by Rick Grotton, State Master
I hope all of you are enjoying this summer. As August is near, elections are over and soon installations will be taking place. And soon after that will be State Grange Session which will be held at the Skowhegan Community Center from Thursday, October 20 beginning at 1 pm until Saturday, October 23. Please make arrangements to have delegates from your Subordinate Grange or Pomona Grange to attend this very important annual session. Decisions need to be made so use your voice and vote.
Speaking of State Grange, remember, you do NOT need to be a sixth degree member to be a delegate or to attend the session. Any Subordinate member in good standing can attend. The session is opened in the 6th degree but is then lowered to the 4th degree to allow those who are not sixth degree members to enter the session. If you come with intent to take your 6th degree, then make sure you have received your 5th degree at Pomona.
In my travels, some important questions are being asked concerning Grange procedures concerning mergers, procedures for closing a Grange, and what does State Grange do with the dues sent by Subordinate Granges. It seems there are some confusion or lack of knowledge about Grange by-laws and procedures. With new members joining it is imperative that all members know the answers to these questions and much more. Even some “seasoned members” either were not taught or confused about what are by-laws are on every level. It is our duty as Grangers to share our knowledge and to ensure that everyone is on the same level of understanding. Read on for answers to some FAQs. Please take time to educate or refresh your knowledge concerning the National Digest which affects every one of us.
First, your Subordinate dues end up in three places, your Subordinate, State and National Grange. The Subordinate sends $5.75 per member or $11.50 per family to State Grange quarterly which in turn sends $3.50 per member or $7 per family quarterly to National Grange. So, only $2.25 quarterly is retained by State Grange from your dues. The rest is retained by the Subordinate Grange depending on the amount of annual dues as stated in their by-laws. So if a member pays $25 annually to a Subordinate for dues, $2 goes to the Subordinate Grange, $9 to State Grange and $14 to National. Remember that there are Golden Sheaf Award members (receiving their award prior to January 1, 2001 who are exempt from paying dues.
Most of the Granges that have been “officially” closed lately by State Grange concern Granges who have not met in an extended period of time and whose secretaries were still paying dues on those inactive members in order to keep the Grange “existing” as such or those whose membership is below the required thirteen members need to operate as a Grange. There are some halls out there which have been “abandoned'” since the Grange hasn’t met and are just wasting away and wasting money with no intent of reorganization. This is not good for public image of the Grange. This cleanup is necessary.
The procedure to close is to notify in writing to State Grange the intent and reasons for closing. It is then presented to the State Executive Committee. A letter is sent to all members to inform them of the intention to close and the date of the regular meeting that the vote is to take place. The date should also be communicated to the State Master and the Deputy. In the event a quorum (seven members) is not reached, the State Master will remove the Charter and take possession of the remaining assets. Demits will be issued by State Grange to the members in good standing. If a vote is reached to close, the Grange Hall, Charter and property reverts to the State Grange as indicated in the National Grange by-laws. Demits will be presented to all members in good standing from the closing Subordinate Grange. These demits will be good for 6 months from the time issued and the demit holder considered an Inactive member until joining another Grange within the term of the demit. When presented to a Grange of choice for membership, that Grange will vote on the member requesting membership. If a member wishes to join a Grange after the demit has expired (considered a former member), they will pay a reinstatement fee of $2. They will start as a new member since continuous membership has been interrupted upon expiration of the demit.
If a Grange wishes to merge with another, letters from the Grange intending to merge and the Grange accepting the merger with the other will be sent to State Grange. The letters will include the minutes of the meetings where the vote to merge was done and also from the meeting of the Grange accepting the merged Grange. Any property, including the hall, reverts to the accepting Grange and if sold, the first $1000 will be given to the new Grange and the rest held in trust by the State Grange until such monies are requested (for Grange purposes) by letter of intent by the accepting Grange and upon approval of the State Executive Committee.
If you wish to change your meeting Subordinate nights, you must notify all members, notify State Grange, and update your by-laws accordingly!!!
Please ask questions concerning procedures, laws and by-laws or other “need to know” topics and the answers will be published. Also, at State Grange Conference we will be holding a “Town Hall” forum where members and delegates can speak about concerns and procedures. It should be an educational and informative session. Please attend!!!
A very fun and successful fundraising was held June 25 at Headquarters for State Grange. A yard sale, food sale and sales by individual vendors were the norm. Many thanks to the coordinators, donors, participants and volunteers who helped raise over $700 on a hot sunny day. New T-shirts with animation and a cute saying “Farmers: Outstanding in their Field” were a hit and sold for $12.00. Any orders should go to Steven Haycock, Fundraising Director.
There are many exciting things going on throughout the State. If you want to receive information concerning these events GOTO mainestateGrange.org and hit the subscribe button. This will put you on an electronic mailing list so that you can receive from and have Grange information posted to the website.
Enjoy the rest of the Summer and many thanks for your good Grange work!!