Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Past Grand Master Rick Boyles, one of the founders of DMC, is the current chair of the Dedicated Members for Change Committee of the Grand Lodge. Rick is a regular contributor to these DMC Newsletters. Today, Rick has written an article about the Grand Lodge structure, and perhaps about some things we may take for granted regarding our California Grand Lodge.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California
The Bright Side of Being an Odd Fellow in California…
In the State of California, we are faced with membership issues just like every other state however we have some good things that many other states may not have. First, even though our membership hovers at about 4,000 members and may seem low, we are still the most populous state in the union in terms of Odd Fellows membership. Second, our elective officers are a skilled bunch focused upon gaining new members and keeping our state as happy and as solvent as possible. Our state, being not only the most populous, may also be among the most affluent. Of course, some of this is natural due to our size. When either a lodge or a state population diminishes in size, troubling events often come into play. The pool of able bodied members declines, so too do the possibilities for a healthy and vital future. When we speak of elective officers, we often think about our Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Master, but we tend to forget that our Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer are elected as well. While the fraternal end of the order is important, so too is the financial; to demonstrate this is simple since most lodges close either due to the lack of members, the dwindling of funds, or both. Of course, each lodge’s financial health is important, but even more important is the financial well being of the Grand Lodge at large.
Anyone who has made a study of our Grand Lodge Office would find the following: two gentlemen who fill their roles almost like gloves, Ray Link as Grand Secretary and Jay Johnson as Grand Treasurer. Allow me to illustrate what has happened under their control:
- Can you recall the last time the Per Capita owed by each member annually was raised due to operating costs? Answer, not for a long time now. This means through the Grand Lodge’s great leadership costs have remained lower than income.
- The Grand Lodge website is updated daily to show upcoming events, listing official visits, receptions, and other IOOF happenings.
- Many Grand Lodge forms have become “plug-n-play” due to their modifying the forms rather than just reprinting the same old forms. Forms are adjusted annually to become more modern and less laborious. Were you aware that some states still use very antiquated forms?
- Our Roberts Code, for example, is available on DVD, and can be copied and pasted for easy reference.
- Grand Lodge bank accounts over the last several years have increased exponentially. So much so, in fact, there is now a beneficial fund, a scholarship fund, and other membership benefits. Ask yourself if this would be possible just out of a re-distribution of our per capita? Of course not, in point of fact, much of each member’s per capita is paid to Sovereign Grand Lodge and really not available in our own state.
- Were you aware that by code, the Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer, also sit on boards such as the Homes board and the Foundation board, so that not only do they work during every week at the Grand Lodge office, they also have to attend various board meetings on weekends. I remember a couple months ago when both our Grand Treasurer and Grand Secretary remarked that they had both worked more than 10 days straight. Also, there is some confusion as to the salaries paid to these two officers. The Grand Treasurer receives no salary. The Grand Secretary receives a small salary, clearly not in line with salaries presently being paid in Saratoga, CA.
- Our Grand Lodge Office, Brothers Ray Link and Jay Johnson, along with their wonderful assistant, Marty Havenga, are available most weekday hours to answer questions, and process orders for official supplies, regalia, and other IOOF materials, and are happy to deal with any request that comes their way. Not all states can say this, primarily due to monetary constraints in other jurisdictions, itself being proof positive that California operates in a cohesive, profitable manner.
I looked over my records the other day as to messages I have written for the DMC. It is quickly surpassing the 100 mark. I’m sure my friend Dave Rosenberg’s total is much more. In all that writing I have never penned an article praising the Grand Lodge Office before and it is certainly clear that they deserve all of our praise and admiration for a job well done and for maintaining a high level of consistency.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles