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Secretary-Treasurer


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I’m part of a union helping form

a new local. As we reviewed the proposed constitution I noticed there is a board position titled secretary-treasurer, as well as a recording-secretary. When I pointed out that it was my understanding that a secretary-treasurer is  typically a combined position in organizations that are too small to have a separate treasurer and secretary, they insisted it was correct as written. 

Is it normal to have a position titled secretary-treasurer as well as a recording-secretary or are these technically in conflict?

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"Secretary-Treasurer", as a single position, is not uncommon at all, however the additional "recording-secretary" seems a bit strange, or redundant.

As Mr. Brown always says (he must have a macro key set for the phrase) "It is ultimately up to your organization to interpret its bylaws...";  here's a suggestion:  Ask the folks who say including both positions in the bylaws is "correct as written" to explain SPECIFICALLY what the different duties of the two positions are.  That is, what is the difference between the "Secretary" in Secretary-Treasurer and the "Secretary" in Recording-Secretary.  It's their crazy (?) notion, make them explain it.

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It seems to me the provisions are rather redundant.... or contradictory.... take your pick.... unless the duties of both positions are clearly defined in the bylaws.    Without further explanation (which I think really is needed) I would hazard a guess that the "recording secretary" is responsible for the minutes of the organization and that the "secretary-treasurer" is responsible for all other secretarial duties.... including being the custodian of the minutes of the recording secretary. 

Agreeing with Drs. Stackpole and Goodwiller, I  strongly suggest clarifying the duties of both positions if both positions are going to be in the bylaws.

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3 hours ago, Greg Goodwiller said:

There is nothing inherently “in conflict” with such an arrangement, as long as the duties are clearly delineated. Typically, a “recording secretary” is a lower position - essentially an assistant.

I think that as one of the only two mandatory positions (the other being presiding officer), the position of recording secretary is not subordinate to anything that's obvious to me.

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7 hours ago, Guest Union Strong said:

I’m part of a union helping form

a new local. As we reviewed the proposed constitution I noticed there is a board position titled secretary-treasurer, as well as a recording-secretary. When I pointed out that it was my understanding that a secretary-treasurer is  typically a combined position in organizations that are too small to have a separate treasurer and secretary, they insisted it was correct as written. 

Is it normal to have a position titled secretary-treasurer as well as a recording-secretary or are these technically in conflict?

It is not normal, but it is also not necessarily in conflict. An organization could, for instance, have a recording secretary and have the other duties of a secretary performed by the Secretary-Treasurer, if it wishes to do so.

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21 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

It is not normal, but it is also not necessarily in conflict. An organization could, for instance, have a recording secretary and have the other duties of a secretary performed by the Secretary-Treasurer, if it wishes to do so.

I'll second that response.  Just make sure the By-laws back that up. 

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On 10/27/2017 at 9:52 AM, Gary Novosielski said:

I think that as one of the only two mandatory positions (the other being presiding officer), the position of recording secretary is not subordinate to anything that's obvious to me.

Ok. As I said, it's a matter of what the bylaws say. In my usual circles (the Presbyterian Church world), the "recording secretary" is an appointment of either the presiding officer or the Secretary, who writes a first draft of the minutes for the elected Secretary and serves and his or her assistant.

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37 minutes ago, g40 said:

Some organizations choose to have a position of Recording Secretary and another position of Corresponding Secretary - and their governing documents define the duties and responsibilities.

In this connection, see RONR, 11th ed., p. 460, ll. 28-34:

"In larger societies, the duties of issuing notices of meetings and conducting the general correspondence of the organization as described under item (9) on page 459 are frequently assigned to a separate elected officer, usually called the corresponding secretary. When there is a corresponding secretary, the unqualified word secretary used alone refers to the recording officer. "

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