Clerk or Secretary [and the Minutes]

41. Clerk or Secretary [and the Minutes]. The recording officer is usually called the "Clerk" or "Secretary,"* [When there are two secretaries, he is termed the "recording secretary," and the other one, the "corresponding secretary." In many societies the secretary, besides acting as recording officer, collects the dues of members, and thus becomes to a certain extent a financial officer. In most cases the treasurer acts as banker, only paying on the order of the society, signed by the secretary alone, or by the president and secretary. In such cases the secretary becomes in reality the financial officer of the society, and should make reports to the society, of funds received and from what sources, and of the funds expended and for what purposes. See 52 for his duties as financial officer.] and the record of proceedings the "Minutes." His desk should be near that of the chairman, and in the absence of the chairman, (if there is no vice president present) when the hour for opening the session arrives, it is his duty to call the meeting to order, and to preside until the election of a chairman pro tem., which should be done immediately. He should keep a record of the proceedings, commencing in a form similar to the following :** [See Clerk and Minutes in Part II, 51.]

"At a regular quarterly meeting of [state the name of the society] held on the 31st day of March, 1875, at [state the place of meeting], the President in the chair, the minutes were read by the clerk and approved." If the regular clerk is absent, insert after the words "in the chair," the following: "The clerk being absent, Robert Smith was appointed clerk pro tem.

The minutes were then read and approved." If the minutes were not read, say "the reading of the minutes was dispensed with." The above form will show the essentials, which are as follows: (a) The kind of meeting, "regular" [or stated] or "special," or "adjourned regular," or "adjourned special;" (6) name of the assembly; (c) date and place of meeting (excepting when the place is always the same); (d) the fact of the presence of the regular chairman and clerk, or in their absence the names of their substitutes; (e) whether the minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

The minutes should be signed by the person who acted as clerk for that meeting: in some societies the chairman must also sign them. When published, they should be signed by both officers.

In keeping the minutes much depends upon the kind of meeting, and whether the minutes are to be published. If they are to be published, it is often of far more interest to know what was said by the leading speakers, than to know what routine business was done, and what resolutions adopted.

In such case the duties of the secretary are arduous, and he should have at least one assistant. In ordinary society meetings and meetings of Boards of Managers and Trustees, on the contrary, there is no object in reporting the debates; the duty of the clerk, in such cases, is mainly to record what is "done" by the assembly, not what is said by the members. Without there is a rule to the contrary, he should enter every Principal motion [ 6] that is before the assembly, whether it is adopted or rejected; and where there is a division [see Voting, 38], or where the vote is by ballot, he should enter the number of votes on each side; and when the voting is by yeas and nays [ 38], he should enter a list of the names of those voting on each side. He should endorse on the reports of committees, the date of their reception, and what further action was taken upon them, and preserve them among the records, for which he is responsible. He should in the minutes make a brief summary of a report that has been agreed to, except where it contains resolutions, in which case the resolutions will be entered in full as adopted by the assembly, and not as if it was the report accepted. The proceedings of the committee of the whole [ 32], or while acting informally [ 33], should not be entered on the minutes. Before an adjournment without day, it is customary to read over the minutes for approval, if the next meeting of the board or society will not occur for a long period. Where the regular meetings are not separated by too great a time, the minutes are read at the next meeting.

The clerk should, previous to each meeting, for the use of the chairman, make out an order of business [ 44], showing in their exact order what is necessarily to come before the assembly. He should also have at each meeting a list of all standing committees, and such select committees as are in existence at the time. When a committee is appointed, he should hand the names of the committee and all papers referred to it to the chairman, or some other of its members.