The Training of a Secretary:
An Ancient Profession
Secretary In Literature
Universality Of The Vocation
Other Duties As May Be Assigned By The Board Of Directors
Taking The Minutes
Preservation Of The Minutes
Minutes, Meetings And Manners
Read More Articles About: The Training of a Secretary
Taking The Minutes
( Originally Published 1922 )
It is desirable, but not necessary, that the secretary should understand shorthand. Failing this knowledge, perhaps he will employ symbols which mean to him sentences or paragraphs in certain forms which he is accustomed to using. It is seldom that the events of a meeting follow each other so rapidly that the secretary cannot record them. A resolution is usually the result of discussion and the secretary may request that it be placed in writing to be read to the meeting before the question is put. The discussion may be embodied in one or more preambles and the resolution or resolutions, follow it. In very important meetings such as a stockholders' meeting, an expert stenographer is employed for additional accuracy.
From the notes made by the secretary he may write at his convenience, into a book, in long hand, the proceedings of the meeting. This is the simplest method of keeping minutes and the most ancient, as Baruch " wrote them with ink in the book." Corrections, if any, are then entered in red. Some secretaries prefer to make so-called Rough Minutes " in pencil and retain them thus until a following meeting at which time they are read and corrected if necessary, and finally copied as corrected into the book.
After the advent of the typewriter, it became evident that time could not only be saved by the use of a machine, but that records could be made by its use, which were more readable and neater than the best long hand. But for some years loose leaf minutes were held to be illegal on account of the possibility of the replacing of a page by a meddlesome-person, after it had been approved by a meeting. The likelihood of this in most cases was remote and finally the legality of records kept in loose leaf books was established; after which writing machines of the Elliott-Fisher type were invented which traverse the pages and permit the use of bound books for recording. But the loose leaf is a legal record and is often so used. In some cases each sheet is signed by the secretary after approval.
Reports which become a part of the records of a meeting on account of their adoption by it, may be filed in any convenient method. One way, is to bind them into the minute book in the order in which they occur, either copying them on a machine or pasting them on blank leaves and binding these leaves in with the minutes. The minutes of the monthly meetings of an organization with which I am familiar consist of about forty pages but they are extremely accurate and are easy to refer to with all their ramifications. On meeting days of this corporation, each member of its board of trustees finds upon the table an " Order of Business " (Chap. X, pp. 82-88, Form 2) giving an exact account of the matters which are to receive attention and discussion, such as the reading of letters, appropriations, recommendations, resolutions and reports of committees. Important reports are also duplicated and placed before him. -
Marginal notes in red are frequently made for reference purposes and where the records extend over many years the notes are indexed by cards or in a separate book, the pages of the minute books being numbered and the books themselves numbered consecutively and chronologically.
Probably the most modern development in the keeping of the minutes is described in the following chapter.