Proposal: General Secretary Supervisory Committee

Proposal to establish a new General Secretary Supervisory Committee.

This proposal includes the recommendation that the existing Task Group members continue as Committee members, retaining the existing class arrangement. Upon approval of the proposal, responsibility to nominate new committee members will transfer to NYYM Nominating Committee, effective on approval of the proposal.


Proposed Handbook entry


In 2004, the General Services Coordinating Committee (GSCC) announced the process by which the new general secretary will begin and be supported in his service for the Yearly Meeting (minute 48, July 28, 2004), including how and by whom the general secretary is to be evaluated. In prior discussions in committee, various models were brought forth and discussed at great length. The concept of having one Friend, such as the clerk of the YM or the clerk of GSCC, have that responsibility was rejected; the Personnel Committee was not evaluating personnel anymore, and so that model was dropped; if we were to follow a corporate model, the board of directors would be evaluating the CEO, but we do not have a board of directors and we did not see that the general secretary would be a CEO. Finally GSCC developed the idea of a group that would support and evaluate the general secretary during the three-year period that had been specified by the YM to make a final decision whether to retain the position. After struggling to find a name for this group, someone suggested the term General Secretary's Committee, which was approved. The understanding was that the members of this group were to be appointed by the GSCC and would report back to the GSCC. However, a Friend at that time objected that if in fact this was a committee then its members needed to be nominated by the Nominating Committee of the YM. A coordinating committee can appoint a task group, so we renamed the group and retained the concept.

In 2007, when the position was approved as continuous, GSCC again struggled with the concept of evaluation and supervision, which seemed advisable both for the protection of the YM and for the protection of the general secretary. The name and the function were thus changed to General Secretary Supervisory Task Group, and a description of its members and responsibilities was approved. It continues to report to GSCC, which had discussed whether the GSSTG should report directly to the Personnel Committee but agreed to keep the process as it was. The Personnel Committee does not evaluate any staff but does receive the staff evaluations. Per the original plan, there is an effort to have one person serve on both the Personnel Committee and the task group, in order to maintain good communications. This goal is not always achieved, in which case there is an effort to maintain good communications among the clerks of the task group and the Personnel and General Services Coordinating Committees.

Purposes & Objectives

The Committee and the general secretary will seek spiritual direction and work together to ensure compliance with the general guidelines of managerial practice. This includes planning and implementation of actions in accordance with God’s will as ascertained in the Yearly Meeting for worship with a concern for business. The Committee’s ultimate responsibility is to serve the body of the Yearly Meeting. Its charge in mutual discernment is to provide guidance to the general secretary as he/she develops program goals, priorities for working in accordance to God’s will in the Yearly Meeting, and staying on task after formulating long- and short-term goals.

Functions & Activities

The Committee’s framework for working together with and without the general secretary is as follows:

  • Uphold the general secretary and the body of the Yearly Meeting in prayer
  • Provide guidance as to the general secretary’s role in nurturing and supporting gifts of Friends/committees and the organizational structure of the Yearly Meeting
  • Provide guidance in the role of servant leadership—its meaning and practice
  • Provide and articulate boundaries and clear parameters of the general secretary role and the role of officers/committee clerks in the Yearly Meeting
  • Evaluate the general secretary’s work/performance using the job description, according to the policies and procedures of the Personnel Committee and the accountability queries found in the Handbook clerk and committee guidelines
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the position in relationship to New York Yearly Meeting needs
  • Report to the General Services Coordinating Committee twice yearly; an interim report in November and an annual report in March

Organization & Method of Appointment

The Committee should be composed of at least one person from the Personnel Committee and four other Friends who are grounded spiritually, seasoned in faith and practice, and where possible from diverse geographical parts of our Yearly Meeting. Friends should have some supervisory experience and have served as elders/ministers for accountability and nurturing. the committee should meet at least once without the general secretary for the purpose of looking at how they are doing both spiritually and following Friends’ process. As a group they will need to agree on a process for naming and supporting areas where growth is needed. It is anticipated that they will be asked to serve staggered terms of at least three years.

Meeting Times & Places

The Committee will determine how they will work together and how many times they will meet, at least quarterly.


The Committee will have no budget of its own.


Proposal to lay down General Secretary Supervisory Task Group.

The present General Secretary Supervisory Task Group and the General Services Coordinating Committee recommend, with the creation of a new General Secretary Supervisory Committee, the laying down of the Task Group.

This item was presented at