Overview of August 2021 Legislation for General Grand Council Constitution & Bylaws: Resolutions 48-01 through 48-03
Submitted by Right Puissant Companion Bill Snyder, Deputy General Grand Master
General Grand Deputy Master
Editor's Note: All Triennial Legislation has been posted on the triennial website at https://triennial.org/resolutions. The full text of the resolution, sponsor statement, and before and after text is all available. Future issues will introduce these resolutions with more detail available on the Triennial Site.
The most recent Sponsors Statements for Resolutions 48-01, 48-02, and 48-03 are set forth below. In succeeding issues of the Decryption, you will be provided with the text of these Resolutions. In other future issues, the Sponsors Statements for Resolutions 48-04 through 48-06 will be provided, followed by the text of those Resolutions in the following issues.
Above all, if you have a constructive suggestion regarding the wording of any of these Amendments to the Constitution or Bylaws, your suggestion may be sent to the Deputy General Grand Master, William G. Snyder, as the Chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
48-01: Amendment Process (Constitutional Amendment) SPONSORS STATEMENT
Background: In preparing Bylaws Amendments for the 2020 Virtual Triennial in September, we noticed that the existing Bylaws (Section 802) states that "Amendments to these By-Laws shall be presented and acted upon as provided in ARTICLE XI of the Constitution."
There is not and never has been an Article XI in the Constitution. While one can use various means of construing away a typographical error, there is some doubt about the amendment of Bylaws in these circumstances. Our Jurisprudence Committee has suggested a more cautious approach.
Secondly, we found if you strictly construe its terms: The Constitution could only be amended "at a Triennial Assembly." (Article X, Constitution).
Unlike the General Grand Chapter and the Grand Encampment, the General Grand Master could not call a Special to specifically consider Amendments to either the General Grand Council’s Constitution or its Bylaws.
It appears that the General Grand Chapter once faced this same conundrum and amended its Constitution, Article VI, to provide that: "Amendments to the Constitution or Standing Regulations may be made at any Triennial or Special Convocation as provided for as follows: " (See General Grand Chapter Constitution, Article VI, Section 600.00).
The intention of this Amendment is to place most, if not all, of the procedures for submission and consideration of any Amendment to the Constitution or Bylaws in one section of the Constitution, correctly numbered and identified, thus eliminating confusion, and to permit the General Grand Council to conduct its legislative business in the same manner as the General Grand Chapter.
This also provides for unanimous consent for consideration of Emergent Legislation as can be used under the General Grand Chapter Constitution (See General Grand Chapter Constitution, Article VI, section 604.00).
48-02: Amendment Process (Bylaws) SPONSORS STATEMENT
This Amendment removes the conflicting and confusing reference to the non-existent Article XI of the Constitution and properly refers the proponent of legislation for amendments to the proper section of the Constitution.
This is coupled with and dependent in its current form upon the adoption of Resolution 48-01 for the amendment of the Constitution, Article X.
48-03: Vacancies SPONSORS STATEMENT
Background: This is the result of another observation of the strict construction of our laws.
Most of you recall that a vacancy developed in one of the top three elected positions in the General Grand Council with the death of a General Grand Master prior to the 2014 Triennial. Section 312 as amended makes it clear that the Deputy General Grand Master (DGGM) and the General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work (GGPCW) who were last elected are to succeed as one would expect.
However, if a vacancy develops in the office of General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work by succession, there is no clarity on the question of an appointment of someone to serve for the unexpired term. However, there is a process for filling a vacancy in the offices of General Grand Treasurer and General Grand Recorder.
Consistent with the law of several of our Grand Chapters and Grand Council, the practice in our General Grand Councils’ history is to simply hold the vacancy open until the next election can be conducted (special or regular) or to appoint an "acting" General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work from the ranks of Past Most Illustrious or Most Puissant Grand Masters. In our case, either the vacancy is held open or a Past General Grand Master is appointed by the General Grand Master to be the acting General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work.
While this may serve the purposes of a Masonic entity with annual election and advancement, it does not serve well to have a major office either vacant for three (3) years or filled by an “acting” appointee who is not likely to be elected to the next position in succession.
The General Grand Chapter recognized the benefit of providing for an orderly succession in the event of a vacancy in the office of General Grand Scribe, the General Grand High Priest shall appoint a qualified successor for the unexpired term. (See General Grand Chapter Constitution, Section 109.15 and Section 109.30). Such an appointee is not an “acting” officer and is viable for advancement if the voting members so desires.
While our Past General Grand Masters (PGGMs) are ready and willing to serve or provide advice when asked, it is a bit much to ask a PGGM to hold the position of General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work for up to three (3) years or to leave the office VACANT. While this opportunity still exists under the proposed Amendment, it provides the General Grand Master and Deputy General Grand Master with an opportunity for the voting membership to take part in the selection of a true successor.
Under our immediate Past General Grand Master's management, the position of General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work has become a particularly important office with substantial duties and assignments.
The General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work is no longer simply a DGGM in waiting who does nothing for three years until it is “their turn to be Number Two”. Additionally, the General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work now serves as the Vice-President of our beloved charity, Cryptic Masons Medical Research Foundation (CMMRF), and has the role of providing leadership for the State Chairman in fundraising.
This would also require the concurrence of the General Grand Master and Deputy General Grand Master in the process so that the next General Grand Principal Conductor of the Work selected could stand for election to DGGM at the next Triennial without being viewed by any of the voting membership as an "accidental GGPCW or DGGM".