By Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary
A new year is upon us and with that the hope of spring.
The Roster for 2017 has been mailed. We, at State Headquarters, hope that you find the Roster helpful. Roster updates and additions are available and will be published in the Bulletin or through the State Secretary.
You will be receiving requests for donations from the various directors and/or committee chairs in the near future. I am requesting that all donations from your Grange be sent directly to the director unless their request states otherwise. Donations to the Kelley Farm should be mailed directly to: National Grange, 1616 H St., Washington DC 20006 with checks made payable to the Grange Foundation earmarked “Kelley Farm Fund.”
Worthy Secretary, “The duties of your office are the most arduous of all.” During the past 149 years Grange Secretaries have realized that their tasks have been somewhat demanding, requiring that they be present at all meetings, that they be alert in recording the minutes, that they be accurate in their accounts, and that they be courteous to all at all times.
Materials for Grange Secretaries
In an effort to aid the Grange Secretary and Treasurer in their labors the following are available from State Headquarters: Secretary’s Receipts, $8.00; Improved Order Book, $6.50; Treasurer’s Receipt Book, $6.00.
The Secretary’s Receipt Books are used to record the yearly dues received from your members.
Treasurer’s Receipt Books are used to record monies received from the Secretary. All money goes through the Secretary to be recorded in the record book and then turned over to the Treasurer. The Treasurer will then complete a receipt listing what the monies received from the Secretary was for and gives the receipt to the Secretary to have for her records.
The Improved Order Book is used at each meeting. The Secretary will fill out the Order form and have the Master sign the form and it should have the grange seal embossed on it. This is a record that provides the Treasurer with information to pay what bills. Some bills are automatic as they may come due before a meeting is held but these should be included in the next Order to the Treasurer with a notation that the bill was paid and the date of payment. This gives you as the Secretary a check and balance with the Treasurer of what bills may be outstanding.
It is to the advantage of every Grange Secretary and Treasurer to have the Grange Accounts audited at least once a year, and also whenever one of these Officers changes. Using the above record keeping forms will help greatly in your audits.
It is to the advantage of every Grange Secretary and Treasurer to be bonded. This is not that we expect a Grange Secretary or Treasurer to embezzle funds; it is for their protection in case of theft, loss, or being mislaid.
The Maine State Grange does offer coverage for $5000.00 and administrative cost will be $25.00 for three years. This is an administrative cost, not a premium, as the State Grange cannot sell insurance. We are only making an agreement with your Grange that if you have a loss caused by mishandling of Grange money by a covered individual, the State Grange will cover that loss and prosecute the offender. An application must be filed and the administrative cost paid prior to coverage. An audit must be taken of all Grange accounts covered by the Maine State Grange prior to filing and each year henceforth. These audits must be available for inspection any time during the term of the bond.
First of all, it is very necessary that they be collected in a businesslike manner, and that every effort is made to collect them. Most people pay their indebtedness when they are billed.
A notice should be sent 60 days prior to the first of the year as to the amount of the dues which states that they are payable in advance.
Second, on February 1 send a follow-up notice to each member who has overlooked paying their dues the first of the year.
Final, on April 1 send a final notice and at the next Grange meeting announce to the Grange that you have “X” number of members who have not paid their dues. You may use phone, personal contact, special delivery mail with return receipt, or any other method you see fit. But every effort should be made to collect these dues and maintain these Patrons on the rolls.
Under no conditions does the Secretary have the right to drop anyone from the books for nonpayment of dues without the action of the Grange.
Quarterly reports are the official membership and dues reporting of Grange Secretaries. These reports are due on March 31st—June 30th—September 30th and December 31st. I make available to Subordinate and Pomona Granges who are expected to report, the proper and necessary forms upon which to file these reports. These reports are requested to be mailed no later than the 10th of the month following each quarter.
When mailing your quarterly reports, you should mail the top (white copy) to me at headquarters, middle copy (yellow) is mailed to your POMONA SECRETARY (not State Headquarters) and the last page kept for your records.
As I have been reminded that we must provide our Ganges with the proper paperwork and information I will be adding forms to the Secretary Help Page. I am sure that those of you who are working more with the internet will find these helpful. I have not forgotten the fact that some secretaries still need mailings so these will not stop.
Be safe and enjoy the New Year.