This is an historical document written by Gary Eng in 1992 that details the secretarial duties of the secretary in the ORSNZ. It should not be considered as up to date or current in any way.

Andrew Mason, October 2001



The secretary is the primary conduit for correspondence by/with/for the Society. As such, his/her main tasks include: 

  1. Clearing the mailbox periodically and distributing the inwards correspondence to the appropriate officers.
  2. Recording and keeping the minutes of Council meetings, of the AGM and of special general meetings.
  3. Dealing with (outwards) correspondence, which is not clearly the domain of other officers.
  4. Keeping records and documentation of salient correspondence and activities. You are the chief archivist.
  5. Provide (timely) material of interest to the membership to the newsletter editor for publication in the newsletter.
  6. Production and mailing of the Annual Report.
  7. Production and mailing of Council minutes, Council meeting agenda and Council directory.


PO BOX 904 is located in the concourse of the Railway Station building. The mail should be cleared regularly, at least fortnightly, definitely just before Council meetings, and preferably weekly when significant volumes of incoming mail are expected, e.g. when subscriptions are being received. Overflow (usually the APJOR journal or abstracts (IAOR) bulk mailings), registered and short-paid (e.g. freepost) mail can be obtained at the counter opposite the mailbox (but only during limited (business) hours.

Mail should be opened, baulked and sent to the appropriate officers as follows:

Financial To Treasurer
- subs To Treasurer
-address changes To Treasurer
-enquiries Generally yourself
Requests for journal To Treasurer
Orders for back and new issues To Treasurer
Journals from other societies To circulation
Information, newsletters, (conference) announcements from other societies To circulation and/or Newsletter Editor
IFORS bulletins To circulation
Branch material To relevant branch(es)
Journal material To Journal (APJOR) Editor

You are responsible for handling correspondence of a general nature. Typically these include membership enquiries, employment enquiries, educational.


Conduct of Meetings/Minutes of Meetings

The Chairperson, usually the President or in his/her absence the Vice-President is responsible for controlling and moderating the business of a Council meeting.  The Secretary is responsible for making sure that matters are concluded and motions taken on them, where applicable.

You or a separate Minutes Secretary is responsible for keeping accurate minutes of the deliberations of Council meetings. Make a note of actions to be taken, by whom, and by when. Keep your ears and eyes open. You need to decide, pretty rapidly, what is or is not worthy of minuting.

Sometimes council may decide to discuss certain matters ‘in Committee’, in which case, these deliberations are not to be recorded  in the minutes.

Before they are sent out to Council members, the minutes ought to be ratified through signature of yourself and the meeting Chairperson. This is not always easy to do and is (occasionally? often?) not done. Minutes of the meetings should be sent out to Council members as soon as possible after the meeting and definitely no later than with the call for the next meeting.


Agree with attendees at the end of each meeting the (tentative) date, time and location of the next meeting. Not less than two weeks before that next meeting finalize the agenda and send the notice out to Council members. Check with others, especially the President and vice-President, on agenda items. Phone Council members to remind them about the meeting a few days before the meeting itself.

Annual General Meeting

You are responsible for collating material for and producing the Annual Report. A fair bit of this needs the (timely) co-operation of the President (report, itself), Treasurer (financial  statements, etc), Branch chairpersons (branch meetings and conference papers), etc.

The Wellington Branch is responsible for organizing the Annual General Meeting, specifically for providing the venue, time, speaker and refreshments.

You need to contact the printer, currently Snap Instant Print at 89 Thorndon Quay, a couple of weeks before you will have it ready to book the print job in. You would normally provide them with camera ready copy. You need to decide  on the number of copies to be printed. You should give them about a week to do the job although they will usually tell what their turnaround is.   You need to mail the annual report to be in the hands of (NZ) members at least 2 weeks before the AGM.

Producing the Annual Report is not a trivial job. Make sure everybody co-operates. Do not hesitate to put bombs or get the President to put bomb under people who are lax in performing the duties which they have cheerfully volunteered for.

Recording accurate minutes of the AGM and getting an attendance list are quite important.


The secretary is the Society’s archivist. The following should be kept, preferably in some logical order:

Up-to-date copies of the constitution

Minutes (master copies) and agenda of all meetings

Correspondence, both inwards and outwards

A directory of council and Branch officeholders

IFORS Bulletins and other IFORS material

Conference and seminar notices, both NZ and overseas, definitely until the events have taken place


Other officers, e.g. the Treasurer or the Student Paper Prize Convener, are responsible for retaining their own records.


You will need stamps, envelopes, etc., to conduct your business, e.g. sending out notices of meetings etc. you can get an advance, say $50, from the Treasurer as a float or you may choose to get reimbursed occasionally. Keep a record of your expenses, including drink money and other entertainment expenses.


Find out from the Newsletter Editor when s/he intends to produce the newsletter and when s/he needs material from you by. Any material which is of potential interest to the general membership should be made available to this kindly person in sufficiently good time not to incur his/her eternal wrath. Typical material is conference notices, software announcements etc.

Reply to advertisers directly and supply these people with a copy of the newsletter if you think appropriate. We are quite liberal about charging for ads, depending on whether we need the money, whether we think we will get paid…we don’t have a formal policy. Consult others if you feel like it.


Maintain an up-to-date mailing list of council and branch officers. Supply them with copies from time to time.

Minutes and notices of meetings should be sent to all Council members,   including Branch Chairpersons and the Journal editors.

Be a bit professional and use mailing labels and envelopes made with recycled paper. Even better is to reuse envelopes. Produce the labels yourself or get sets off the Treasurer.

The AGM goes out to all members. Definitely be lazy and get address labels from the Treasurer instead of producing them yourself.

Best of luck


Gary Eng

January 22, 1992