The effectiveness of the chapter depends, to a large extent, upon prompt attention to the duties of the office of Secretary. The Secretary should communicate periodically with National Headquarters in order to be knowledgeable about what materials are available from Headquarters and see that they are used properly and not wastefully. It is the Secretary who requests diploma seals, completes the Application for New Member Certificates, etc. The specific duties of the Secretary are listed below:
Keeping Membership Records
It is of crucial importance that a correct roster of membership be kept by the Secretary. 4″ x 6″ Information Cards are available from Headquarters. Each student should fill one out when he or she becomes a member. The member’s name should be stated exactly as it is to be shown on the Membership Certificate (and similarly inserted on the Application for New Members’ Certificate Form). The cards are kept in the chapter’s file. These cards can be placed in an active file in alphabetical order and new ones added as other members are inducted. Each card removed from the active file should have listed on the back the date and reason for removal (graduated, transferred to…, left school, nonpayment of dues, etc.) National Headquarters should be advised of these removals promptly as they occur.
The back of the information card may also be used to record the member’s attendance or absence at chapter meetings. A dependable record of attendance is important in any organization’s records; especially in those having a rule that a member is dropped after a specified number of unexcused absences. Such a record not only establishes a member’s interest and effectiveness, but it is also a pertinent factor in the member’s fitness for positions of leadership. Many companies and governmental agencies are as interested in a person’s regular and punctual attention to duty as they are in scholastic achievements. If your chapter employs a “point system,” the back of the card will probably not be large enough, and a printed sheet of paper will need to be designed and used. Several weeks before each graduation, the Secretary should sent to Headquarter a Request for Diploma Seals Form, (Appendix ). The name of each member graduating in good standing in the chapter must be given. The seal, along with an invitation letter to join the Alumni Association, will be sent to the Secretary for distribution to each graduating member. If your school has a graduation at the end of the summer, be sure to take care of the request before leaving in the spring. Also, before graduation, the Secretary should find out if any members are transferring, if so, their names, home addressee, and the school they will be attending should be sent to National Headquarters as part of the Chapter Report. Use the Notification of Transferring Members Form.
When new members are to be inducted, the Secretary will use their information cards to create a file that can be sent to the National Headquarters. Make sure to include your induction date and a physical mailing address that UPS can deliver to. The “Application” should be emailed, postmarked, or faxed, ten business days (Monday-Friday) prior to the induction date to permit Headquarters time to complete an Induction Packet for each new member and return these to the chapter by the induction date. Each Packet will include a welcome letter from the National Executive Director, copy of the Code of Ethics, a lapel pin, a ballpoint pen, a membership card, two GBP decals. The chapter can insert, in the Induction Packet, a copy of the Chapter Bylaws and the Membership Certificate. Other material pertinent to the chapter may be put in the packet if the chapter desires. These Induction Packets should be presented to the new members at the time of his or her induction. The certificates will be sent to the chapter directly from our printer. It is requested that the chapter’s New Member List file/form be received at the National Headquarters ten days prior to the induction date.
The Secretary must take careful notes of the proceedings of the meeting, prepare the minutes, certify their correctness, and enter them in the official minutes book. The minutes should set forth the time and place of meeting, state the general purpose, and the main item of business discussed. The exact wording of each motion is needed, along with the name of the person moving it, and whether it carried of failed. There should be a clear record of any motion that was discussed at a subsequent meeting, or of any unfinished business.
During the business session, the Secretary should read the minutes of the preceding meeting for correction or approval. Any correction must be entered into the minutes book and initialed. The Secretary attests with his or her signature that the minutes have been approved by the members as the official minutes and should record the date of approval. If the Internal Revenue Service performs an audit of the chapter, copies of the minutes will be requested. The minutes should be immediately available and in good order.
Some chapters may prefer to elect, or have the President appoint, a Recording Secretary specifically for keeping the minutes and have the regular Secretary handle the other duties. This would seem an especially wise decision if the chapter is a large one. Another alternative is to have a Corresponding Secretary.
Taking Care of the Chapter’s Correspondence
The manner in which a Secretary carries on the correspondence frequently reflects the vitality of that organization – or its ineptitude. A few simple rules make chapter correspondence effective and pleasant:
- Be neat and legible. Gamma Beta Phi stationery is available from Headquarters at cost.
- Be Clear, concise, and complete. Lack of communication can be avoided if the writer will present the message briefly, but fully, with clarity.
- Include your return address and the date in the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the letter. Put your return address on the envelope.
- Be punctual in answering any communication addressed to your chapter, and when replying, be sure to indicate in your first sentence the nature of the matter being replied to and the date of the communication being answered.
- It is very important that you keep a correspondence file containing copies of all letters and forms you send out. Also keep a file of important letters received. The chapter President and the Advisor should be kept up-to-date on all correspondence of consequence.
The Secretary should bring to each meeting the book of minutes; a copy of the Bylaws, rules, and policies; a list of the members; a list of standing and special committees; and, a copy of the parliamentary authority, Robert’s Rule of Order, which is the parliamentary authority within the Society.
The Secretary should assist the President before each meeting in preparing a detailed agenda; prepare and send required notices of meetings and proposals; keep a file of all reports submitted, keep a correspondence file; and, a book of adopted policies and procedures. He or She is also responsible for calling attention to deadlines for taking certain actions.