Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Grand Solution

Last year the Grand Master instituted many changes in the governance of the Grand Lodge.  One of the primary changes was to change the number of districts from nine down to six. This also changed how the appointed officers were selected, previously each district was represented in the Grand Line by a brother recommended by their district. The appointed officers last year were personally selected by the Grand Master as will the appointed officers this year. 

One of the arguments for the changes was that some of the districts struggled to find qualified / willing brothers to serve....ok...I will buy into that logic.  What I and many other brothers have a hard time with is the selection process of Grand Line am not one to complain without offering a solution that may be a nice compromise for both sides of the issue....The Grand Solution

There are nine Grand Line officers, four elected and five appointed.  After the next election, I would REDUCE the number of districts to FIVE. Going from six to five would be subtle compared to going from nine to six and should be effective for many decades. I would then go back to having each district recommend the replacement for whatever vacancy happens in the appointed officers.  By having only five districts, there should be an ample number of qualified / willing brothers to serve.
By doing the change after the fall election, no current elected officers will be effected unlike the prior change.  Essentially this would return the good aspect of the old system while accomplishing the goal of the new system.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Testing 1,2,3,4,5,6......

I have now been installed for my sixth time as Master......hmmmm.....not my original "plan"...sit in each chair, enjoy a year as Master and go off and play in Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shrine....what happened....well the funny thing about going through a progressive line and actively participating and doing the work is it is a great experience !  Most shy away from the management / leadership aspect of being Master since it is not apart of their normal life. I work as a manager and running a lodge is a unique challenge that I enjoy. I have taken the time and effort to memorize all of the parts of "standard" ritual so all I need to do is refresh for degree nights.  So the Master part is easy for me.... being Master is never easy, requires constant effort, focus and can be exhausting and frustrating.  So why do it six is also very rewarding and satisfying to see the results of your effort.

As I enter my second term as Master of my second affiliate lodge, I only hope that when the year is over and my successor is installed I can look back and say well done, mission accomplished, the lodge is in better condition than when I took over. I can say that about my two years as Master of my home lodge and my two years as Master of my first affiliate lodge.  Is that not the job of any leader ? Provide a brighter future than when you started.

So here is to 2014, every thing is in place to make it a great year ! So mote it be

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not Wrong - Not Right

This weekend I was reminded that sometimes in life: There maybe nothing "wrong" with your decision but it may not be the "right" thing to do. The current Grand Master removed two appointed officers from the grand line for his term as Grand Master which he is entitled to do just as any elected Master of a blue lodge has the right to do. While there was nothing "wrong" with this action, many of the craft felt it was not the "right" thing to do.  And one thing about masons is we have a strong sense of right and wrong.

He spoke at the blue lodge councils explaining his actions, I remember walking away from the meeting with one thought, he stated if you do not like my decision, you have the power to elect who want to serve the Grand Lodge, While simply the Master of a lodge I understand the reach of my influence and that my cable tow is within the walls of my lodge, so three maybe four votes..... not exactly a voting block.

Perhaps he planted the seed in enough brothers minds where they said, you are right, we do have the vote.  This past Saturday at the GL session, the craft exercised their right to vote and returned one of the appointed officers previously removed to the elected position of JW.  I was happy in the aspect that the Grand Master was correct, we the craft determine who serves the grand lodge and as stated in my previous blog, we have the right to vote.

Where do we go from here largely rests in the hands of the Grand Master elect, I believe and hope that he will focus on returning harmony to forefront of our society.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The RIGHT To Vote

Each year the principle officers (WM,SW,JW) of each lodge head to the fall Grand Lodge session to elect the Grand Lodge officers for the coming year.  Traditionally this has been a courtesy exercise of advancing the line officers to the next position in the line.  Historically we had nine districts and there was a Grand Line officer from each district which had been selected by their district. As in the blue lodges the appointed positions are selected by the incoming Grand Master, traditionally the incoming Grand Master maintained those chosen by their district, occasionally making a change.  The current Grand Master decided to change this and that the incoming Grand Master solely decides who the appointed positions are. it is time to remind the blue lodges that THEY elect the top four positions of the Grand Line and that they have the power to decide who they want to represent them.  I used the word "traditionally" often, as masonry is full of tradition and so now it is important to educate the craft of the new reality otherwise we can expect the lemmings to do as expected. The Grand Master talked of the concept of a pool of appointed officers, I have two problems with this concept. First masons traditionally elect the Senior Deacon to the Junior Warden position, so as long as the pool has titles, blue lodge masons will vote accordingly.  Second, blue lodge masons traditionally do not realize that they can elect any master mason in good standing, it does not need to be someone currently in the Grand Line or the "pool".

I have been a lodge officer since 2000 and have been Master of three different lodges, I do not recall any of my lodges ever discussing the upcoming Grand Lodge vote, again tradition made it a non decision.  We would discuss any pending legislation effecting the craft and how the voting officers should vote to represent the will and pleasure of the lodge.

