(1) Re-assess your own personal goals and priorities. Your personal goals and priorities will usually fit nicely within the larger scope of your council’s; however, when your personal goals conflict with council’s, you will still be expected to represent the majority position. If you cannot comfortably support a position your community wishes to take, allow some other council officer who is in agreement to stand in for you. Remember that as president of the community council, you represent the community as a whole, not just your own interests.
(2) Realize that your council-related priorities will change as you move from being “just a member” to the person everyone looks to for information and guidance.
(3) Develop a good sense of self, self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-esteem; you will need lots of all of them.
(4) Know yourself and your limits. Be willing to alienate some folks if necessary, and, at the same time, be willing to swallow hard and concede to others’ wishes.
(5) Assess your own leadership effectiveness.
(6) Do not take people’s actions or comments personally. They will often just want to vent their frustration(s) and will see you as someone who might actually listen.
(7) Learn to delegate and share responsibility. Doing this will invest other members’ time and energy which will pay off in more involved members and less stress for you.
(8) Surround yourself with willing, capable workers. This is much easier said than done, but it is essential to any successes your council will experience. Thank them publicly every time you get the chance.
Things to do:
(1) Call a special meeting to which all members are invited, complete with refreshments, for the express purposes of
(A) thanking past officers and committee chairs;
(B) welcoming new officers and committee chairs;
(C) sharing pertinent information;
(D) encouraging continued participation;
(E) charting council’s short- and long-term goals and priorities — the more people involved with this activity, the better; and
(F) officially transferring records and materials.
(2) Have a separate meeting a day or two earlier with the outgoing president to reinforce his or her participation and to insure the success of the larger gathering. This is critical for continuity of operations, especially if there is no provision in the bylaws which requires past presidents or other officers to carry over their involvement past their term(s) of office.
(2a) Both (1) and (2) can be especially difficult if the outgoing president and/or other officers are reluctantly stepping down or if there are bad feelings among various members who were not elected to fill positions. Assess the climate of your organization and work to improve it. Remember, though, that time makes a significant difference in how we view things, so allow wounds to heal, hearts to get off sleeves, skins to thicken, etc.
(3) Contact various city representatives — City Council, Department of Community and Economic Development, Recreation Commission, etc., and introduce yourself as the new president of your council. Do this even if you know them personally. Your position as a community council president significantly changes the types and amount of information which will be shared with you.
(4) Do the same thing with the local media — newspaper, television, and radio. Establishing contact at the outset of your tenure makes future contacts easier and more productive.
(5) Attend workshops, meetings, and other training opportunities. Meet formally and/or informally with other council presidents to gain additional insight.
(6) There are several types of materials you will need to transfer during a changing of the guard:
(7) When your tenure as president is over, be as graceful, helpful, and considerate in leaving the post as you would have liked others to have been when you came into office.
Mail will come to you from:
Manage your own time better and increase resident participation by spreading around the responsibility and the opportunity for recognition for different projects. Include as many different residents as possible.
A full description of officers and their duties, as well as how they are elected or appointed, their term of office, and any qualifications for those who hold office, should be included in an organization’s bylaws. A generalized overview of the most common offices and their associated responsibilities follows.
Chairman or President:
It is generally the duty of the president to:
In addition to those stated above, the president will usually have administrative duties such as acting as the official voice of the organization; signing checks, contracts, and agreements, etc., which should be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws.
This person will automatically become the next president of the organization unless he leaves office during his term as president-elect or grounds arise to remove him. The office of president-elect exists only if it is expressly provided for in the organization’s bylaws. This practice eliminates the need to vote for a president; only the president-elect and other officers are chosen each term. When an organization has a president-elect, that person assumes responsibility when the president is absent.
This persons is second in command and serves when the president is absent. Sometimes there are first, second, third, etc., vice-presidents. If the sitting president does resign, they move up and become responsible for presiding in the same order as their office dictates. The first vice-president becomes president, the second vice-president becomes first vice-president, etc. Vice presidents do not automatically become president; they must be elected to fill that office.
This person is responsible for keeping the official records of the organization. These records include the minutes, committee reports, membership roll, etc. Other duties include sending meeting notices, preparing agendas, and notifying officers, etc., of their election or appointment.
This persons is responsible for keeping the organization’s financial records, collecting dues, etc. Writing checks, managing financial accounts, chairing committees, and preparing periodic reports are additional treasurer responsibilities.
Other officers, such as sergeant-at-arms, historian, chaplain, doorkeeper, parliamentarian, etc., also have specific duties. Consult any comprehensive issue of Robert’s Rules for that material.
Community Council meetings are run according to Robert’s Rules.
Minutes must be kept by the Secretary and are approved in the following meeting
The president starts by calling the meeting to order; that is, formally announcing that the meeting will begin. Before any business can take place, a quorum must be present. A quorum is a specific number and combination of members required in order to transact the organization’s business. This information should be in the organization’s constitution and/or bylaws.
If there is no quorum, the only activities allowed are: (1) pre-determining a time to adjourn the meeting; (2) attempting to establish a quorum before that time elapses; and, if no quorum has been established by the pre-determined time, (3) adjourning.
Fuller, more comprehensive descriptions of how to run meetings are included in any book on parliamentary procedure. http://www.robertsrules.org/
Generally speaking, any member (membership criteria should be in the organization’s bylaws) attending a meeting may speak on any agenda item. Rules governing how often, how long, etc., someone may speak are often set to avoid lengthy, sometimes unproductive, discussions. However, speakers may request additional time, and the presiding officer may put the request for an extension of time to a vote.
To formally have an item voted on:
A member says “I move to . . .
Most motions require a second (someone who agrees with your motion or who simply wants to bring the item to a vote should simply say “second.”)
Presiding officers may engage in debate on a topic but normally do not introduce motions or vote, except to break a tie. Presiding officers do have the right to vote in elections.
Once the motion is formally moved and seconded, the presiding officer restates the motion and asks if there are questions. At that time, members can ask questions or state concerns relating to the motion. After questions and concerns have been addressed — amendments to the pending motion are allowed at this time — the presiding officer again restates the motion to be sure everyone knows what is being voted on. The vote is taken, and the motion either passes or fails. Most motions only require a majority vote to pass. Other, more significant motions require a two-thirds vote to pass. When a majority vote is needed, a tie means the motion fails. When their vote will affect the result, presidents may choose to vote and thereby break or establish a tie. They may also choose to abstain.
To reduce conflicts during a meeting:
For a more comprehensive discussion of how meetings should be run and the rules that govern them, please refer to any book on parliamentary procedure. A common title is Robert’s Rules of Order, available at most libraries or bookstores.
A major challenge related to record-keeping is motivating other officers to be as conscientious about record maintenance as the president and secretary might be. One way to reinforce the need for accurate and thorough record-keeping and retention is to encourage others to do what you want and then to give unexpected rewards for follow-through. Rewards might be nothing more than a public statement of how helpful the person’s behavior is, a small token passed along from a workshop or conference, or an opportunity to represent the community at a special affair. Keep in mind that while you will tire of the increased demands on your time, members who are not as involved will often be quite pleased to stand in for you.
While the secretary may have the official responsibility of maintaining council records, it is a very good idea for the sitting president to maintain his or her own set of important records.