Thursday, May 23, 2024
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President's Message
Presidentís Message: Fiduciary Responsibility

By Robert Buck, CT State Grange President

  JANUARY 1, 2023 --

The lesson of the Fourth Degree of our Order is FIDELITY. Now, I am sure that most of us think that our fidelity is well placed in respect to our Subordinate/Community Granges, and in most instances I am sure that it is. It has become a major concern of this new administration that our Granges are challenged in terms of finances and membership. This is why we are concentrating on Grange reorganization in Redding #15,  Wallingford  #33,  Wilton (Cannon #152), Granby #5 and have several others in our sights since one longtime Sister has reached out to me for help in her Grange. Many Granges are having hard times and if yours is one of these, reach out to me and the Membership Committee under Shelley Cameron for help.

What is of great concern is a Grange that recently decided at a meeting to turn in their charter to the Connecticut State Grange, and then proceeded to deplete their treasury of its considerable funds by donating them to various respected charitable organizations, 18 in all. All of this without informing the State Grange of their intentions ahead of time and thereby violating the National Digest of Laws concerning procedures for dissolution of Granges. They also violated their fiduciary responsibilities as elected Grange officers. Brothers and Sisters, I want to make it eminently clear that as an elected officer, you are a STEWARD of your Grange and must act in a way that is consistent with the best interests of the Order and of your Subordinate Grange. We carry bonding insurance on officers to protect against the misuse and/ or abuse of Grange funds by elected officers.

One might make an argument that the officers of this Grange didn’t know they had done wrong. As an officer, one should be aware of National, State, and Subordinate by- laws and such, as you swear to uphold them in the obligation you took. It can be said these Grangers might have meant well, but, in reality they abused their fiduciary responsibility by depleting the treasury. If this Grange is to be re-organized, they will start from scratch, with no money. Your fiduciary position as an officer DOES NOT include voting away considerable financial resources.  This money is not yours as individuals, even officers, to give away to the detriment of the Grange. Furthermore, the bonding insurer could be made aware of this abuse and those individuals held responsible for their actions. These quick Grange liquidations are not consistent with your Grange oaths, the by-laws at the several levels, nor done with FIDELITY in mind. This CAN NOT happen again!

I believe the time is ripe to re- institute Schools of Instruction for fundraising and maybe grant writing for larger sums of money Granges need for building maintenance; but also, for secretaries and treasurers to cover proper record keeping and financial record keeping including filing quarterly and executive committee reports. Look out for more on this.

With the Blue Book to come out shortly, look to see where your Grange can keep active participating in contests, community service, and donations to specified charities and causes your Grange supports regularly. I look forward to fraternal visitations to Granges and catching up with your programming and meeting many of you I don’t know so well. Keep the FAITH, HOPE and PERSEVERE in your plans. I know we have the CHARITY part in our hearts as I look over what you are doing in your communities.



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