Role of the Recording Secretary

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  1. attend all executive and general meetings of the council
  2. assist the president in preparing the agenda for executive and general meetings, bringing to her attention any items that should be brought forward from the previous meeting, correspondence, previous minutes and recommendations of the executive that may help in preparation of the agenda
  3. distribute individual copies of the agenda, post a copy of the agenda on a blackboard or flip chart, or project it on a overhead (see sample agenda page 7)
  4. call the roll or have members sign a list of attendance at meetings
  5. take the minutes of meetings, record motions, and retain minutes as a permanent record (see sample minutes page 10)
  6. bring the minute book containing past minutes to meetings for reference purposes
  7. bring the motion book (if one is kept) to meetings
  8. distribute copies of the minutes of the previous meeting prior to the meeting or prepare to read the minutes at the meeting
  9. report on the executive meeting at the general meeting, if the president so requests
  10. be a signing officer for official documents
  11. be responsible for receiving reports from the executive
  12. provide the president with a copy of the executive members’ annual reports to assist in preparing the president’s annual report
  13. know where the council charter can be found
  14. be responsible for all council papers and records; know where council archives are located
  15. maintain an up-to-date Elections Register (see page 12)
  16. ensure that the list of the newly-elected executive, with their names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, is forwarded immediately following the annual meeting or convention:
    o parish level forwards list to diocesan level
    o diocesan level forwards list to parish, provincial and national levels
    o provincial level forwards list to diocesan and national levels
  17. provide the credentials for delegates to convention
  18. consult the CWL website ( for up-to-date information, print and distribute communiqués and information of interest to her council, unless this duty is assigned to another member

Source: Handbook for Secretaries page 5


Guide to preparing an agenda

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The president is the chairperson.

  1. The meeting is called to order followed by president’s remarks.
  2. The spiritual advisor or spiritual development chairperson is asked to lead the opening prayers which are to be said in unison.
  3. Scripture (or other appropriate) reading and reflection follows.
  4. The recording secretary is asked to take roll call or request that members sign an attendance list.
  5. The president asks if there are any additions to the agenda and asks for a motion to adopt the agenda.
  6. The recording secretary is asked to read
    • minutes of the previous meeting
    • report of the executive meeting
  7. The corresponding secretary is asked to list the correspondence sent or received since the last meeting and to read highlights of the correspondence as per the president’s request.
  8. The treasurer is asked to present the report of receipts and disbursements since the previous meeting starting with the previous balance and ending with the current balance. The monthly report is not adopted but filed for reference. Only the examined financial statement at the end of the year is approved by the members at the annual meeting.
  9. Reports in writing are called for from the standing committee chairpersons.
  10. Reports in writing are called for from chairpersons of special committees or events.
  11. Unfinished business not included in the above reports is presented.
  12. When new business is dealt with, it should be itemized on the agenda. Further items may be added when the president asks for additions in #5 above.
  13. The spiritual advisor is asked for a message and blessing.
  14. Details of program or activity to follow the meeting are announced.
  15. The president asks, “Is there any further business to come before this meeting?” If not, then she asks for a motion to adjourn.
  16. The meeting closes with a prayer and/or hymn.

Source: Handbook for Secretaries page 6


Recording the minutes

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Minutes are a legal record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said.
Content of the minutes of all meetings and conventions of the council concerned must be retained as a permanent record and must include:

  • name of the council
  • kind of meeting (i.e., executive, general, annual)
  • date, time and place of the meeting
  • roll call or list of attendance attached
    [roll call should be taken of the executive and the names of those present and absent recorded]
  • approval of the minutes (The president asks if there are any corrections. If not, she then says, “The minutes are approved as read” or “The minutes are approved as circulated.” If there are corrections, when no further corrections are made, she says, “The minutes are approved as corrected.”) Should changes be made at a later time to the minutes already approved, a motion is necessary to amend the minutes. Some councils make a motion, second it, and vote the approval for each set of minutes.
  • brief financial report – the monthly statement is not adopted but reported for information and put on file. At the annual meeting, an examined financial statement is presented and officially adopted by the members.
  • motions (including mover and seconder) with actions decided upon
  • number of votes for and against if ballot or counted vote - some may request their abstention be recorded
  • debate, only if meeting instructs that it should be
  • title of committee reporting, highlights of report filed for reference
  • appointment of committees, elected delegates, etc.
  • mention that discussion was held on a topic so that the issue will be recorded and canbe brought forward on another agenda
  • motion to adjourn and the time of adjournment
  • signed by the president and secretary and the date approved

Source: CWL Handbook for Secretaries


Role of the Corresponding Secretary

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  1. attend all executive and general meetings of the council
  2. submit all correspondence received to the president for her information and action
  3. compose and send out all correspondence as directed, in some councils this includes all occasion cards to members
  4. list all correspondence to be brought to the meeting
  5. read highlights of all correspondence at the meeting as directed by the president.
    All correspondence received or sent in the name of the council should be reported to the members. This may include thank you letters, invitations, replies to inquiries, information received, etc. It may be summarized, giving pertinent details. Reporting of each letter should start with from whom it was received or to whom it was sent, and the date. Reading of correspondence dealing with a matter appearing later on the agenda may be deferred until the matter comes to the floor of the meeting.
  6. arrange meeting accommodation and notifies members of the time and place of the meeting
  7. be responsible for notices of meetings and conventions

Source: CWL Handbook for Secretaries

Also see the Handbook for

  • Guidelines for business correspondence (p 14-15)
  • Style Guide for League Publications (p 16-18)
  • Personal Letter Writing Guide (p 19)
  • Forms of address and tips on writing to various levels of government and other persons in authority: church, business, school system, professions and other organizations (p 19-21)


Secretary Tips
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