What should be in a secretary report?

Once approved, a secretary report becomes the official record of business. Having accurate information of the meeting is crucial to committees, councils and boards.

Youth involved in Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development programs are often introduced to their first leadership roles by being an officer in their local 4-H clubs. The secretary position is one of those officer positions a youth may be interested in. Many times youth take on a role like this without knowing what the roles and responsibilities of the officer position are. For more information on the roles of a secretary, see the accompanying article, “What am I supposed to do as secretary of my group?” This article will focus on what information needs to be included in official minutes, or a secretary report.

Knowing what information is pertinent to record in minutes is a major part of the secretary’s position. Understanding that will help youth be successful in this position. Secretary minutes should include the following:

  1. Kind of meeting. Was the meeting a regularly scheduled monthly meeting or was it a special meeting called for a specific business or reason?
  2. Name of group. Minutes should reflect the name of the club, group, council, board or organization.
  3. Place and date of meeting. For example, you could write, “The clover club met at the Township Hall on June X, 20XX.”
  4. If the president is in attendance and presides over the meeting, this should be recorded. If the president is absent, the secretary needs to record who presided over the meeting.
  5. Record the time the meeting was called to order. For example, “The president called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.”
  6. Either through a formal roll call process or a check- in or sign-in process, record the number of members and guests present.
  7. Approval of minutes. The secretary should either provide the group with written minutes or read aloud minutes from the previous meeting. Once approved, the minutes become the official record of that meeting.
  8. Treasurer’s report. Once the treasurer’s report is given, the secretary should record the report will be placed on file pending year end audit.
  9. Committee reports. If a group has committees, either standing or appointed, the secretary should record any report the committees give at the meeting.
  10. Complete motions. When a motion is made at the meeting, a record of the motion is important to have in the minutes no matter the outcome of the vote. The secretary needs to record the name of the individual that made the motion. The name of the individual that seconded the motion is not necessary, but a record showing it was seconded is important.
  11. If a vote is needed. When a vote is taken on any action, a record of the outcome of that vote needs to be recorded. For example, “Motion passed” or “Motion failed.”
  12. If there is a tie vote, the secretary should record that along with the tie breaker outcome.
  13. Important points discussed, if they are valuable for future reference. Recording personal opinions should not be included in minutes, but important discussion points that may be referenced or needed in the future is important to capture.
  14. Adjournment. The secretary should record the conclusion of the meeting and the time.
  15. Outline of educational program. At the end of the minutes and after official adjournment, recording a general outline of an educational program at a 4-H meeting should be part of the official record.
  16. Secretary’s signature. It is important the secretary sign and date the minutes for official record. This should be with an actual signature – not a typed recording.

Immediately following the meeting, the secretary should type an official copy of the minutes. Recalling what occurred in the meeting or deciphering notes taken will be easier when the meeting is fresh on your mind.

The Michigan State University Extension Leadership Civic Engagement team offers trainings on officer roles and responsibilities. Utilizing “Helping You Help Officers and Committees,” a publication that outlines officer roles and responsibilities, can assist the secretary as well as all officers to understand their roles and responsibilities. For further information, contact 4-Hleadership@anr.msu.edu.

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