Bird-in-Hand Fire Company has one recording secretary who takes roll call and keeps minutes for both the General Membership monthly meeting (first Tuesday of the month) and the Board of Directors monthly meeting (last Tuesday of the month). The recording secretary is an official voting member of the 12-member Board.
The meetings follow a regular agenda and the recording secretary has the format on his computer, plus a spreadsheet for roll call. This simplifies the paperwork. He can anticipate the reports that will be given and other subjects that are to be considered, making it easy to record the major items of discussion in a clear, concise manner. It is, of course, very important to record the correct, official wording of each motion and second. Records of the financial reports given by the financial secretary and treasurer must also be accurate in the minutes.
Special committees of the Fire Company give reports at the general membership meeting and the recording secretary includes the highlights of these reports in the minutes.
Fire Company members who request a copy of the minutes can opt to receive either a hard copy or an emailed version when distributed following the Board meeting at the end of the month. The minutes are read at the beginning of each meeting and members suggest additions and/or corrections as needed. Finally, the minutes need to be approved before the meeting continues.
Since the early 2000s, electronic minutes have been uploaded on the Fire Company’s server and hard copies are kept in notebooks with each notebook containing three years of minutes. This makes the records easily accessible, when questions arise about past activities and decisions.
Another responsibility of the recording secretary is to maintain the correspondence of the Fire Company. He reads thank you letters that are received for various services the firefighters have given. He also sends out thank you letters from the Company.
Presently the recording secretary is Lavelle Beiler. He became a member of the Fire Company in 2010 after Chief Lonnie Kauffman, a fellow teacher at Weavertown Mennonite School, laid an application on his desk. Lavelle says, “By 2012 I had been asked to serve as recording secretary. For me this was a good entry level job since I soon got to know the ropes of the Fire Company.”
The recording secretary can also serve in other roles, as exemplified by Lavelle’s commitments. He is a lieutenant, one of three persons in the hub of the chicken barbecue wheel, and on the Human Resources Committee.