Required officers
Other officers
Electing officers
Transitioning officers
Handling non-performing officers

Required Officers

While you can have an officer for any function, from the CLAIR documents, there are 3 required officers: the President, the Vice-President, and the Treasurer.


  • The President takes leadership in planning the direction of the chapter and events
  • Creates meeting agendas and chairs meetings (or delegates those responsibilities), and makes sure the chapter is fulfilling all its obligations.
  • The President also serves as the public face, making remarks at events such as the Recent Returnee Dinner at the Consul General’s home.


  • The Vice-President provides both leadership and follow-through on projects, and makes sure that the chapter is fulfilling all its obligations
  • The Vice-President also takes on the duties of the president when the president is unavailable.
  • In addition, the Vice-President or another officer can be a kind of check and balance to the treasurer by accessing the bank account online.


  • The Treasurer plans the annual budget in conjunction with all officers
  • The Treasurer submits an initial budget request to CLAIR in May, and a follow up budget report to CLAIR in December.
  • The Treasurer submits an initial budget request to the local consulate for MoFA funding (typically in March) and quarterly receipts afterward.
  • The Treasurer maintains and balances the bank account and verifies any bank card purchases
  • The Treasurer maintains any online fund transfer accounts such as PayPal
  • Collects receipts and writes checks for any chapter expenses, and deposits any checks received immediately, or within a certain specified time frame.
  • Prepares the initial tax documents and finishes them in conjunction with the other officers and potentially affliated tax professional(s).

Other Officers

Many chapters have more officers than the ones described above, these can include but are not limited to:


  • The Webmaster maintains the online presence, keeping the website up to date in content and with photographs.
  • The Webmaster also assists people to post content to the website, such as job descriptions and events for the calendar.

Social Chair

  • The Social Chair (in possible conjunction with a Social Committee) plans approximately one event per month, such as Happy Hours, the Returnee Events, hanami parties, and so on.
  • The Social Chair is responsible for maintaining the invite lists and determining how many members are planning to attend.
  • The Social Chair works with the treasurer to make sure that everyone has paid for the event if there is a fee.

Education Coordinator

  • The Education Coordinator takes the lead in planning the departing JET Q&A session
  • The Education Coordinator also plans any other education related activities the chapter is involved in, such as Japanese classes, etc.

Newsletter Editor

  • The Newsletter Editor is responsible for creating the newsletter.
    • This includes soliciting information from the Consulate and other affliated organizations and
    • Sharing relevant chapter related news with the members in the form of a print or electronic newsletter on a quarterly or monthly basis.

Secretary / Clerk

  • The Secretary / Clerk is reponsible for taking the minutes at meetings
  • The Secretary / Clerk maintains the membership data including data required by CLAIR to provide funding to the chapter
  • The Secretary / Clerk welcomes new members to the chapter.

Electing Officers

The specifics of officer elections vary from chapter to chapter but it is important to specify a few elements in the by-laws that govern the chapter:

  • Length of Term - Typically 1 year although some chapters have 2 year terms
  • Voting process - How are candidates nominated, who votes for the candidates, when is the vote held, what happens in case of a run-off
  • Replacing officers that leave mid-term - How will the process work if an officer quits mid-term

For examples of how other chapters have dealt with this issue, please refer to the by-laws for JETAA NY ( or JETAA Portland ( Note: these are just examples and each individual chapter has control over it's own governing by-laws.

Transitioning and making sure the officers work well together

The key here is to set the expectations and job requirements for the new officers upfront.

  • Have an orientation session with the new officers, where if possible, the old officers can explain the various aspects of their positions to the new officers.
  • Have a written description of the duties and roles of each officer and have each new officer acknowledge that they have read and understand his or her duties.
  • Set expectations in terms of ways to communicate, minimum attendance levels, behavior, etc.
  • Provide incentives to the officers to keep them enthusiastic about volunteering their time and efforts in JETAA
    • Chances to attend conferences
    • Networking chances
    • Make officer events fun
    • Share the responsibility so that everyone has something that helps them grow both personally and professionally (e.g. for their resume)
    • Provide the ability for the officers to get some sort of training in leadership or event planning skills

Handling Non-Performing Officers

This really goes hand in hand with setting the expectations for the officers upfront. However if after the orientation session and a few subtle reminders there is still a problem where an officer is not pulling his or her own weight then here are a few suggestions as to how to handle the situation.

  • Don't delay and hope the problem will fix itself, make sure to take corrective action as soon as the problem is recognized, the sooner the issue is brought up the better it is, as it leads to less resentment and provides for the least confrontational situation.
  • Be very cautious as to how you approach the discussion:
    • Don't do it in a group session as this will feel like you are ganging up on him or her, a one-on-one from the president or VP is probably best
    • Don't bring it up during a high stress situation, make sure everyone is relaxed before hand or whatever is said will likely be rejected out of hand
    • Approach it as a pep talk, that is be understanding, but also be firm about what they have commmitted to.
  • Offer to provide additional support such as another member which can work with the officer to do his or her role.
  • Depending on the personality of the officer choose the method of communication that you think works best. Some people respond well to face-to-face conversations, others prefer phone or e-mail.
  • Set goals and create timelines for achieving these goals. Often times the officer just does not realize how urgent or when the job needs to be completed.

If after these steps there is still a problem decide among the other officers if it is necessary to remove the non-performing officer or if it can wait until the next group of officers are elected.

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