From the Secretaries Table (March, 2008)

posted May 2, 2015, 3:11 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 2, 2015, 3:12 PM ]


Beginning a new year in the Secretary's office brings up a number of questions and tasks that have to be dealt with in order to move ahead with a clean slate and a good set of records.  As I began the process, I realized that many of you are probably not aware of just what goes on in the Secretary's Office; why we may ask you for information; or why we do not always have answers to your questions at our fingertips.  So let me relate to you the role of the General Secretary in the Valley of San Jose as it has been described to me.  (And I still have much to learn.)
The Secretary's job is very much like that of a Chief Operating Officer with the Personal Representative being the Chief Executive Officer.  In his role the Secretary keeps a constant overview of the way the various components of the organization are functioning including membership service, building rentals, building maintenance, preparation and maintenance of the annual budgets, membership dues collection, and appropriate and timely responses to members' queries and special requests. In the valley of San Jose, the Secretary is also responsible for the record keeping of the San Jose Scottish Rite Foundation and the Valley's channels of communication with members and senior Scottish Rite administration in California as well as Washington, D.C.  The Secretary is also responsible for taking and publishing the minutes of the various meetings that are held in the Valley for both the Bodies and the Foundation.
The Secretary plays an important role in preparation for the reunions and other special events such as the Mason of the Year, Sweethearts and other special events.  And of course the Secretary is expected to provide the necessary administrative support to the Valley Personal Representative.
Obviously I can't do all of this by myself, but I have a very capable Administrative Assistant in Mary Lou Johnson who carries a good portion of the workload.  In this Valley we are blessed with a Personal Representative who,  plays a significant role in making planning for the future changes and improvements.
We always need your support and assistance in a number of different ways.  First, obviously, please pay your annual dues promptly.  As of this date only about 60% of the dues-paying members have paid their 2008 dues.  Since these data are reported to Supreme Council as your dues come in to the Office; late payment of dues results in follow-up reminders being sent out from the Supreme Council, frequently after you have paid your dues.
Another critical area where we need your support is making sure that your personal data are up to date and complete and in our files. Frequently, when a question arises about a member, either as a result of a change of residence, a wish to transfer to another Valley or even another State, or even in case of a member's death, all we have in the files is the original application form, and a note telling when he received his Scottish Rite degrees. 
Please remember to call the Office to let us know whether you are planning to attend the Stated Meeting dinners on the second Tuesday of each month.  We have to let our Caterer know, by the Friday before the meeting, how many are planning to attend - and frankly, it is often only a guess on our part.  We do have calling lists and members of the Calling Committee try to reach as many of you as possible. Unfortunately, many times they have had to leave messages on your answering machines, and we hope that you will respond by calling the Office.
Still another area where you can help us has to do with rentals of our facilities for anniversaries, parties, special events, etc.
The income from these rentals plays a very significant role in helping us maintain the building, support the Clinic, Library/Museum, Scholarships and the fraternal and charitable activities of the Bodies.  We are always looking for additional rentals and referrals from our members for rental leads. 
As members of the Valley you should know that we offer special discount rates for your own rentals or those of concordant organizations. And of course we do our very best to accommodate the unexpected requirements for a Memorial Service for a member or his family. 
If there is anything we can do for you, our members, please let us know.  We can be reached in the Office every weekday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and the answering machine is ready 24/7 to take your messages. Just speak slowly and be sure to give us your name and phone number.   You would be surprised to know how many callers never leave their names with their messages! 
Thanks for your patience and assistance in all these areas.

Robert D. Rowan — General Secretary