HOWTO Be Secretary

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The Secretary has a bunch of duties! This page should eventually contain info about how to properly perform most or all of them.



When Should You Contact This Officer

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Preliminary Background Information

  • Review Robert's Rules of Order which is the basis for i3 Detroit's meeting's operating meetings. Note: Link works, for the moment.
  • Familiarize yourself with i3 Detroit's Bylaws and Standing Rules
    • Know how to find them on the wiki
    • Refer to them when appropriate to answer questions at meetings - it's a good idea to delegate this while you are taking minutes!
  • Learn how to edit the wiki

Necessary Access to Official Records and Systems

These are i3 Detroit's official records systems that the secretary is responsible for:

The Official Email:

  • Use this email for official communications to the announce list, individuals, and external organizations.
  • Make sure this is added to the so that you can make announcements.

Bylaws and Standing Rules

  • Get your wiki access permissions to include Bureaucrats and Administrators so that you have edit permissions.
  • Make sure other people who don't need access to these don't have that access.

CRM aka Customer Relationship Manager

  • Get your CRM role set to "director".
  • Check your role settings by going to your page on the CRM, then clicking on the roles link. In addition to the normal Home, Members, and Reports tabs there should now be additional options visible.

Other Important Documents

  • Hold a copy of the current lease to 1481 A Wordsworth St
  • Hold a copy of the insurance policy
  • The current printed copy of each should be in the secretary bag.
    • These documents are now normally stored in the B side office cabinet.

Setting up a vote

Note on this whole process: i3 technically follows Robert's rules of order (as compared to consensus), but we're pretty lax about it, following only the basics. Robert's also has guidelines for discussing proposals prior to voting, but those are outside the secretary's job responsibilities.

  1. Make sure the item is actually something that can be voted on
    • Changing the standing rules: General membership
    • Changing the bylaws: both board and general membership
    • Officer/Coordinator appointments, budgetary proposals, floor plan changes: board
    • This is not a comprehensive list! add to meeeee
  2. Finalize the exact language to be voted on
    • For proposals at a meeting, the secretary should write down the proposal and read it out loud so everybody knows the exact language. If necessary, write it down on a whiteboard.
      • If people have proposals, adding them to the meeting minutes prior to the meeting greatly reduces the effort of the secretary, and allows other members to reference the proposal on their own screen.
    • For email votes, whoever makes the motion should put the exact text in their email, or reference someone else's email with the exact text.
  3. Open voting
    • A proposal needs to be moved for before it can be voted on. Having one person specifically move for a proposal helps to give the proposal a champion. If no one cares about the proposal enough to champion it, then it probably doesn't need to be proposed!
    • A proposal needs to be seconded before it can be voted on. This is to prevent one person from calling a million votes that no one else wants.
    • Whoever moves for and seconds the proposal should be eligible to vote for the proposal.
    • Votes can be held at any regular meeting, and any special meeting.
    • Email votes: There are currently no provisions in the bylaws or standing rules for votes via email, so the secretaries have developed and implemented best practices over the years.
      • To open a vote via email, we count it as a special meeting, which requires 7 days notice. Therefore, whenever an email vote is called, the voting period is 7 days, ending at the virtual special meeting. In order for the vote to be closed earlier than that, everyone has to waive their rights to advance notification of a special meeting. Make this explicit in the vote thread.
      • Vote threads vs. discussion threads: If a proposal comes in via email, it starts a thread where usually people talk about the proposal and make adjustments to it. The proposal should be officially moved and seconded on this thread in order to trigger the secretary to open the vote. Having votes on this thread can get really confusing because it's not clear exactly which proposal is being voted on, and when future secretaries want to look something up, they'll have to slog through the whole thread, and depending on the proposal, that can be a really messy job. To make it easier to keep clean records, a separate thread is created. Some guidelines for the vote thread:
        • Put something in the subject that makes it clearly a vote thread. "VOTE", "VOTE THREAD", anything like that that calls attention to the thread as something important, and makes it easy to find when looking things up in the future.
        • The exact text of the proposal
        • Who moved and seconded the proposal
        • A link to the discussion thread(s) for easy reference
        • The date that voting closes (at least a week from the date of the thread creation)
        • Note about advance notice. Something like "By voting you are waiving your right to advance notice of a special meeting." You can also have people type "I waive my right to advance notice of a special meeting" when they vote.
  4. Example Email
    • By voting you are waiving your right to advance notice of a special meeting. Please use Reply all when voting.
    • Motioned by XxX. Seconded by xXx. Allocate money to person.
    • Vote will close 99Fev99
  1. Determine who can vote on it
    • For general membership votes, only voting members as listed in the CRM at the time of vote are eligible to vote.
      • Most votes historically are passed by a large margin, so we've been pretty lax about checking this and just use the honor system
      • If the vote is close, or if someone requests it, or if you feel particularly responsible, use the attendance sheet to check against the CRM and the number of votes. To get really formal, call out each person's name to get their vote
    • For board votes, there are no eligibility requirements other than to be on the board at the time of the vote.
  2. Everybody votes!
    • Votes can be Aye/Yes, Nay/No, or Abstain.
    • For in person meetings, usually having the chair ask for raising of hands suffices, but depending on the circumstances, individual votes may also be recorded. See section on voting eligibility for one such circumstance.
    • For email votes, each person should post a response to the vote thread with their vote and the phrase "I waive my right to advance notice of a special meeting", if necessary.
    • Counting votes: For in person meetings, it's nice if the chair of the meeting does this and just tells the secretary the number, since they're usually standing and aren't trying to record things. For email votes, the secretary can handle it.
  3. Close voting
    • In person meetings: voting closes after the chair calls for all the ayes, nays, and anyone who is abstaining.
    • Email votes: Voting closes after a week, or after everyone has voted & waived their right to advance notice of a special meeting
  4. Document results
    • In person meetings: The chair will usually announce to the members present. Record the result in the minutes.
    • Email votes: Put the results of the vote in the vote thread to summarize. Also add the proposal and results to the next meeting minutes to summarize what happened between meetings.
    • Votes needed to pass something: Most votes require simple majorities of members present, not a majority of ALL members, to pass. Votes to change the bylaws require a 2/3 majority to pass.
      • For email votes, the number of votes required to pass a proposal isn't known until the voting is closed (aka when attendance has been taken at the virtual special meeting).
    • Every proposal that is passed should lead to further action and documentation somewhere. It is the secretary's duty to perform such documentation or delegate it.
    • Examples:
      • Officer/Zone Coordinator Appointments: Update the relevant wiki pages with current appointments. Announce new appointment(s) to the general membership.
      • Modification to Standing Rules/Bylaws: Update the document on the wiki
      • Budget Items: delegated to Treasurer/Budget
      • Disciplinary Actions: usually delegated to Member Advocate or equivalent officer.
      • Other resolutions: deal with as appropriate, but DO NOT just note it in the minutes and then do nothing with it
  5. Announce results
    • Depending on what the proposal is, the secretary or someone else can announce the changes via the -announce mailing list or the regular mailing list, or not announce at all.

