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Secretary Tips & Tools

Parish Secretaries memo Fall 2018

As I write this memo, Québec is still in the midst of warm summer temperatures, but I have heard that there is a chance of snow in Alberta. It reminds me that League councils are like the weather in Canada - different from one province to another and from one parish to another.

The annual online survey forms will be available shortly for completion. It is an opportunity for me to learn how parish councils handle the duties of secretary or treasurer, providing a better understanding of what secretaries and treasurers are doing across Canada. Both forms have a question at the end of the survey for comments, so feel free to share personal thoughts about the position(s). If I can be of any assistance, please feel free to contact me.

I encourage recording secretaries to ask for copies of reports given at council meetings. This makes it much easier when taking the minutes. There is no need to record everything that was said at the meeting. Only important decisions or motions made need to be reported in the minutes. The written copy of the report given can be attached to the minutes.

The positions of secretary and treasurer are extremely important, and I congratulate councils for the great work being done in keeping council records and finances in order. Whether you are familiar with the latest computer software or keep records manually, I am sure you are a credit to your council.

May Our Lady of Good Counsel by with you always as you fulfill the duties to the best of your ability.
Janet McLean
National Secretary-Treasurer

Debbie Onysyk presented the following at the 2018 Diocesan Fall workshop in Hanna:

CWL SECRETARY
Fall Workshop – September 22nd, 2018


A couple of hints as you take on the position of Secretary of your CWL Council.

Download pdf


  • Minutes are a legal record of your meeting. When recording minutes at your meetings remember that you only report what was done at the meeting; NOT everything that is said.
  • Minutes must include your council name; type of meeting (executive, general etc.), date and place of meeting.
  • At the Executive meeting – list who was present and who sent regrets
  • Minutes must be approved at the next meeting either as read or circulated; or if there are corrections to be made they are approved as corrected. A motion is not needed to approve the minutes. Should changes be made at a later time to minutes that have already been approved – then a motion would be necessary to amend the minutes.
  • Always have a copy of the last meetings minutes with you for reference.
  • Ask all standing committee chairpersons to please give you their written report. That way it will be easier when you go to do up the minutes. Attach these reports to the minutes for filing.
  • Keep all minutes from the meetings together with a copy of the written reports (because you will only put the important details in the minutes) along with any correspondence that has come in. These minutes will then be put into the archives of your council when your term is done.
  • The secretary and president should sign and date the minutes once approved.
  • Motions MUST be recorded exactly as made. Include the person who makes the motion, the seconder and record whether it has been carried or defeated. Some councils keep all the motions in a separate MOTION’S BOOK (or binder)
  • Read highlights of all correspondence at the meetings.

These are just some guidelines to help you keep proper records so that years from now your council will have a recorded history.
Thank you for taking on the important role of Secretary of your Councils.

Resources: Handbook for Secretaries
www.cwl.ca
www.calgarycwl.ca
www.cwl.ab.ca

Secretary / Treasurer Memo

2017 Secretaries and treasurers memo from Janet McLean, national secretary-treasurer:

Summer is over and the changing colours of the leaves are an indication that we are into autumn and all that entails for your parish council. Secretaries are recording minutes of meetings and treasurers are gearing up for any fundraising planned by their council and coordinating with the organization chairperson for the collection of membership fees for 2018.

I had the pleasure of meeting with secretaries and treasurers at the annual national convention in Prince Edward Island in August, and it was great. I am always pleased to get comments or questions from you pertaining to your duties for your council. The convention was also an exciting time as members look to the future for this great organization.

Once again we are asking parish secretaries and treasurers to complete an annual online survey form. Revisions have been made to last year’s forms so that any glitches have been corrected. If you didn’t complete the form online last year, I hope you will do so this year. For those not comfortable with computers, ask if someone in your parish or community is willing to help you. Most libraries offer access to computers and they usually have someone who will be quite happy to assist you. The survey forms are very straightforward and we would really like to hear from all parish councils as you are the most important asset of the Catholic Women’s League.

For secretaries who record the minutes for their council, did you know that you don’t have to record all the details of what transpired at the meeting? You do need to record all motions that are made, noting the names of the mover and seconder, and whether a motion was carried or defeated. If reports are given by the standing committee chairpersons, make sure that you get a copy of their report so that it can be attached to the minutes making it unnecessary for you to detail it. This will make your job a lot easier and your minutes shorter.

For treasurers, did you know that the monthly financial report that you submit does not need to be approved by way of a motion? Your report is for the members’ information only. Any expenses which are reported should have been approved before they were incurred. This is why a motion must be presented and passed at a general meeting when your council wants to disburse funds (e.g. donations to various charities the council supports, purchase of supplies for the council, approval of a stipend to be given to a guest speaker, etc.) Only your annual report, which is submitted at your annual general meeting, needs to be voted on for approval. Of course, at any meeting you should always ask if there are any questions on your report and you should be prepared to provide answers to any financial questions asked. Members are allowed to view the books of their council at any time.

I want to thank all of you for the great job that you are doing. If you ever have any questions for
me, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Janet McLean
National Secretary-Treasurer

© Calgary Diocesan CWL