The job of secretary is one of the most exciting positions on any board. Every association must have at least two officers, a presiding officer (president) and a recording officer (secretary) in order to function properly. In addition to the position of recording secretary, a corresponding secretary is sometimes an approved position in the bylaws of a local unit. The duties of the secretary are outlined in the bylaws.
The secretary is essential in conducting the business of the association. If the secretary is absent from the general, board of directors, or executive committee meetings, the presiding officer must appoint someone to take minutes. Remember, if it is not in the minutes, it did not happen!
Minutes need to be written in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the secretary to record, prepare and preserve the minutes of the association. Every member is responsible for reading the minutes and refers to them as the record or history of the unit.
As secretary, in preparation for taking the minutes of a meeting, you should come prepared with your note-taking tools of choice. Arrive at the meeting site early to ensure that everything is ready. Make sure you have a copy of the agenda, as well as any reports, financial statements or other documents that may be referred to during the meeting.
What to Record
Minutes are meant to be concise, factual and objective records of what action or voting took place. Never record every word of the meeting verbatim. You must decide what information has to be written down verbatim, what can be paraphrased, and what is nonessential for the official record. You cannot allow personal preferences to influence your note taking, and you cannot give more weight to what certain people say while not recording the pertinent remarks of others.
As a recorder, you must listen carefully and take down information even when more than one person is talking at the same time, making sure that you attribute all statements to their correct sources. It is necessary to record motions verbatim as well as names of those who made them.
Minutes must be complete, concise and accurate. They should be as brief as possible, but include all necessary information.
Action must be recorded in the order in which it took place, even if it is taken out of order from the agenda.