Occ. Code 2912000
SECRETARY 1, GRADE 11
Occ. Code 2912200
SECRETARY 2, GRADE 15
New York State Department of Civil Service
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF CLASS
A Secretary is the principal administrative support position
in an office and increases the effectiveness of program staff
by coordinating the paper flow of the office and carrying out
the day-to-day administrative support activities required to accomplish
the work of the organization. The nature and variety of the activities
depend on the program area in which the Secretary works.
The tasks which Secretaries perform fall into four broad categories:
communication, coordination, organization and records maintenance.
Within these categories, secretaries perform a variety of tasks
which enable managers and program staff to accomplish the mission
of the agency.
Secretaries establish office procedures; design office filing
systems; implement policies and procedures; maintain efficient
work flow; resolve day-to-day operational problems; respond to
phone calls; sort mail; organize, expedite and follow up on projects;
and coordinate information flow by acting as liaison among key
executives, staff, other employees and the public.
The tasks performed are part of a broad responsibility which
requires that the Secretary be aware of virtually everything happening
in the organizational unit. The typical position requires knowledge
of the organizational context of the unit and the agency and the
program with which it is associated.
To support classification as Secretary, incumbents must organize
and coordinate the administrative activities in an organizational
unit. This includes such things as: handling incoming correspondence
and drafting responses; reviewing outgoing correspondence; researching
background information; transmitting instructions to staff and
following up; handling telephone calls and visitors and responding
to questions; and coordinating and arranging meetings.
The level of Secretary is determined by consideration of the
full scope of duties required of the position, with particular
attention to: the level of participation in the program (both
breadth and depth) by the Secretary; whether coordination and
communication tasks include substantive issues; independence of
operation; whether a broad view of the program is required or
whether the focus of the job is rather narrow; and amount of time
spent keyboarding. The classification of
these positions is based on the role played in the program by
the Secretary and is not based on the presence or absence of any
one of the tasks performed.
Secretary 2 represents the full performance level of the occupation.
Incumbents of Secretary 1 positions perform many secretarial tasks
but do not fully participate in the management of an office or
in the full scope of the program.
- Program is usually large and quite active. Usually works
for someone who has a broad range of responsibilities. May be
classified in support of a program with a rather limited range
of responsibility but that is usually in very small organizations
with very few staff and no other administrative positions. In
such situations, incumbents are very involved in the program
and take on assignments otherwise done by program staff.
- Manager delegates administrative tasks to Secretary 2.
- Function very independently-little direction or review of
- Judgment--usually involves decision-making on a regular basis.
- Usually spends only 10-20 percent of time typing. There may
be Keyboard Specialist in area.
- Usually no other administrative staff in office. Therefore,
Secretary 2 may do personnel, budgeting, and/or purchasing tasks
otherwise performed by other administrative staff. If boss is
technician, clinician, academic, etc., manager is not usually
familiar with the administrative requirements of system. He/she
relies on Secretary to handle administrative tasks.
- Program may be rather quiet or small where technical staff
handle most substantive issues. Program may be broad but role
of secretary is limited because higher level functions are not
delegated. May be deeply involved in a
particular program area.
- Manager may be doing lower-level administrative tasks (if
so, manager job should be reviewed) or other staff is doing them.
- Assignments given with some instruction. Work is generally
reviewed but not closely.
- Usually refers decisions to someone else.
- Approximately half time typing. There may be Keyboard Specialist
- May be other administrative staff in the organization or
program does not require such staff because it is small. May
handle routine accounts, purchasing, and personnel transactions.
Keyboard Specialist - Incumbents spend the majority of their
work time operating equipment which requires the manipulation
of a standard alphanumeric keyboard in accordance with standards
of acceptable levels of production to produce correspondence,
reports, forms, charts and other material.
Administrative Assistant - Incumbents provide staff assistance
to an agency program manager by performing a variety of activities
such as writing reports, responding to correspondence, developing
public information materials, writing
background material and duties descriptions to support personnel
requests and developing program budget proposals.
Administrative Aide - Incumbents perform a wide variety of
paraprofessional activities and tasks in support of the work of
personnel, training, budgeting and administrative analysis staff.
BASIC DUTIES AND ILLUSTRATIVE TASKS
Provide administrative support:
- Open, review, sort and distribute the mail in accordance
with staff assignments.
- Review incoming correspondence and reports to determine their
significance. Make recommendations to manager or refer to appropriate
person for reply. (i.e., read all incoming correspondence, reports,
etc. Decide what information manager will need to respond. Refer
very technical questions/reports to appropriate program staff
requesting draft response, comments, etc. as appropriate. Set
deadlines for response. Follow-up to see that appropriate information
is being prepared and will be completed by deadline. When information
is received, review it to insure that it is complete/covers all
necessary points. If it does not, return to program for revision.
Insure that response is revised appropriately by deadline. Then
refer to manager for action.)
- Gather data relevant to complex or unusual inquiries in order
to provide a basis for a reply or a decision and/or draft the
reply. (i.e., Research problem and gather all necessary information
to answer questions raised. Decide which program staff must be
consulted to verify information. Trace transactions as far back
as necessary to insure that all collected information is accurate.
Prepare response to correspondence and submit to manager for
- Answer the telephone, respond to questions concerning policy
or procedures and refer calls to appropriate staff member for
very technical information.
