It is a daunting privilege to be the charter faithful navigator of a new assembly. A new assembly is a wonderful opportunity to start off doing things in the right way and to keep appropriate records and preserve our history.
A principal hope of establishing the new assembly is to increase participation in the Fourth Degree by the members of councils in Hunterdon County. A more local meeting location will make it easier for members to attend the meetings. I certainly realize that everyone is very busy today–working longer hours and with more family responsibilities. Therefore, it is very important that meetings are run efficiently and do not waste the members’ time. I will devote the balance of this message to discussing several ways in which I intend to run the meetings to respect our members’ time.
The first way is promptness. The sooner a meeting begins, the sooner it can end. Our meetings commence at 7:30 and I intend to bring down the gavel at precisely that time. This means of course that officers and members must be assembled, in their seats and ready to go.
A second way is preparation. I expect all officers and committees providing reports to be prepared to do so and preferably to provide a summary to me by e-mail at least several days before the meeting. Similarly, a representative of each council should provide an advance report from the Third Degree.
For my part I intend to prepare an agenda which will be distributed in advance by e-mail to allow matters to proceed efficiently. There are often routine, non-controversial motions that need to be made. I propose to list such items early in new business and dispatch them via a single motion or by unanimous consent. (Any member wishing separate discussion of any of these items would be entitled to do so.)
It is my hope that by taking these steps our meetings will be kept well under an hour.
I imagine many if not most of our members have never actually attended a Fourth Degree meeting. I strongly encourage all to help the assembly get off on its best foot by participating in its activities, including attending meetings.