Five Roles of the Board Secretary

Posted on Thursday December 18, 2014

Maintaining records and meeting legal and financial obligations is key to a successful association. And the person responsible for this is your Board Secretary.

Following are a few of the essential duties that comprise a secretary’s scope of responsibilities. In broad terms, you can think of this individual as your Chief Information Officer. But as far as the details go, here’s what you can expect from them:

1. Maintaining records.

It’s the secretary’s job to ensure that all documents are kept in a manner that complies with state laws and regulations. This includes community governance documents, professional contracts, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, deeds and covenants. 

2. Filing and communications.

The secretary should also file all requisite forms with the appropriate government entity. It’s also his or her job to coordinate the preparation of meeting notices as well as making sure those notices are distributed as required by the governing documents and applicable law. If correspondence is made to the association, the secretary will facilitate the communication. 

3. Elections & legal matters.

When a corporate seal is required for official or legal documents, it’s the secretary who is responsible for affixing it. He or she will also serve as the witness when important documents require signatures. And during elections, the secretary is the one who coordinates the distribution and collection of ballots and proxies pursuant to the governing documents and applicable law.

4. Minutes.

They’re called minutes, but they’re actually a pretty big deal. To help your secretary keep effective minutes, have them focus on three areas: recording the actions of the association, making note of the reasons behind those actions, and keeping a full record of each board member’s specific vote. 

The minutes are not a transcription of everything said. Rather, they should be a summary of motions made and actions taken.

5. Additional duties.

The role of the secretary may be more fluid, depending on the requirements of your association. For instance, you may find that the demands are so great that some of these tasks need to be distributed to other members of the board. Or, it may be necessary to appoint an assistant to aid in the secretary’s duties. And in some cases, additional duties might be required of the secretary – from typing documents to mailing materials to proofreading, letter writing and file purging. 

It’s a good idea to take stock of your secretary’s duties to make sure the role is being filled in an optimal manner – without over-taxing your volunteer.

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