Greetings and a very happy new year to all! Speaking of a new year, the start of a new year in our lodges is right around the corner, April 1. Will your lodge once again elect qualified leaders for the lodge, members who are not doing the lodge a favor with their service? Or, will your lodge continue a trend of electing only self-serving members of the clique who will make sure to keep the bar and food prices low and the dance bands on stage? Exercise your right to vote in the lodge officer elections. Take the time to meet the candidates and ensure that they have every member’s best interests at heart. When evaluating the leadership potential of a candidate, go back and read my article in the last issue of Florida Elks News or online and hold them to some very high standards.
When electing a Lodge Secretary, make sure they have office-related experience and are capable of operating a computer and working in the new cloud-based membership program that all lodges are required to use. When electing a Lodge Treasurer, make sure that person has financial knowledge beyond just balancing a checkbook and make sure they have electronic bookkeeping experience and are experienced in the computer program used by your lodge. The year flies by so rapidly that we cannot afford to spend the first three months allowing someone to be trained. Should your lodge be replacing someone in the Secretary or Treasurer position who is not yet ready to leave the job, assume that person will be rather reluctant to train their successor. This is not the time to put someone new to the Elks or the job into that position! When electing a Trustee or Director for the board, make sure you are electing someone with business experience. This person needs to be able to read and interpret the financial reports provided to them by the Treasurer and must be able to hold the lodge officers accountable for timely reports and information crucial to the board’s decision-making.
So much to learn and no time to learn it: there’s an answer for that. It is the state-sponsored officer training, this year being held March 11-13 in Orlando. It is not everything an officer needs to know but it’s a far cry from no training at all.
When electing your leaders this year, demand that they attend at least this one program but please don’t require them to personally foot the bill to attend. Hold a fundraiser or two in the lodge to raise the necessary funds to send all your key people to the training. This event is operated as a break-even activity for the FSEA; no profit is made from it and we exhaust every effort to see that the training is informative and useful. Even if your officers attended last year, this training is invaluable and is constantly evolving. There is much to gain from attending. If your leaders are unwilling to devote this one weekend to spending it with their peers, are they really worth electing? Get a commitment before they are elected! If they are not just doing the lodge a favor, they will do whatever it takes to attend!
Take pride in your lodge! Commit to the future of your lodge! Prepare a road map for this future, and elect leaders this year who will lead much-needed change, who will commit to producing a profit in the lodge, and who will continue your winning ways or start you back on a road to recovery! Let me know what you think! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org