Council Officer Roles
Each year your council elects and appoints new men to take on leadership roles within your council. Sometimes these roles are well-defined while other times the role may be expanded based on that individuals talents or interests. The following text offers an approach that may be helpful for new councils in appointing their first set of officers or for existing councils looking to expand the responsibilities of their existing officers. These suggestions may not work on every campus, however, we hope this approach will benefit at least a few officer roles.
Grand Knight – The grand knight is the chief executive officer of the council. He is responsible for setting council goals and ensuring that all officers fulfill their duties in reaching these objectives. He presides over all meetings; appoints program and committee directors as needed and fills officer roles in the event of vacancies; countersigns checks and orders for payment; and is responsible for the council’s First Degree Team. Ideally, the grand knight should be a junior so that as a senior he can serve as a mentor for the next grand knight.
Deputy Grand Knight – The deputy grand knight serves as the grand knight’s right hand man and should fill in for the grand knight when he is not present. Additionally, the deputy grand knight will likely lead a committee, or multiple, if he chooses to do so. Some deputy grand knights serve as their council’s program director. Ultimately, he assists the grand knight in leading the council and reaching council objectives. In some councils, the deputy grand knight role might be used to groom a possible grand knight candidate for the following year. Finally, the deputy grand knight may serve as a liaison between the council and other groups that share similar interest (i.e. Newman Club, pro-life club, etc.).
Chancellor – The chancellor assists both the grand and deputy grand knights in the leading of the council by engaging and strengthening the council’s members. His primary responsibilities include both recruiting and retaining members and to this end he should set up different events that display the different values and principles of the Knights of Columbus. The chancellor should participate in the council’s degree team and should serve on both the Admission and Retention Committees.
Treasurer – The treasurer is responsible for managing the council funds, whether in bank or school accounts. He receives money from the financial secretary and deposits funds into council accounts. He is also responsible for paying all council expenses. Finally, he balances and verifies the ledger and keeps the updated budget once approved by the council.
Advocate – The council advocate acts as council parliamentarian; he should be knowledgeable in Robert’s Rules of Order and Methods of Conducting a Council Meeting (#1937). He may seek legal assistance from the state advocate, should issues arise. The advocate should be able to take on additional responsibilities as the council deems necessary.
Recorder – The recorder has the responsibility of recording all meetings and events held by the council. He should record minutes, conversations and other information helpful to the council and prepare them to be distributed to the council membership in a timely manner. Additionally, he should help with council event notifications, council meeting reminders, and assist with council social media responsibilities.
Warden – The warden is responsible for the property owned by the council. He is also in charge of setting up meetings and leads both the inside and outside guards. Many college councils utilize the warden and guards as custodians of the campus ministry property which may include raking leaves, shoveling snow and assisting with maintenance of the interior.
Inside/Outside Guards – The inside and outside guards carry out tasks given to them by the grand knight and also follow orders of the warden. They are responsible for checking membership cards and allowing entrance to meetings. Councils should consider appointing additional inside and outside guards, especially among promising freshmen, as this provides early leadership opportunities from which they can be elected to higher positions as they enter their sophomore year.
Trustees (3) – The trustees advise the grand knight, supervise the council’s financial matters, and conduct the semiannual audits. Usually the immediate past grand knight will serve as a trustee. Some college councils utilize alumni members and/or university faculty members as the other two trustees to provide additional oversight and support.
Chaplain – The chaplain is the spiritual leader of the council who works to bring out the true values of the Knights of Columbus. He nurtures the faith in council members particularly through the sacraments but also through spiritual direction, retreats and other events and support. The grand knight should meet regularly with the council chaplain to see how the council can best support the Catholic community on campus.
Financial Secretary – The financial secretary is chosen by the trustees and the officers of the council for a three year term and approved by the supreme knight. He holds an important position of continuity within the council and has the responsibility of collecting dues as well as ensuring that the council’s financial recordings are kept up to date. Additionally, he ensures that membership records are current, issues membership cards, files regular reports to the district, regional, state and supreme offices and submits the annual 990 to the IRS. Because of his important role, the financial secretary cannot be an undergraduate student, but ideally should be a member of the campus faculty or staff. If no one from the campus community can serve in this role, it should be an adult member of the neighboring community.
Lecturer - The lecturer provides brief spiritual discourses and reflections during business meetings for the “Good of the Order”. If the lecturer cannot be present, he should appoint a council member to give the reflection for him.
Program Director – The program director is appointed by the grand knight and oversees the six surge with service committees (church, community, council, family, youth and culture of life). In some councils this may be the duty of the deputy grand knight. The program director should ensure that all his subordinate committees meet regularly and plan appropriate events. He communicates individual committee reports to the grand knight.
Membership Director – The membership director serves as the head of the Admission Committee and works to grow the council’s membership through new and transfer members. He should actively identify potential recruits, plan recruitment programs, host informational meetings and encourage council members to seek candidates. In addition, the membership director should ensure that a council has access to frequent degrees (whether its own or local councils) and should work that each member reaches at least the third degree in a timely manner.
Retention Chairman – The retention chairman works to keep the councils members active once they join. He should consider implementing programs and practices that provide mentors for new members and he should regularly communicate with the council to encourage their participation. When students graduate, the retention chairman should help them transfer to a council in their area. At times when a council wishes to suspend members, they must have the retention chairman make an effort to keep these members or have them transfer to another council.
Other Council Positions
These are positions that are not required by or reported to the Supreme Council, however, many college councils have had found success by utilizing these roles. In many cases, these roles may be filled by council officers who have these unique responsibilities in addition to their other duties.
Campus Ministry Liaison – In order to best communicate and collaborate with other Catholic groups and ministries on campus, the council should have a liaison to campus ministry staff, student advisory board and specific groups (such as the Pro-Life Club). The deputy grand knight can be a good fit for this role.
Social Media Chairman – The social media chairman is responsible for overseeing the council’s social media accounts and making sure new content is posted on a regular basis. At minimum, at least two council members should have access to these accounts, ideally at least the recorder and grand knight.
Alumni Relations Chairman – Maintaining healthy relationships with alumni members can help the council utilize these relationships for mentorship and financial assistance. The alumni relations chairman should communicate regularly with alumni and plan at least one or two alumni/council events per year, usually in conjunction with homecoming or other campus alumni events.