Regular Meetings

Call for Topics

Before every regular meeting a call for topics is sent out automatically by the Minutes Bot to help create the agenda. It will also create a new wiki page for the meeting based off of the appropriate template. Using either Meeting Minutes Template or Board Meeting Minutes Template.

  • Copy the action items from the last meeting's minutes to the review for the new meeting's Action Item Review.
  • Add link to last meeting minutes to motion for approval by board.
  • Encourage officers and Zone coordinators add their report directly into the minutes before or after the meeting.
  • Remember to keep the templates up to date as needed.

Taking Minutes

  • When a Secretary will miss a Board/Member meeting, best practice is to inform the Board email list and arrange for a substitute minutes taker. That way, the group knows to not delay the meeting waiting for everyone to arrive. It is not necessary to provide an excuse. It is also considerate, before taking a break from the work you are doing together with your colleagues, to briefly inform them, so they know to move forward without holding up deliberations.
  • Making a note of the time the meeting starts is important to looking all official-like.
  • Record all people in attendance at the meeting; this is a legal requirement!
  • After the meeting ends, post them to this wiki and send them out to the i3 member list.

Example of how to document proposals

  • Person A moves to nominate/propose
  • Person B seconds the motion
 Motion to nominate Person C as coordinator of the Wiki Zone
  • 5 in favor of 7 present, motion passes

Use <pre> and </pre> tags to offset proposals so they're easy to pick out

Note: There is a proposal template that may supersede the tagging above.

Action Items

Action items are a record of specific tasks and who is responsible for them. They require a specific name (i.e. cannot be "everyone") and a specific task. Action items are reviewed at the beginning of the next meeting to check on progress toward completing the action. If an action item is not completed at the time of review, it is copied to the current action item list so that it will be reviewed at the following meeting unless the action item is determined to be no longer necessary. It is a good idea to email everyone with an action item a couple days before the meeting (like right after creating the minutes/call for topics post) to increase the chances of the action items being completed.

Documenting Action Items

Action Items from the previous meeting are copied into the "Action Item Review" section of the current meeting. After the item is discussed, use <strike> and </strike> tags to cross off the old item and then put the update. This makes it easier to see the change in status.

Example: Konrad to educate Jamie about strikethroughs Jamie is now educated and has even documented their use!

Documenting Proposals

See voting section above.

Running the Annual Election

The secretary runs the board election

Filing Paperwork

  • To maintain our non-profit status we need to file an annual report with Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
    • Form 2000 - Nonprofit Corp Annual Report
    • Typically this report is filed after elections/officer appointments take place in September. It needs to be filed on or before October 1. The fee is $20.
    • The login information should be in email history. Search for LARA.
  • We are a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation registered with the state of Michigan

Helpful Resources