Monday, April 23, 2012

Comprehensive Tasks: The Role of the Secretary

The Role of the Secretary
The association secretary is responsible for preserving the association’s history, maintaining its records, and protecting it from liability. The secretary should be efficient, well organized, and have a commitment to the future of the association. Associations with a professional manager can ask the manager to perform some of thesecretarial tasks. 

R E C O R D   M I N U T E S   F O R   A L L   A S S O C I AT I O N   M E E T I N G S
** Board meetings
** Special meetings
** Annual meetings
** Committee meetings

G U I D E L I N E S   F O R   R E C O R D I N G   M I N U T E S
** Record the association’s actions and record why they were taken.
** Preserve board members’ voting records.
** State the authority by which directors take a certain action and cite the documents granting that authority.

T H E   R O L E   O F   T H E   S E C R E TA RY
** Record all matters brought before the board, whether adopted, dismissed without discussion or vote, rejected, deferred, tabled, or simply presented as information.
** Remember that the association’s minutes are official records and admissible as evidence in a court of law.

U S E   S TA N D A R D   L A N G U A G E   F O R   R E C U R R I N G   F U N C T I O N S
Certain functions occur frequently in all meetings. Recording these will be easier if the secretary develops standard language to cover functions such as:
** Call to order by the presiding officer
** Proof of meeting notice or waiver of meeting notice
** Presence or lack of a quorum
** Reading and approval of the previous meeting minutes
** Reading and acceptance of various reports
** Unfinished business
** New business
** Adjournment

A N N O U N C E   M E E T I N G S   A N D   P R E PA R E   A G E N D A S
Notifying board members and association members of meetings is required by law. How and when notice is given is typically stated in the association’s governing documents. Agendas are essential to the success not only of the meeting, but of the association as well.

M A I N TA I N   A S S O C I AT I O N   R E C O R D S
** Store and retrieve association documents as needed.
** Devise an effective filing system, and keep files safe and accessible.
** Identify and categorize all current and stored records.

T H E   R O L E   O F   T H E   S E C R E TA RY 
** Prepare and maintain a retention schedule for document disposal.

W I T N E S S   A N D   V E R I F Y   S I G N AT U R E S
Many associations have policies to safeguard assets that require two signatures on checks or a witness to verify signatures. Generally this responsibility falls to the secretary.

M A I N TA I N   L I S T S
The secretary is responsible for maintaining lists of all association board and committee members, officers, and members, their current mailing address, and voting percentages.

V E R I F Y   P R O X I E S
The secretary accepts and verifies proxies for annual or special membership meetings, and ensures that proxies and ballots are kept in the association’s records. 

F I L E   F O R M S   W I T H   S TAT E   A G E N C I E S
The secretary is responsible for filing certain forms with state agencies. These might include employment forms, incorporation documents, and other official records of theassociation.

M A N A G E   C O R R E S P O N D E N C E
** Route correspondence to appropriate association representatives—manager, office, board member, committee chair, etc.
** Ensure that tone, form, and spelling of all association correspondence reflect positively on the association.

T H E   R O L E   O F   T H E   S E C R E TA RY
*How and when you give notice of a meeting has a direct impact on whether the business conducted at the meeting is legal and binding. 
*It’s important to do it right. Not all association documents are public records. It’s important to know which documents must remain confidential and which must be available to members of the association and others.
*Failing to keep the membership mailing list accurate and current has legal ramifications. It’s important to know why and what to do.

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