed by the body to be included in the minutes.
  12. Time of adjournment.

The approved minutes should be signed by the chair of the county legislative body and the County Clerk.  Rough minutes should be retained until the actual minutes are approved, and then may be destroyed.  Minutes are kept as permanent records in a minute book which should be well bound and have numbered pages.  A method of topical indexing to find minutes of previous meetings should be kept.  Under TCA 10-7-121, the minutes may be maintained in electronic format instead of bound books or paper records, as long as the requirements of that statute are met.