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Around The Grange
From the State Secretary: Keep Records For How Long?

By Todd Gelineau, CT State Grange Secretary

  June 1, 2022 --

Hopefully many of you joined me on Zoom for the Secretary’s School of Instruction on June 5. It’s important to have everyone “on the same page” when it comes to procedures and practices.

As I have said before, the more questions I ask the more problems I find. I have been asked many times recently what records need to be saved. Ideally, all records (within reason) should be kept. However, financial records should be kept for at least six years. Membership records should be kept for the life of the Grange. Even if a member demits out of your Grange, it is still a good idea to keep some record of their membership in your Grange as information may be needed in the future.

For example, we recently received an inquiry from the Master of the New York State Grange regarding members who had previously belonged to Wethersfield Grange

#114.     At the time Wethersfield Grange had closed, very few records were turned over to the State Grange. The State Grange does not keep individual member records until a 25 year Silver Star is issued and searching 25 to 30 years (or more) of quarterly reports is a tedious process.

The New York State Grange was able to find out these members never officially joined Wethersfield despite being welcomed to that Grange when they moved from NY. They ended up moving back to NY and that entire part of their Grange experience was “off record.”

You might say that this really isn’t a case of records helping all that much and you would be right to a certain degree.  But this story does illustrate an additional problem we are experiencing across the state.

Poor record keeping is resulting in substantial losses of members. The fault cannot be laid entirely on the shoulders of the secretaries. Every new member is asked to keep their Granges informed of address

changes and some do but more often than not Secretaries have to rely on returned mail, updated mailing lists from the Connecticut Granger and family members to find out where some of our people are. In too many cases members end up being suspended for non-payment because they cannot be found.

This problem is especially evident with Golden Sheaf exempt members. Because they have not been required to pay dues in over 22 years, it has been very easy to lose track of them.

Family Memberships

A mailing recently went out to Granges who claim family memberships on their quarterly reports. I would like to thank all the Secretaries who have worked hard to get their lists in to me. As expected, there were quite a few adjustments required after reviewing these lists. If your Grange has not yet sent in its list, please do so as soon as possible.

Golden Sheafs

An additional mailing went out to all Granges asking for lists of Golden Sheaf members and the years they joined the Grange. This is an effort to clean up our Grange numbers as a good number of members have been incorrectly reported as exempt. I have received a number of these lists but nearly not as many as I should have as of this writing. The deadline was June 1st. If your Grange has not submitted the list, please do so right away. Acceptance of the June 30 quarterly report will depend on whether or not these lists have been received from each of the Granges. Verification of the numbers reported is an important part of the process, especially when passing these numbers on to the National Grange.  We want our numbers as accurate as possible.

There also is confusion regarding the distinction between Golden Sheaf and Golden Sheaf Exempt and why we still have it on the Quarterly Report if the program ended in 2001.

The program only partially ended in 2001. Any members who became Golden Sheaf prior to January 1, 2001 remained exempt from paying dues for life. Any members who became Golden Sheaf after that date are still considered Golden Sheaf members, however they are not exempt from paying dues. Changing this policy became a necessity because large numbers of members were becoming dues exempt and even greater numbers of baby boomers were reaching the age when they too would become exempt from paying dues. Seeing a financial disaster on the horizon, the National Delegates voted to end the program.

Journal of Proceedings

Hopefully by the time you are reading this the Journal of the 137th Annual Session of the Conn. State Grange will be in each Grange. We will be sending one copy to each Grange to be share with any and all members who may be interested in reading it. Additional copies will be available from the office while supplies last.

Until next time, enjoy this beautiful late spring weather. We all earned it!



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