- Respond to questions concerning program, policy and procedure.
Refer most complex technical questions to appropriate staff.
(i.e., Secretary must have significant knowledge of program area
to respond instantly to a variety of procedural and policy questions.
In cases where more detailed answers are required or background-information
is needed, research problems completely with program staff. If
question is very technical and requires original interpretation
of program area, refer phone call or visitor to correct program
- Monitor and track status of program activities.
- Prepare responses to letters concerning program, policies
and procedures for own or supervisor's signature.
- Review outgoing correspondence for proper grammatical usage,
clarity, factual correctness, compliance with policy, program
information and conformance to instructions. Insure that appropriate
background material is attached.
- Design, set up and maintain files (including electronic)
of correspondence/documents, code and file material, search for
requested material and periodically purge obsolete material for
storage in records center or for disposal.
- Schedule meetings and maintain calendar.
- Make travel arrangements and prepare travel vouchers.
- Arrange conferences; assemble and coordinate background materials
for meetings and conferences. Attend such conferences and prepare
a summary of the meeting's conclusions or agreed upon courses
- Transmit instructions from supervisor to appropriate staff
orally, in writing or electronically and follow up to see that
instructions are followed and deadlines are met.
- Prepare reports using statistical and narrative information.
This may require the use of a microcomputer/CRT and a variety
of software packages in order to obtain necessary data. May analyze
information and make recommendations.
Develop and revise work methods.
- Organize the flow of paper in the office.
- Based on personal observations of the need for procedural
changes or modifications in the office, implement or suggest
new or revised procedures.
- Develop, maintain and update office procedure manuals.
- Review forms used by the organizational units, suggest changes
and draft new forms.
- Orient staff to office and agency procedures.
Perform formatting and keyboarding tasks similar to those described
in the classification standard for Keyboard Specialist.
May supervise clerical staff.
- Interview and hire office clerical staff.
- Assign work to clerical staff who perform keyboarding, duplicating,
mail and supply, filing or similar tasks.
- Identify training needs of subordinates.
- Train subordinates in office procedures and keyboarding techniques.
- Review work to insure compliance with instructions.
- Evaluate the quality and quantity of work produced.
Maintain inventory and requisition office supplies.
INDEPENDENCE OF OPERATION
Secretaries work rather independently since they are typically
the only one in the office who is trained in secretarial and office
procedures and has the background to make judgments concerning
how the work in an office should be processed.
At the Secretary 2 level, incumbents work under rather broad
guidelines and select the best course of action from a number
of alternatives in a variety of situations. They set their own
priorities based on a review of the work that has to be done and
their knowledge of the program and office procedures. Their work
is not usually closely reviewed.
At the Secretary 1 level, incumbents work for administrators,
technical or program staff who usually give some direction concerning
priorities and in answering questions. Incumbents of Secretary
1 positions use a variety of procedures and manuals and update
and revise them as necessary. Their work is not usually closely
Secretaries read and interpret a variety of procedures, rules,
regulations and guidelines for the program area in which they
work and insure that completed work conforms to them. They make
decisions concerning required information and handle a variety
of questions and situations.
Secretaries 2 perform the full range of secretarial duties
typically required in that occupation.
Secretaries 1 perform a variety of tasks within administrative
support and keyboarding procedural parameters. The tasks are similar
to those of Secretary 2 but do not usually cover as broad a range
and are not usually performed as
One of the major elements of this occupation is the responsibility
for establishing and maintaining effective working relationships
with others in the same office, in other organizational units,
in other agencies and with the public. Secretaries are often the
first and only point of contact an individual may have with an
agency. Secretaries have frequent oral and written communication
concerning program as well as procedural matters with a variety
of individuals to facilitate and expedite the work of the Office.
Secretaries may also direct, assist and instruct others in the
operational protocol and procedures of the office and the agency.
They often compose correspondence and write reports and procedures.
Secretaries may supervise clerical staff. However, supervision
is not a requirement to support classification of these positions.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILL AND ABILITY
- Ability to establish effective working relationships with
a variety of people at all levels of organization.
- Knowledge of office and secretarial practices and procedures.
- Knowledge of the principles of office management and clerical
- Ability to analyze and summarize information in both narrative
and numerical form.
- Knowledge of proper grammatical usage, punctuation and spelling.
- Ability to write coherent English narrative concerning the
subject matter of the office's operation.
- Knowledge of agency policies and program policies, procedures
- Knowledge of the vocabulary and terms commonly used in a
- Ability to use modern office equipment.
- Ability to organize office operations.
- Ability to produce letters, tables, documents, etc., using
an alphanumeric keyboard.
- Ability to design and maintain filing systems.
- Ability to design forms for the collection of information.
- Ability to determine priorities.
- Ability to maintain program accounts.
In addition, for supervisory positions:
- Knowledge of the principles and practices of effective supervision.
- Ability to establish effective supervisory relationships.
Secretary 1 and Secretary 2
High School - Secretarial Program
1 or 2 years college curriculum in Secretarial Science
1 year experience working as Secretary
This training and experience includes typing - proficiency
and formatting at 50 WPM (usually 2 or 3 courses, 6-9 credits)
NOTE: Occupational requirements are distinguished from minimum
qualifications which address recruitment needs and the candidate
field available for a title at a particular point in time. For
current information on minimum qualifications contact
the Division of Staffing Services.