The secretary performs a variety of tasks aimed at managing the records and administrative functions of the council. The role has wide-ranging responsibilities, requiring much more than simply being present at all board meetings. He or she is an active conduit for communication to members and other stakeholders by giving proper notice of upcoming meetings and timely distribution of materials such as agendas and meeting minutes. Additionally, the secretary should be knowledgeable of and provide advice and resources to the board and chapter secretaries in your geography on topics such as governance issues, state laws/ reporting requirements, and risk management that will assist them in fulfilling their fiduciary duties.
The council secretary must ensure that the following responsibilities are completed (personally or delegates tasks):
- In conjunction with the executive committee, prepare an agenda for each council meeting and distribute it out to the board, with associated reading materials, in advance of the meeting.
- Attend council meetings in order to prepare and distribute the meeting minutes.
- Meeting minutes are detail reports that highlight the predetermined agenda as well as what actually took place (date, time, attendees), determination of vote eligibility (was there a quorum or not), decision making process (vote tally), action items for individuals, etc…
- After each meeting, send the minutes to the attendees to solicit edits and confirm their accuracy before finalizing them.
- Distribute the previous meeting minutes with the upcoming agenda before each board meeting so that they can be formally approved.
- Retain records. These documents may include:
- Board and committee rosters
- Bylaws & revisions (which can be stored in the Leaders Only Tools section of tu.org)
- Strategic Plan (which can be stored in the Leaders Only Tools section of tu.org)
- Agendas and minutes
- Assist in the communication and correspondence of the board to members and the general public, including notice of your general membership meetings to members as required in your bylaws.
- Support and guide chapter secretaries in your council geography by providing coaching and training opportunities.
- In councils without a membership committee or membership chair, the secretary is expected to maintain and report on the state roster of members and develop statewide membership growth and engagement goals as part of the strategic plan.
- Assist with board member recruitment.
- Assume responsibilities of the chair in the absence of the chair and vice chair.
- In conjunction with the executive and nominating committees, prepare the slate of board nominees for elections as required per your bylaws.
- With the executive committee, become familiar with and understand TU’s risk management and insurance limitations and ensure the council and its chapters are compliant.
- Ensure the council chair lists you as the secretary on the officer roster and council contact information in the Leaders Only Tools section of tu.org.
- Particularly if your council is large enough to file a Form 990, ensure that you have the proper controls in place such as a document retention policy, conflict of interest form and whistle blower policy and that you’ve shared the Form 990 with your entire council board.
- Ensure donations to your council are properly acknowledged.
- Consider appointing an assistant secretary, the membership committee chair is often a good choice, such that you are transferring knowledge to a successor at an early stage and have someone ready and willing to step in to take the minutes if you can’t be at every meeting.
- Consider assisting chapter secretaries in your council area by welcoming them in their new role as well as facilitating communication among chapter secretaries to learn from one another and build interest in council leadership opportunities.