During the first six months of this year we have had the opportunity to
assist many Posts with internal issues. Most issues stem from the lack of
knowledge of the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedures. One of the many
areas that are those described in Article II – Posts, Section 218, Officers
and Chairman, Duties and Obligations. Many have held a position in their
local Post and have not reviewed their applicable portion of the By-Laws and
Manual of Procedures. There are many specifics that could be discussed, but
in general, these situations that arise from failure to understand one’s
duties is, for the most part, blamed on a predecessor with the statement
“that is the way we have always done it or that is how so and so showed me
how to do it”. Either response is not an excuse as when we are obligated to
our elected or appointed office, the Installing Officer instructs the
Officers Elected or Appointed: “Officers, you now occupy the positions of
honor to which your comrades have elected you; the duties of which you will
assume. Learn well the responsibilities entrusted to you so that you may
intelligently discharge the duties you are to undertake. The By-Laws and
Ritual of our organization prescribe in detail the duties of your offices.
By virtue of the confidence placed in you, through your election, we assume
that you will acquaint yourselves thoroughly with your duties”.
Another section of the By-Laws that have presented some difficulties this past six months is Article XI - Ladies Auxiliary. Some VFW Members are of the belief that their Ladies Auxiliary are under the jurisdiction of the VFW. The Ladies Auxiliary is a unit formed to assist the VFW and they are not a subservient unit of the VFW.
The By-Law States: “No Auxiliary to a Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States shall be formed unless approved by a two-thirds vote of the Post membership present at a regular or special meeting.” The VFW By-Laws require the President of the Ladies Auxiliary to a District, County Council or Post shall, within thirty (30) days after induction into office, submit to the Commander of the respective District, County Council or Post an itemized report of the financial and membership status of the auxiliary over which she is presiding officer. Such reports will be acknowledged by each respective Commander during the next regular meeting and may be read to the members assembled.
The accepted financial report is the last Auxiliary’s Financial Audit for that year. The Post may not ask for any further financial information. Additionally, it is not the Post’s responsibility to review applications and approve eligibility of perspective members of the Ladies Auxiliary.
Further, if issues develop between the VFW and their Ladies Auxiliary in which the VFW thinks disciplinary action should be taken and those issues cannot be resolved at the Post level between the VFW and Auxiliary Officers the chain of commander for resolution is to provide all of the details of the issue to the respective District President. The Auxiliary has a process they will follow to resolution for disciplinary actions.
District’s OTIs provides instructions in these and other By-Laws. State Officers, Past State Commanders and other knowledgeable Comrades reside in each of the Districts and may provide assistance with application of the By-Laws. If you are not sure of a By-Law or it has been a long time since a specific issue has been address call someone and get a second opinion.
I hope that you find this article informative and it has provided some guidance in these areas.
Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving as the State Judge Advocate. If I can ever be of any assistance please do not hesitate to contact me at 518-598-3923