• Open letter to Legionnaires
    April 17,2014

    On April 6, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of the career of four-star Gen. Richard Cody. Throughout the recognition ceremony, it was apparent that his greatest achievement was his unwavering dedication to the well-being of his troops and the honor and values of his country.

    The annual meeting of the Barre American Legion is coming up at 6:30 p.m. today, and it is imperative that members turn out and give instruction and direction to the officers who are elected this year. Members who do not frequent the post have not been given any information about the management of the post over the last few years, and there are serious concerns which have not been addressed both in financial management and in the transparency and behavior of post officers.

    In the financial area, it should be noted that I, as post commander, was not allowed to require the finance officer to create a budget during my four years, nor has there been a budget during the two years since then. Two years ago, there was no bar chairman appointed. This past year, the current commander was allowed to be bar chairman (a conflict of chain of command) and even so, there has been no bar inventory taken this year, nor have tickets been “proofed,” a significant deficiency in financial accountability for the post.

    Two years ago, the post borrowed $20,000 to bring bills up to date, hoping to stay current. Today, we are behind in our bills again, a good deal of which occurred when the House Committee allowed the setting aside of more than $6,000 of ticket sales to purchase four new TVs, new lounge tables and chairs, a different pool table and other cosmetic items while leaving the inoperable handicap access elevator needing major repairs for nearly a year. The updated security system remains on the shelf, awaiting installation for nearly that long.

    The two commanders who have been in charge during these times, and several of the House Committee members supporting their actions, are candidates for election tonight. Several well-qualified individuals refuse to run for the House Committee because they do not wish to buck the tide of this corrosive management style. If you are at all concerned for the future of our Legion, please come down, vote and then inform your commander and officers of your expectations for their conduct as stewards of your organization. Your Legion’s future depends on it.

    Lewis G. Graham Jr.


    The writer is past commander and present finance committee member for American Legion Barre Post 10.

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