Grunt

Executive Secretary

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He's the secretary to the bishop. He is the guy you talk to when you want to set up an appointment with the bishop. He also acts as a regular secretary at almost all bishopric meetings of all types, taking minutes and keeping track of assignments and decisions. He often is tasked by the bishop to see to this or that item. The stake president also has an executive secretary, the (surprise!) stake executive secretary, who functions in a similar role at the stake level.

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Interesting.  Everyone in my ward just talks to the Bishop when they want to meet with him.  I've never heard that you're supposed to talk to the executive secretary first.

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12 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Interesting.  Everyone in my ward just talks to the Bishop when they want to meet with him.  I've never heard that you're supposed to talk to the executive secretary first.

If that works for you guys, awesome.  

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22 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Interesting.  Everyone in my ward just talks to the Bishop when they want to meet with him.  I've never heard that you're supposed to talk to the executive secretary first.

Some bishops prefer to keep their own calendar, but most rely to a greater or lesser (usually greater) degree on the XS.

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I've been Exec Sec.  These guys are used by the Bishop in ways that help individual bishops the most.   Keep them on time and on track.  They will often keep track of kids up for baptisms, priesthood advancements, yearly mtgs with youth, people who need temple recommend interviews, and will call folks up and make appointments for them to see the Bishop.   Or when the bishopric wishes to extend a calling, they'll often contact the folks and arrange an interview.   They attend bishopric meetings, run agendas, track agenda items, and can act as record keeper for disciplinary councils.  

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50 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Thanks.  I wonder if this is something the Bishop just prefers to do himself, or if they are expecting it to be put more in line with what you are all saying.

Bishops should focus their energies on 'ministering', while allowing their executive secretaries help do 'administering'.
The more routine administrative activities an exec. secretary, clerk and counselors can remove from the Bishop's plate, the more he is freed up to:

Quote

 care for the spiritual well-being of the members of their Church units.

 

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15 hours ago, Grunt said:

Thanks.  I wonder if this is something the Bishop just prefers to do himself, or if they are expecting it to be put more in line with what you are all saying.

Every Bishop works differently, the executive secretary serves at his discretion. I served as Ex Secretary to our former Bishop and I kept his calendar, made the agenda for Bishopric Meeting and Ward council, Kept him on schedule with his appointments. (our ex Bishop would run over on everything if I didn't knock on his door). I also filtered out who would see the bishop and who wouldn't (to an extent) but basically if your wanted a meeting with the bishop you had to contact me, get on his calendar or he wouldn't see you.  You would be shocked at how many people want to see the  guy for the most mundane things, his time is precious and limited. 

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20 hours ago, Grunt said:

Interesting.  Everyone in my ward just talks to the Bishop when they want to meet with him.  I've never heard that you're supposed to talk to the executive secretary first.

It was new to me too until I moved down here @Grunt.  I had no idea what the executive secretary did either. 

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6 hours ago, MormonGator said:

It was new to me too until I moved down here @Grunt.  I had no idea what the executive secretary did either. 

Could just be due to the size of the wards, maybe?  The Stake President mentioned what everyone else in this thread did, so either A:  it happens and I just don't know it or B:  it doesn't happen but they want it to start happening.  Either of those is plausible.   I was surprised that the Stake President extended the calling, not the Bishop.

Edited by Grunt

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1 minute ago, Grunt said:

Could just be due to the size of the wards, maybe?  The Stake President mentioned what everyone else in this thread did, so either A:  it happens and I just don't know it or B:  it doesn't happen but they want it to start happening.  Either of those is plausible.   I was surprised that the Stake President extended the calling, not the Bishop.

Great question my friend. I have no idea. The wards down here are really small, but they are filled with old people (descriptive, not pejorative. They even admit this). They tend to me, by their own admission, much more dogmatic and formal. That might have something to do with it. My former ward up north was much more laid back. 

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2 hours ago, Grunt said:

I was surprised that the Stake President extended the calling, not the Bishop.

I'm not sure what the new handbook holds, but currently Handbook 2 has a chart section 19. It shows who does what. Often in meetings someone will say, "Who calls X person to Y calling?". Everyone including the executive sec. scramble to open up section 19 to figure it out. Good luck in your new calling too.

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I like scheduling my own things so an executive secretary would be over more of the administrative side of things.  Calling people to set up appointments if we didn't meet first, or keeping track of various ward items.  The clerks also could print out various paperwork (lots more than should be needed) in the ward and such.

The current Bishop schedules everything through the Executive Secretary though, ironically the Stake President does not seem to do the same.  He calls me (and I suppose others if he wants to talk to them) directly, at least thus far he has.

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3 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I like scheduling my own things so an executive secretary would be over more of the administrative side of things.  Calling people to set up appointments if we didn't meet first, or keeping track of various ward items.  The clerks also could print out various paperwork (lots more than should be needed) in the ward and such.

The current Bishop schedules everything through the Executive Secretary though, ironically the Stake President does not seem to do the same.  He calls me (and I suppose others if he wants to talk to them) directly, at least thus far he has.

The Stake President said his Executive Secretary runs his schedule, yet every time he's wanted to speak to me he's called me himself.

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I've been thinking about this for some odd reason. I think it's a formality thing combined with a personal relationship thing. Obviously, If the bishop and I are on a first name basis and our buds,  he's just going to "go around" his secretary and shoot me an email/text, etc. It might be different in some cases if he's not that close to you or if they are super formal. I'm sure it changes from ward to ward. 

