Parliamentary Strategy – November 2012

Thank you to all chapters and districts who have sent your bylaws to the state parliamentarian. If you have not turned them in, please do so as soon as possible.

Remember to send your bylaws in electronic format.  ~Mary Brown

This month’s article is all about the chapter recording secretary and her duties.


(From the DAR Magazine, November 1975, with minor changes to conform
with updated procedures.)

It takes more than a good presiding officer to insure a successful meeting. It requires the cooperation of well-informed officers and members, and especially this is true of the recording secretary.

Secretaries should recognize their responsibilities, knowing that their duties must be fulfilled with painstaking accuracy for historical purposes and to fulfill fiduciary duties.

The object in recording minutes is to have a permanent record of what has actually been done by the organization. Minutes should contain a record of what is done by the chapter, and not what is said. Ordinarily, there is no object in recording debate.

Minutes must contain the following items:

1. type of meeting (regular, special, adjourned, or annual);

2. name of the assembly;

3. date and place of meeting, and usually the hours of meeting and adjournment;

4. presence of board members, the regent and secretary or, in their absence, names of substitutes;

5. whether minutes of previous meeting were approved or their reading dispensed with; all names of members appointed to approve the minutes;

6. names of mover of each main motion; points of order and appeal; and all other motions that were not lost or withdrawn (secondary motions); the name of the seconder is not recorded; minutes do not state that the motion was seconded (if it had not been seconded, the motion would not even appear in the minutes – it would have been lost for lack of a second);

7. all items of “General Consent;”

8. signature of the secretary and, if the minutes are to be published, the signatures of both regent and secretary; the secretary does not include ‘Respectfully submitted’ above her signature-only her name followed by the title, recording secretary;

9. all rulings of the chair that may be of value as a precedent should be entered in the minutes and, similarly, answers to parliamentary inquiries;

10. all committee appointments should be recorded;

11. all officers’ reports are included with the minutes and the treasurer’s report should be recorded in this manner:

  • balance, date of last report
  • total receipts
  • total disbursements
  • balance, date of this report

Recording Voting Results in Minutes:

  • By ballot or count ordered, record number of votes on each side.
  • By roll call – record names of those voting on each side and those answering

“present” should be entered. If members fail to respond on a roll call vote, enough of their names should be recorded as present to reflect that a quorum was present at the time of the vote.

Bylaws amendments are listed in the minutes, cross-indexed with the bylaws, and likewise, with the standing rules. Bylaws and standing rules must be kept current.

The minutes should never reflect the secretary’s opinion, favorable or otherwise, or anything said or done.

Minutes of your meetings are the historical and legal record of your chapter. Complete the writing of the minutes immediately following the meeting while your memory is clear. A tape recorder may be used for documentation.

In order to do your job well, you should have:

1. previous minutes

2. a list of officers and chairmen

3. the membership list

4. the bylaws of the chapter

5. standing rules

6. the NSDAR Handbook & Bylaws

7. the CSSDAR Yearbook & Directory

8. CSSDAR Manual of Procedures (State Handbook)

9. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised

10. Chapter Regent’s Manual and Parliamentary Procedure Guide available on the NSDAR Members’ website where you will find “sample minutes.”

If you have any questions about the duties of the chapter recording secretary or preparation of minutes, please contact the State Parliamentarian Mary Brown or State Recording Secretary Midge Enke (

Mary Dalrymple Brown
State Parliamentarian

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