April 15, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Ask yourself, why would the National Grange be in a conflict with any State Grange? Why
would success be punished? Why would a State Master be suspended? Why would a State
Grange Charter be suspended and then revoked?
Many Grangers received a FAQ email from the California State Grange which is full of errors and omissions.
What does revocation mean? According to Grange law and in harmony with State Law it means that the California State Grange ceased to exist as a Chartered member of the National Grange on Friday, April 5. It had no impact on the status of your Community or Pomona Grange, it had no effect on the status of the membership of any Granger. The license, the agreement, the Charter for the CSG has been revoked, little different than the termination of a franchise in business.
Legal Truth. The National Grange has filed a lawsuit against the CSG for refusing to abide by Grange Law in following a suspension of the California State Grange Charter. Initially we sought an injunction to enforce the suspension order. The Court declined to do so. The order denying the request for an injunction has no effect on the effort of the National Grange to enforce its Constitution and By-Laws. CSG and Brother McFarland have each filed a counter suit with Brother McFarland asking for monetary damages. Recently, Brother McFarland has asked the court for an injunction prohibiting the use of our internal procedures mere days from having the opportunity to present his case to an impartial Grange trial panel of his peers. This action was taken despite a duty by California State Grange Executive Committee members and officers to ensure the Constitution and By-Laws of the Grange at all levels are observed and obeyed.
Grange Law and California Law. The National Grange follows the laws of our Federal and State Governments, which are consistent with our own rules. We do not ask that any member break a law, either of their State or one that they promised to follow when they joined our organization. The National Grange has not been able to determine what California law is supposedly in conflict with which Grange law. The California State Grange makes the case that it is not subject to the rules of the National Grange, or the portions of the California Grange By-Laws that give authority to the Digest of Laws. The actions of the California State Grange create the very real possibility that if upheld, any Grange would have the precedent to ignore the foundational rules of our organization. It would seem, by viewing their actions, that the California State Grange desires the ability to pick and choose which Grange rules to follow as circumstances suggest.
How do we solve problems in a Grangerly way? Since August of 2012, the California State Grange has made no effort to reach out to the National Grange. We have been directed to communicate through attorneys. Recently, the possibility of mediation was suggested. We have agreed to mediation and remain willing to sit down and discuss all issues.
In addition, the National Grange has done its best to focus its attention on the internal processes that make the organization so strong. We have attempted to keep disputes handled internally, so as to have minimal external impact upon our organization. Unfortunately, the CSG has not chosen to operate in the same fashion, The CSG leadership and a handful of their enthusiastic supporters have repeatedly publicized the current dispute and have attempted to eliminate any members with dissenting views. Some of those targets have been California members who merely question the leadership. The State Overseer, the State Secretary, and two members of the Executive Committee have been “removed from office” by California State Grange leadership. Two of those have been the focus of attempts to expel by improper actions and those actions were supported by the California State Grange.
The rules of the Grange apply to each member and our leaders should be held to a high standard. The suspension of the State Grange Master was done for serious violations of the Digest and of his obligation as a member and an officer. We have an internal process to deal with such matters. While Grange law prohibits the National Grange from sharing the charges with our members, Brother McFarland has the right to share them at any time.
If the rules are only what the current leaders determine, then the organization becomes, in effect, a dictatorship. Even a benevolent dictator is still a dictator. This is not the model that our organization was created under and it has never been the way we operate. The National Grange is fighting on behalf of the right of the Grange to exist as a national organization with a local focus.
The National Grange and members across our nation are committed to ensuring the growth of the Grange. In spite of our current challenges, we continue to see success stories throughout the nation and improve the communities in which we reside.
Edward L. Luttrell, Master
The National Grange