Edited by MormonGator

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21 hours ago, MormonGator said:

I've been thinking about this for some odd reason. I think it's a formality thing combined with a personal relationship thing. Obviously, If the bishop and I are on a first name basis and our buds,  he's just going to "go around" his secretary and shoot me an email/text, etc. It might be different in some cases if he's not that close to you or if they are super formal. I'm sure it changes from ward to ward. 

Probably.   The more I read the handbook and other documents, it does seem as though things would run much smoother if the executive secretary at the very least keeps up with the schedule, given his duties on the council as well.

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I've always envisioned the Executive Secretary to be like a chief of staff. While the most common responsibilities are agendas and scheduling, I would also advise that you act as a screen and protect the bishop's time.

For a couple of years now, the Church has been pressing the idea that adults who have problems should approach either the Relief Society president or Elders Quorum president first. Now that the bishop is also assuming the role of young men president, this is even more crucial. I would recommend you do everything you can to direct as many interviews with adults away from the bishop as possible (there are very few interviews and settings apart that can't be done by the counselors). Any adults that ask for his time should be redirected to Relief Society and Elders Quorum. Try not to schedule interviews between the bishop and adults unless one of those presidents refers the adult to the bishop (ideally, the referral goes to you to schedule the interview).  If someone really wants to meet with the bishop, ask them if the matter would affect their temple recommend. If that answer is no, then redirect them to RS and EQ.

In our ward right now, the only interviews we schedule for the bishop are with youth, and with a select few that are on welfare assistance, are working on worthiness issues, or require by the handbook that they be called or set apart by the bishop. Everything else is handled by the counselors. (the one exception being when we are falling behind, we'll schedule a few adult interviews with the bishop for a couple of weeks just to get caught up). 

One last thing...keep the bishop informed of each person you deflect away from him. You're the best protection of the bishop's time, but you want to make sure that he is aware of and has an opportunity to reverse any decisions you make. 

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4 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

If someone really wants to meet with the bishop, ask them if the matter would affect their temple recommend. If that answer is no, then redirect them to RS and EQ.

Your observations and advice seem mostly sound. But if I ask to schedule an interview with my bishop for a non-temple-recommend matter and the exec sec says "no", then I say "yes, put me down." If he refuses to, I go to my bishop directly and tell him I need to talk with him but his exec sec won't schedule me. That seems all around inappropriate, from all sides. I understand the "gatekeeper" role, but a man or woman should have access to his/her bishop. Maybe I'm thinking about this wrong, but that's how it seems to me at the moment.

4 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

One last thing...keep the bishop informed of each person you deflect away from him. You're the best protection of the bishop's time, but you want to make sure that he is aware of and has an opportunity to reverse any decisions you make. 

This seems wise.

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On 2/17/2020 at 9:47 PM, NeedleinA said:

I'm not sure what the new handbook holds, but currently Handbook 2 has a chart section 19.

FYI @Grunt, new handbook has moved the chart to section 30.7.1 now.

Edited by NeedleinA

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19 minutes ago, Vort said:

Your observations and advice seem mostly sound. But if I ask to schedule an interview with my bishop for a non-temple-recommend matter and the exec sec says "no", then I say "yes, put me down." If he refuses to, I go to my bishop directly and tell him I need to talk with him but his exec sec won't schedule me. That seems all around inappropriate, from all sides. I understand the "gatekeeper" role, but a man or woman should have access to his/her bishop. Maybe I'm thinking about this wrong, but that's how it seems to me at the moment.

I understand that this is an enormous shift from how we've done things in the past. I stand by it nonetheless. 

About 18 months ago, a member of our stake presidency visited our ward with a message that needed to be conveyed during Sacrament Meeting. He stood up and addressed the congregation as follows:

"If you are a member of the youth program or a member of the bishop's family, please stand up. [pause while those people stood]. All of you who are standing may call the bishop any time you like. The rest of you, if you need something, call [Elders Quorum President] or [Relief Society President]."

He spoke for about another two minutes about how this was going to be a difficult change, but reassured us that the Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidents were fully authorized to counsel us on any matters out side of worthiness and finances. (and even with respect to finances, we're being encouraged to have the EQ and RS presidents do initial evaluations and submit recommendations to the bishop for approval)  This wasn't instruction unique to our stake. It had been passed down from the Area Presidency.

 

As a matter of my own personal experience, we've been pushing this really heavily for almost a year. The person we had the hardest time training into this mindset was the bishop himself. But he's gotten a lot better about refusing on-demand meetings (of the variety "hey bishop, I want to talk to you"). When he gets that kind of request directly, he usually asks if the person has spoken to one of the presidents yet. If they haven't he says, "I think [name] can probably help you with that better than I can."  Honestly, the ward has run better and the membership has grown stronger in the time we've done this. 

Will there be exceptions?  Almost certainly.  I can think of one or two exceptions we've had in the past year. But the exceptions were pretty obvious. 

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In my experience you always want to speak to "the boss". It's the best way to get things done. In order to avoid drama, just shoot the bishop an email saying "Hey, I need to see you about this or that." There. Done. That simple. 

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4 minutes ago, mordorbund said:

your life is full of bad experiences.

Tell me about it. Last weekend we had to wait for TWENTY MINUTES to be seated at one of our favorite Disney restaurants. 

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