Ad Hoc Committee on the review of the Board of General Purposes
The mandate given this committee is very extensive and will require considerable
attention to a number of issues that will impact not only on the Board itself but on the
general direction of Freemasonry in this jurisdiction. The following represent some of
the concerns and issues raised by the committee.
The Board of General Purposes
A number of issues have been raised concerning the composition of the Board,
attendance at its meetings, general communications within the board and with the
Lodges of the jurisdiction, education and terms of reference for the members - just to
highlight a few. Added to this are the conflicts that arise from time to time with other
Masonic functions. The quarterly meeting seems to be acceptable but this can only
be confirmed from a study of the agenda and the success or failure experienced in
completing the tasks outlined. In any case there is a need for co-ordination with other
On the surface a board that is made up of some forty plus members were they all
faithful in their attendance would seem to be a rather cumbersome board which would
probably be restricted in its accomplishments if the agenda of each meeting were not
clearly defined and strictly adhered to. The Elected Representatives from the
Districts should be the voting delegate at the board table. The DDGM’s actually
represent the Grand Master in the District as such, and not the District at the table.
Questions have to be asked concerning the processes used to select DDGM's and the
District representatives. How much attention is given to their qualifications as board
members prior to their appointment/election. The policies and procedures document of
the board clearly outline the collective and individual responsibilities of the board
members but the question remains - how well informed are members of these?
are they receiving the attention they deserve? if not, the issue needs addressing
- if the opposite is true then there is a greater problem - how do you address apathy?
In any case a presentation on the role of the Board and its members should be made
available to all newly elected or appointed members. Education should be included as a
part of the school of instruction offered for the DDGMs.and include District
Communications within the Board can in part be addressed by prompt dispersal of
pertinent information to the members but it is reasonable to expect that if one is never
present at the board table one may have difficulty understanding the purpose and the
rationale for directions that are being pursued. The individual member has a
responsibility to insure that he is conversant in the materials supplied to him.
Committees- structure and Number
The structure of the Board is highlighted with a significant number of committees;
fourteen in number including several seasonal committees that seem to have a very
specific purpose that can be achieved when the need arises. The list includes others
that may or may not be truly committees of the board but are rather very much stand
alone boards while there are others that by their very nature do not report to the Board
but rather to the Grand Lodge Annual Assembly –namely, Condition of the Order,
Registration, Elections and Credentials, Report on the GM’s Address.
One of the most important committees of the Board is The Long Range Planning
Committee. Its terms of reference indicate it "shall be responsible for developing a
long-term plan to ensure that the Grand Lodge administration and programs are in step
with changing social and demographic trends".
This will define and determine who we are by developing a “Vision Statement” and
where we want Grand Lodge to go by developing a” Mission statement” Once this
has been agreed upon we would select those goals that are attainable and measurable
within an acceptable time frame. This in turn would determine which committees are
needed to achieve the accepted goals. Those committees that have an overlap in their
terms of reference would be combined and their full energies would be directed
towards the accepted task.
But here again the question of overlap and custom raises another issue - It has been
proposed for some time that the Condition of the Order make recommendations to the
Board which should then become the focus of attention by the Board. Where there is
commonality of these recommendations and the "goals" one would be a support for the
other but what happens when there is a difference of opinion? Which would take
The list of committees contains no reference to a Membership Committee and yet
many of the concerns identified are very much related to membership. It is
recommended that such a committee be established and it would replace the current
committees of education, heritage, Masonic renewal, and public relations. In
addition this committee would also deal with necrology.
The finance committee is responsible for the oversight of the financial affairs of Grand
Lodge by recommending the annual budget, annual financial statements and
auditors to the Board for approval.
The finance committee would present the annual budget to the Board for approval and
following that the Grand Treasurer would report to the board any difficulties
encountered in achieving the terms of the budget - is there a need for a detailed
balance sheet at every meeting of the full Board?
It is recommended that the committees on the condition of the order and the
Grand Master’s Address be combined.
The numbers suggested for and the actual number of members on some of the
committees raises an issue of how successful they can be in completing any task. A
committee with upwards of twenty members can find itself bogged down when trying to
reach a consensus. This lends to frustration and low attendance. Chapter IV Article
5. (e) of the Constitution limits the tenure of committee members to three years except
by virtue of his office in Grand Lodge or where specialized knowledge is required and
although a member can be reappointed after a year’s absence we have cases where
membership has continued indefinitely and committees continue without ever meeting
or reporting. This practice should cease.
G. A. Riley