Boston Broadside
March/April 2002
Vol. 59,  No. 4
    Newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication


Copyright © STC Boston 2002

STC Elections

Candidate for Secretary:
Andrew Malcolm

By Andrew Malcolm

First, I'd like to ask you to vote for me for Secretary of STC. There's an old tale of a candidate who thanked his friend for voting for him, but his friend said, "I didn't vote for you." When asked why he said, "You never asked me and your opponent asked me and I said 'yes.'" Consider yourself asked.

I hope you will read the candidate synopsis text that each STC member will receive with the ballot, and I'll try not to repeat that here.

The responsibilities of Secretary of STC are delineated in STC Bylaws (§IV.2.D) that you can find in the annual directory issue of Technical Communication:

[1] The duties areas you can guessto prepare, distribute and maintain the minutes of Society, Board and Executive Council meetings. [2] The Secretary also conducts official correspondence. [3] The Secretary is a member of both the Board and the Executive Council and in those roles is responsible to vote upon the issues brought before the Board or Council (§IV.2 and §IV.8). [4] There are also the traditional roles of [a] Manager of the Bylaws Committee as appointed by the President (§VI.1 and §VI.4.B) and [b] recorder of the discussion at the annual STC Forum.

    [1] According to the bylaws, a secretary is responsible for recording proceedings and distilling their meaning. The Secretary needs both keyboarding and technical writing skills. My first employment was with an office dictation equipment distributor and I acquired touch-typing skills long ago from a public school. Distilling content into understandable prose is what technical communicators do and as a technical communicator, I've won numerous awards. Distilling discussion into prose is a skill enhanced by experience. I've been a member of STC for 38 yearsthe material you'll receive with the ballot tells of my STC and other professional society experience.

    [2] The Secretary must from time to time also sign certain legal documents on behalf of the Society. Again, my experience and education have given me valuable insight into the language of legal documents. I was licensed as a real estate salesman in California from 196467 I served as director of corporations owning a Rochester, NY FM radio station and a New York City theater company, and served on two zoning boards of appeals for an aggregate of more than 10 years and chair of one for 4½ years.

    [3] As a member of both the Board and Executive Council, the Secretary must vote on the plethora of issues that appear before those bodies. Votes are guided by experience; I've attended about a dozen Board meetings and was present (but not voting) at the meeting at which the Board accepted the resignation of Curt Youngblood, Bill Stolgitis' predecessor (ca. 1982). At that time, there was a proposal that the STC be managed by an organization that directs several professional societies. (Such an organization managed the STC for a year before Curt Youngblood became Executive Director.) Your officers wisely chose to have the STC continue to steer its own ship.'

    [4a] In addition to the duties specifically proscribed by the Bylaws, the secretary is often assigned by the President to oversee the work of the Bylaws Committee just as other officers are assigned other committee oversight functions and Director-Sponsors oversee the chapters. I've had a good deal of experience with bylaw establishment and revision in other organizations including the rather extensive bylaw creation and revision of the English Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology where I worked for 29 years.

    [4b] A minor but significant traditional function of Secretary is the recording of the discussion at the annual conferences' STC Forum. At the Forum, members express their concerns and opinionsoften passionately. Without minutes of these meetings, important issues and articulately expressed viewpoints might be lost. I pledge to accurately distill these discussions.

After having read all of that, I think you might ask, "what are your positions on various issues?" I would answer that I believe that STC should stay the course. We must be doing a lot of things right, or we would not have had our tremendous expansion in membership and annual conference attendance. When I joined STC, née STWP, our 'office' was the dining room of our executive director and his secretary was his wife. Conferences attracted a few hundred attendees, and conference program managers accepted papers to assure that presenters added to attendance! All of that changed with the policies we've followed, so I say, stay the course.

Andrew Malcolm can be reached at .