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When You Are the Secretary

by Linda Coverdale, ATM-B, 1998 – 1999 Division C Governor

The duties of a secretary are

  1. To maintain an accurate membership roster and also record the attendees at each meeting.
    1. It’s helpful to keep in communication with the treasurer to know who is a member in good standing, as well as information on. any new members.
    2. Keep in contact with the members to know if all addresses, phones and fax numbers are correct. Things change. I liked to announce at a meeting when it was time to do a new roster, and solicit information.
    3. At our club, we have a standard format that the secretary fills out so that, hopefully, no info gets missed. The back has a listing for roll call. A copy of it is in the appendix of your magazine. Our club gives an award every six months for exemplary attendance. The secretary has that info, as well as the functions, large and small, performed at each meeting, and by whom. More awards.
  2. To record and read the minutes of club meetings and executive meetings. Don’t do what I saw at one meeting. The secretary stood up and said, “Nothing happened. We didn’t have a business meeting.” I had to stand and remind her that it’s not only the business portion of the meeting that is recorded, but also who was Toastmaster, who led table topics, who was the general evaluator, who won table topics, who gave the prepared speeches, who evaluated, and who won the awards (etc.). Make sure to record club attendance at each meeting as well as recording the number and names of guests. Also necessary is to record any motions made, who seconded the motion, any amendments, and whether or not it was passed, or tabled till the next meeting. Of course, it then becomes “unfinished business.” (When operating by parliamentary procedure, there is no such thing as “old business.”)
  3. To have at least a nodding acquaintance with parliamentary procedure. There is a short, concise version of Robert’s Rules of Order that is useful for a club to own.
  4. To help the President prepare the semi-annual report, membership roster, and dues, to be received by World Headquarters. They have to be submitted before October 10, and April 10. If they are submitted by October 1 and April 1, your club will win a ribbon for the “Early Bird Award". Don’t send in dues for someone who has not renewed. If they do not renew again soon, your club will lose money. A listing of the current membership, according to TI records will be sent to the president. Corrections and additions must be made on that form. Again, up to date communication with the treasurer of the club will help you know who is current in your club, and whose membership has expired.
  5. To submit the names and addresses of new officers to World headquarters within ten days of elections. Also, in District One, the secretary should send the same list to the current Directory Editor.
  6. To prepare and mail orders for Toastmaster supplies. It’s worthwhile to check at executive meetings to see if the VP-M needs new literature to give guests or new members, and also with the Sergeant-at-Arms to see if new ballots or ribbons (if your club uses them) are needed.
  7. To keep the Club Constitution and By-Laws. They will probably be in the kit that was handed to you by the previous club secretary. If they are not, find out who has them.
  8. To maintain general club correspondence,
  9. e.g. the bank, the post office box, sympathy cards, thank you notes, etc. Keep all correspondence in an orderly file. All correspondence is an important Club historical record and should be carefully maintained.
  10. To circulate TIPS, the Supply Catalogue, and The Toastmaster magazine. TI publishes a newsletter for Club Officers called TIPS. It is a useful publication, which contains important information, including ideas for club programming and membership building. The Supply catalogue is also useful and has any number of interesting items that any member is allowed to purchase. Of course, the Toastmaster magazine comes with every membership but it is nice to have some on hand at the meeting for new members or guests to browse through. Or leave some at your local Chamber of Commerce office with a note about the location and time of the club meeting, and who to contact. You could gain new members this way.

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