Grand Secretary Message October 2022
As you know, Grand Lodge carries on average about $142,000 per month in unpaid membership fees. This has a significant impact on service delivery rightly expected by the membership.
To try and address this, Grand Lodge started advising lodges early in the year that interest rates set out in the schedule of fees for some years will now be enforced as a way of trying to curb this high level of continuing debt. The advice was also sought from Grand Lodge’s financial auditors confirming that Grand Lodge was acting appropriately in charging an interest rate on late payments.
Current invoice payment terms follow a standard business model where payment is required within 30 days of an invoice being issued (unless otherwise stated). However, Grand Lodge took the view that as most lodges meet monthly, it would be more fair and equitable to allow an additional 30 days for payment which amounts to an overall 60 days to pay an invoice. This allows adequate time for lodges to meet and deal with the matter in open lodge.
The half-yearly membership invoices for the period 1 January 2022 – 30 June 2022 were issued on 4 July 2022. With two weeks remaining before the end of the 60 days as outlined, there was still about $168,000 of unpaid invoices for not only the latest invoice period but in some cases, unpaid debt as far back as 2016.
Grand Lodge does not want to see any Lodge pay interest if it can be avoided, so a massive effort was undertaken to personally contact Lodge Secretary’s and Treasurer’s and Worshipful Master’s with ‘high end’ invoices to ensure that those Lodges were given every opportunity to avoid an interest charge.
The latest table provided below shows the outcome of this work and lodges are to be congratulated in reducing debt by over $100,000 in that three week period. However, the table below unfortunately reflects a total of nearly $600 charged in interest so far for payment still outstanding.
Introducing our New Grand Treasurer
The Grand Master is pleased to announce that at our Grand Proclamation on 29 October 2022, WBro Rob Koch JGD, will be invested as our new Grand Treasurer. WBro Koch is a Fellow Certified Practicing Accountant (FCPA) and Director at RWK Accountancy. As our Grand Treasurer, WBro Koch will be working closely with out Grand Secretary on a range of projects aimed at helping lodges better understand and manage their finances; reducing debt, how they can move from a traditional cheque book to a more contemporary system and so on. This is another exciting step in Grand Lodge developing and delivering quality member services and will make a real difference in lodge management.
Changes to the Manual of Rulings
That the September meeting of the Board of Grand Lodge, agreed a number of changes to the Manual of Rulings mostly affecting Grand Officer’s order of precedence to address an anomaly in delegation of authority in the Grand Master’s absence, a seniority mismatch and to allow more inclusive participation in a range of Grand Lodge administrative actives.
As announced in previous Bulletins and as recently discussed by our Grand Secretary on his zoom catch up with Lodge Secretaries, Grand Lodge is introducing iMIS as an online tool for among many things lodge administration. The iMIS working group previously announced have been invited to a project update on 12 October 2022 where the vendor will be taking us through the project so far.
RWBro Peter S Murdoch