Administration of the local

The administration of the affairs of the local is the responsibility of the local executive committee. The secretary is tasked with record-keeping and managing correspondence and the treasurer keeps track of funds.  


  1. Minutes

Minutes are meant to provide a record of decisions, actions, participation and other useful information. They should indicate:  

  • the type of meeting (regular, executive, special, annual); 

  • the date, time and place of the meeting; 

  • who chaired and who took minutes; 

  • the names of the other officers who attended; 

  • how many members attended; 

  • the adoption of the minutes of the previous meeting; 

  • summaries of reports provided; 

  • all motions (names of movers and seconders, whether carried or defeated); 

  • summary of important issues discussed, even if there were no decisions made; 

  • information about elections (who was elected, who by acclamation) 

  • time of adjournment; 

  • and be signed by the secretary and the chairperson. 

Everyone on the executive, but particularly the secretary, should be able to refer quickly to any item of a previous meeting. Keeping a list of minutes taken (paper and/or electronic) that can be cross-referenced with copies of your minutes, will help to facilitate this task. This can include minutes of regular membership meetings, the annual meetings, the executive meetings, as well as minutes of committee meetings. 

When an election is held in the local, the minutes should record the names of all those members who are elected as officers or to committees.  If a candidate or candidates are elected by acclamation, this too should be recorded. As soon as possible following an election, advise the PSAC regional office of the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of the newly-elected union officials. 

  1. Correspondence 

Locals send and receive a wide variety of correspondence in the form of letters and emails. Most correspondence occurs between the local and its membership, the PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President, the PSAC national and/or regional offices, and the employer. Other correspondence includes information from affiliated labour bodies (i.e. district labour council or federation of labour) and other community/social justice partners.  

When a document or an e-mail is received, the secretary needs to determine whether it will be acted upon by the local executive, a local committee or the general membership and refer it accordingly. 

  • local executive - correspondence to be dealt with by the executive can be placed in a file folder or forwarded to the executive meeting for recommendations, action and/or circulation. The action taken should be recorded in the minutes of the next executive meeting. For easy reference, a notation can be made on the correspondence indicating the date of the meeting minutes containing the action to be taken. 

  • Local committees - the correspondence to be dealt with by a local committee is forwarded to the committee chairperson. The chairperson should be asked to alert the secretary to the committee's recommendation(s) prior to the date set for an up-coming meeting of the executive. Again, a notation can be made indicating the date of the meeting minutes containing the action to be taken. 

  • general membership - correspondence to be handled by the general membership can include correspondence already dealt with by the executive and requiring ratification by the membership and/or information from PSAC or other labour/social justice partners to be shared with the membership. Correspondence intended for the general membership should be circulated to the general membership at a meeting or through email contact lists and/or posted when appropriate.  

  1. Correspondence Log 

In order to keep track of local correspondence, a record should be kept of all the correspondence received and actioned. This record should include: who sent it, the date it was sent and the date it was received, the subject matter, to whom the correspondence was referred, the action taken and where the correspondence is filed. If this information is at the secretary’s fingertips, reports at executive and general membership meetings will be much easier. 

The most important reason for the correspondence log is to track follow-up. In cases where the local/branch initiates action, it is very important to keep a record of what happened or did not happen. The credibility of the local before the members and its ability to get results often depends on following-up. 

  1. Files 

The local needs to keep files of all correspondence, including copies of letters or e-mails prepared by the secretary and other officers. An efficient filing system is a simple one. Whether using paper or electronic files, simplicity also ensures that everyone in the local can locate information quickly.  Here are some suggestions to help you set up a filing system. 

While it is not practical to list all the possible file subjects, the most important ones are: 

  • files for each local committee, 

  • file containing current membership contact list and any mapping that has been done,  

  • audit reports and financial statements; 

  • grievances; 

  • minutes; and 

  • newsletters, bulletins and other information. 

With experience, you will know when files need to be maintained for specific items and when other files of a more general nature are most useful. Keep all your files together in one place, preferably in a cabinet or desk drawer that can be locked or electronically and password-protected. 

And always ensure that you keep membership information and grievance files confidential. 

REMEMBER — All documents on the grievance file are confidential and must not, under any circumstances, be made available to anyone, except authorized officers on the local executive, authorized staff, and/or authorized PSAC officers/staff. 

Remove or delete outdated documents from your current files on a regular basis.  These may either be destroyed if the material is no longer relevant or placed in storage. The secretary is responsible for maintaining current files, keeping them secure and passing them along to the next person holding the secretary position. 

Financial Administration 

The treasurer is the union officer responsible for the financial administration of local/branch funds. It is essential that careful records be kept of all financial dealings. Directly chartered locals must provide the PSAC National President with detailed financial statements each year by March 31st.  The National President can require an audited statement of receipts and expenditures annually.  


Budgets are a crucial planning tool for local activity. They should be connected to a strategic plan of the local to ensure that money is being spent wisely and with the local’s goals in mind. Budgets show where local dues are going and provide an explanation if a dues increase is proposed. An annual budget must be brought before the membership at an annual general meeting. It is the membership that votes on the budget and gives a mandate to the local to abide by the priorities established through the budget. 

If the local does not currently prepare a budget, it would be useful to begin doing so. This will not only make the treasurer’s task easier at the membership meeting, but it will also help the membership plan where their money will go. Last, but not least, it will help the executive throughout the year as the membership's priorities are established in part by how much money they are allocating to various activities.  


December 12, 2019