Monday, April 13, 2020

Post Election Information - Emergency Provisions


Post Election Information - COVID-19 - Emergency
To: Post Commanders and Adjutants

Note: All documents referenced in this email can be seen here:


Also note: These documents are being sent via US Mail to ALL Post Commander and Post Adjutants residences.

Thank you for all your hard work during this unique time in history. This is not something we anticipated, nor were we completely prepared, but with our military backgrounds, we adapt and overcome. The department judge advocate, assistant judge advocate, adjutant, I, and several others have been working hard to find solutions to the problems our organization faces during the COVID-19 pandemic. The national office has been good at providing some guidance; however, corporate governance law is different in every state, which means we must adhere to those rules when acting.

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with updated information and guidance moving forward for your 2020 election of officer's process. Note we can only provide guidance when moving forward. Each Post is a corporation within the State of Michigan and must decide what process to follow, keeping in mind the executive orders in place by the State Governor. The Department took action to help the posts act in a couple of different ways.

The goal is to make this as clear as possible, but if you have any questions, please call or email headquarters. Call (517) 371-4720 extension 114 for Ron (adj@michiganlegion.org) and extension 116 for Mark (info@michiganlegion.org). 
Let's get started.

Update as of April 13, 2020

April 10, 2020, Department Executive Committee Conference Call.
On Friday evening, the DEC met via the online service ZOOM. There were 65 individuals on the call, connected either by video conference or by phone line. Department Adjutant Ron Runyan called a roll call, and we verified members of the DEC and the presence of a quorum.
The DEC acted on three items:
1.      Department Resolution No. 9 – To cancel the 2020 Annual Department Convention.
2.      Vote on a set of Emergency Constitution and Bylaw provisions.
3.      The fate of the 2020 Department Baseball program.

Announcements first:

·        After conversations I had with the Department Baseball Chairman, I suggested to the DEC that the department baseball season for 2020 be canceled. The motion was made and carried. There will not be a 2020 Baseball program. Teams that have already registered will be notified of the next steps.

·        The Sons of the American Legion Detachment Commander announced that their 2020 Detachment Annual Convention was canceled, and the current slate of officers will remain in place until the 2021 Detachment Annual Convention.

The American Legion National Annual Convention has been canceled.
On April 8, the Department was notified that the National Executive Committee passed via email vote National Resolution No. 3 that canceled the 2020 Annual National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and the current National officers will remain in place until the 2021 Annual National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Resolution No. 3 strongly urged the departments and other Legion Family organizations to do the same. Based on that urging, the Department wrote a resolution.

Department Resolution No. 9 passed.
I have included this resolution for you to read. In summary, the resolution cancels the 2020 Annual Department Convention in Kalamazoo and maintains the current department officers and committee chairpersons until the 2021 Annual Department Convention in Sault Saint Marie. The resolution also strongly urges districts, posts, and other Legion family organizations to keep their current officers in place until the 2021 election time. This resolution eliminates the requirement for Posts to hold an election this year, but action at the Post level still must take place.

Emergency Constitution and Bylaw Provisions passed.
Under Michigan law, corporations may have a set of emergency provisions in place for the state of emergency declarations. Because this type of emergency has never happened before, the Department followed the laws of the state to draft and approve emergency provisions.

These provisions give guidance to Posts, Cities, Counties, Districts, and the Department on how to hold elections under these conditions. Most constitutions and bylaws only have provisions for nominations and elections at a physical location; these provisions allow alternative means of nomination and elections to take place.

What do you and the Post need to do?
Because the Post is a corporation under Michigan law, the Post must decide how to elect officers for the 2020-21 year. With resolution no. 9 and the emergency provisions, your Post must proceed in one of these two ways.

1.      Pass a resolution among the Post Executive Committee members stated in your Post Constitution and Bylaws keeping the current slate of officers in place until the 2021 elections. I have included a sample that you can present to your PEC and if it passes, sign it, and keep with your meeting minutes. OR

2.      Hold an election in accordance with the emergency provisions, either by voice conference, email vote, mail vote, or combination of the three, ensuring that members only cast one vote.

Note: The key to having votes besides in-person is to ensure every member who is qualified to vote is notified, and that it is tracked properly in some form that each member only votes once, and is a member in good standing. 

Keep accurate minutes of the proceedings you follow and how members voted.  Documentation is critical if a member contests the slate of officers and the process; with proper documentation, you will be able to present the evidence of how the committee proceeded. 

Send it to the Department.
After the Post has determined the post officers, even if they stay the same, please return the Post Officer List with names and information requested, the $10 for the Fidelity and Crime Insurance, and a signed Audit Completion form, so we may mail out your 2021 membership cards as soon as they arrive. Please have these documents to the Department no later than June 30, 2020.

Sons and Rider Chapters.
We strongly urge them to keep their slate of officers for another year, but if not, they may follow the steps outlined in the emergency provisions. I have included written motions they may consider and vote on with the executive committees or board of directors and trustees.

Auxiliary Units.
They are their own organization, and information should be coming down from their department or district officers.

Communication.
Again, communication is key during these times; please keep in touch with your district commanders and let them know if you need assistance.

Check out the Department website at www.michiganlegion.org or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheAmericanLegionDepartmentofMichigan/
If you are not receiving emails from the Department, make sure you let Mark know at info@michiganlegion.org so he can add you to his communication chain.

Thank you.
These are unique times, and they too shall pass. Keep checking on your members and helping them any way you can.

Sincerely,
The American Legion
Department of Michigan | michiganlegion.org