In some Sections these are two separate offices, and in others they are combined. In any case, these are two very important roles in the Section, as they involve communication both within the Section and between the Section and the larger Association. Candidates for these offices should understand the crucial role and duties involved before they agree to stand for election. Because the position is so important, the term of office for Secretary or Treasurer should be at least three years with an option for re-election.
The Secretary is responsible for all communication between the Section and the MAA headquarters office, for facilitating communication between the Section officers, and for communication between Section officers and the membership of the Section.
Communication between the Section and the MAA
The secretary is responsible for:
Communication among the Section officers
The Secretary is responsible for:
coordinating communication among Section officers throughout the year via a list-serve and/or MAA Wiki site or other means
making sure the Section’s executive committee meets at least once per year, and that all officers have a chance to contribute to the agenda for this meeting
arranging for minutes of the meeting to be taken and distributed afterwards
ensuring that all Section officers and committee chairs, especially those in their first year of service, know their duties and deadlines.
Communication between the Section’s Executive Committee and the membership
Finally, the secretary is responsible for coordinating communication between the Section’s executive committee and the membership of the Section, especially regarding Section meetings, but also about elections, nominations for section awards, proposed bylaw changes, and other section business.
The secretary should make sure that:
Section meetings are well advertised
In particular, the date and location of each Section meeting is announced to the membership at least three months before the meeting
The meeting schedule is announced at least three weeks before the meeting.
A Section website hosted by MAA and a Section newsletter published once or twice per year are highly recommended for publication of upcoming meetings and other Section activities and business; these duties may be assigned to other officers of the Section. If the Section has a tradition of communication with its membership by regular mail, then the Secretary must be able to produce such mailings or ensure that they are produced.
The Treasurer of the Section receives all monies paid into the Section, deposits such monies in a bank to the account of the Section, and pays all bills of the Section out of the Section funds. The treasurer keeps all accounts and financial records of the Section, and submits an annual financial report to the national office. In many Sections, the treasurer is also the Book Sale Representative for the Section with responsibility for the sale of books at each of the Section meetings.
The Treasurer need not be a financial whiz, but he or she should be comfortable handling money. For instance, handling the finances of one’s local PTA, homeowner’s association, or animal shelter would be valuable experience for a Section treasurer, giving him or her the kind of “financial savvy” that is helpful for this office. The treasurer should be comfortable with financial paperwork (such as setting up a bank account) which can be difficult to interpret. For legal reasons, the Section treasurer should not set up a personal bank account in his or her name for doing Section business. Sections are also increasingly being called upon to deal with issues of insurance at Section meetings.
But the treasurer need not do all of this alone! The MAA Chief Financial Officer is ready and willing to offer help and advice at any time. The CFO can answer questions about sales tax, insurance, bank accounts, or the IRS. Sections are encouraged to view the CFO as their partner, and to ask about any legal or financial issue that is not immediately apparent.
As non-profit organizations, Sections must meet especially high standards of transparency, accountability, timeliness, and accuracy. The treasurer must of course place loyalty to the Section above his or her own personal gain.
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