I now think that the lodges should discuss who the voting members should select for the elected positions in the Grand Line.  In addition, if districts are no longer going to have a voice in who goes into the "pool" then it becomes necessary that Blue Lodges Councils organize the lodges of their area to vote for who best represents their interests. The voice of the craft needs to rise up and be heard.

Now more then ever, lodges need to exercise their RIGHT to vote.

Friday, April 19, 2013


I grew up on a dairy farm, milking cows and shoveling shit, long days , hard work. I always did well in school so I went to school to be an engineer. After graduating the job market at the time was poor so I got a job in my field as an operator or blue color man. This was a great experience and gave me a perspective and a skill set in my profession that would serve me well. I then went onto work for a family owned company where I after many years I became Vice President. When the original owner of the company passed away the kids took over with a different perspective having never worked at the company or in the field. So several of us decided it was time to move on, I went to another family owned company which has worked out very well.  I continued my education through the years and now have two AS, BS and a MS but the one thing that has served me best is the hard working perspective I gained on the farm and the practical experience gained working in the plant as a blue collar man. I have always been a farm boy at heart not a suit and tie guy and work titles gained through the years have meant little to me as long as they spell my name correct on the pay check.

I also grew up with a deep love for music, I played in bands until my second daughter was born. I enjoy song writing so got involved in a song writing organization and went on to serve as President of the organization for four years.

I petitioned for masonry when I turned 21 and have now been a member for nearly 30 years. My masonic journey is laid out in my previous blogs but to summarize. I was asked to join the officer line of my home lodge, progressed through every chair and served as Master for two years. I affiliated with another lodge and served as Master for two years, I have now affiliated with another lodge and serve as Master.  So I now have the perspective of three different lodges and many years of serving as an officer. 

Recent Grand Lodge decisions have upset many of the craft but more especially those with a deeper perspective and understanding of the fraternity.  Upon reflection, I remember sitting in my first Grand Lodge session waiting to vote and saying well who are we voting for ? This annual ritual was pretty much a simple task of progressing the officers who had been recommended by their districts and appointed to the grand line.  All of the hard work had been done by the individual districts, who best could serve and represent the desires of the craft from that district.  Unless you have served as a principle officer of a lodge, at a minimum, you have no perspective relative to this.

So now the Grand Lodge in an effort to invoke the two year term has eliminated the concept of representation by district and has decided that they are the wisest to choose who should represent the Grand Lodge and the needs of the craft.  Essentially invoking a system of taxation without representation. Based on the current selections, these decisions are based on service to Grand Lodge or patronage to the Grand Master.

I am sure these are good brothers and will serve well, that is not the question, it is a matter of who determines who best can serve. The current Grand Master had the time to travel far and wide during his time in the grand line, most do not and have not.  I have always ruled my lodges by consensus as I feel the need to gather perspectives before making a decision. This how our old system worked for decades and it is my belief that the Past Grand Masters from our district served the state and our district well.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Post or not to Post

I have started and not posted several blogs this year as my mind would always say - to post or not to post - that is the question............I am a passionate leader and I realize that therefore I also know that with passion comes the strong emotions relating to subjects that touch my masonic world.  The last six months of CT masonry has been wrought with emotions and a time of reflection was needed.  My conclusion, at least for me personally is, let the purple do what the purple want to do, I will not waste my thoughts and time on trying to find logic in an illogical world. History will be the judge of the current line of thought and it probably will not be kind.  For me, my focus will be on what has always been the most important aspect of masonry for me, the local lodge and the relationships forged working in the quarries with my fellow brothers.

I will now post some of previous thoughts as I see I have been pretty consistant in my view points.  Neal Diamond wrote a song "Forever In Blue Jeans" and I will always be a blue lodge brother nothing more, nothing less, for that is where my passion and my heart dwells.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grand Master II

The current Grand Lodge desires to change the term of office of the Grand Master to two years..........hmmmmm............okay I agree with the reasons given and the logic behind it.  I am an engineer by trade and logic appeals to me.  In addition I served as Master of my home lodge for two years and as well as I was prepared going into my first year, I found my second year much more enjoyable already knowing the ins and outs of the position after my first year.  I had only planned on being Master one year but necessity arose where I needed to serve the second year.  I then went on to serve as Master of my first affiliate lodge for two years.  This was necessary since I needed to build and develop an officer line behind me so that the lodge could be self sufficient after I was out of office. They are now in their third year of new Masters for the first time in nearly thirty years, mission accomplished.  So now I am in my first year as Master of my second affiliate lodge and like my first affiliate lodge it will probably be necessary that I serve for two years in order to properly develop their officer line for future success.  So I know from experience what it is like to serve as Master for two years and yes it can be more effective than a one year term.

So........I would hope that if voted into effect and unfortunately the path being taken to get there makes it doubtful, but that is another blog......that the craft would have the right to vote to re-elect the Grand Master to a second term and that the Grand Master would have the right to only serve one term if so desired.  Basically the same way we do the President, both decide if it is appropriate to serve a second term.