NMLRA fighting

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fleener

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Cost of membership is very cheap. The cheapest membership is $35 a year and gets you the on line access to the magazine.

Dont know very many people that cant afford $35 a year. It is all about what is important to you.

The NMLRA is not perfect, heck no organization that I belong to is.

The NMLRA is the largest ML organization that represents all of us.

A few people have been working hard to do some new things the past couple of years with various classes like gun building, horn making, bag making etc. Also just announced is the Hawken Classic to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Hawkens. The Hawken History Classic — The NMLRA

Want to build a gun from scratch? Come join Mike Brooks and Wayne Estes for this one. There is still room for one more student in our plank building class. The class will be held at the NMLRA education building Oct 24-28th. We will be building an early Lancaster rifle. We will be using a swamped .58 rifled barrel with a nice hard maple blank. Siler delux lock, Davis set triggers and sand cast brass mounts. We'll be starting with a blank that has the barrel inlet and ramrod hole drilled. This is an excellent opportunity to step up your game with instruction by professional gunstockers. Call 859 361 1055

In October is the Creedmoor 150 in Oak Ridge TN.

Fleener
 

Ian Straus

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Regarding "There is a lot of carrying on now, since the restrooms are not ADA (American Disability Act) compliant. There are those who want the money spent to be compliant and then there are those who do not want the money spent. If the Govt. wished, they could shutdown the shoots until things become compliant. "
Actually, no. the ADA only requires disabled accessibility whern you build new or upgrade. So existing restrooms could stay that way forever - or at least until people decided they were too old and ratty and wanted an upgrade. 'the Govt' would not have a leg to stand in in shutting down shoots.
I interpret the raffle to raise restroom money as someone saying "all right let those who are interested in this pay for it.".

However i appreciate your views on what it really takes to be elected a director and other NMLRA matters. A couple of years ago I was glad to see someone from Texas who I have met run and win a directorship. I'd like to see more NMLRA directors from across the country, not just from the Indiana/Ohio area near Friendship.

I was bothered by a couple of the proposed by-laws changes that seemed to me were designed to make it harder to raise issues and candidacies.

I am not disturbed by the structure in which the board of directors elects the officers, because that is standard corporate governance.
 

11th corps

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I was a member for several years, but let my membership drop. At that time the magazine was really the only benefit that appealed to me. I have made 4 or 5 trips to the national shoot at Friendship in the past.
I am seriously considering joining again.
btw, the last time I remember this topic coming up it was the decision by the NMLRA to allow those unmentionable black powder guns in the magazine. People were really fired up about that. Personally I don't own one of those, but I don't really care if they allow them in the magazine.
 

Flintlock Whiskey

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I was a member of the NMLRA for about 20 plus years and then I got fed up with all the drama and infighting and quit the organization, in actuality there's not all that much benefit to belonging to the organization unless you attend the Nationals in Friendship, I never did.
My first experience with the leadership was back in the early '80's when a battle broke out between the organizational leadership and the groups that put on the regional rendezvous, they wanted to keep part of the event proceeds as seed money for the following years event as it was always done in the past (all monies accounted for of course), the leadership insisted that all monies be turned over to the organization, and an application be made by each group for the following years event seed money.
It got bad enough that some groups pulled away and went private, and the organization lost some good members.
From that point on for me it looked like the in fighting continued to be a normal part of the day to day running of the organization, I think the problem is that the leadership has become a big click that only cares about what goes on in the headquarters at Friendship and cares nothing about the membership past what it can contribute in funding.
IMHO the only way to fix the problems with the NMLRA is to elect the leadership by membership voting from a slate of candidates from across the country.
There needs to be an end to the central leadership in order to make it a National organization responsible to all it's members, not just a select few that attend the Nationals at friendship.
Sounds like the organization has had it's day. Time to start another.
 

LongWalker

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I renewed my membership early this year but have not received new card or MB since the old membership expired. What was said in the president's letter? For that matter, what was said at the meeting at Friendship re: the Pittman-Robertson grants and planning?

I don't think the problem is that some folks just like to complain, or that the proposed bylaw changes are to somehow make things harder to change, or even that the folks considering or filing complaints with the IRS or DOJ etc are just trying to cause problems. It looks to me like folks on all sides of the argument have just reached the point of giving up on otherwise trying to resolve what they perceive as problems within the organization.

Communication, or the lack thereof, has always been a problem for the NMLRA, top to bottom. A lot of the perception many people have that the NMLRA is a "national organization governed by and for the clique at Friendship" is due to lack of communication. Folks aren't told there is a problem with a program until it is cancelled. Events are planned/announced/happen without anyone bothering to say where they are, apparently because "everyone" (i.e., the folks planning the event and at Friendship) already know. (For example: Fort Roberdeau — The NMLRA Is that Altoona in Alabama? Florida? Iowa? Kansas? Ohio? Pennsylvania? Washington? Wisconsin?)

The way the BOD and officers are nominated and elected, and the way the BOD conducts business, is seen as a problem partly because some people see organizaitonal governance as a problem no matter what organization. Some of it is due to the BOD's seeming preference to conduct business in executive session. Decisions are pronounced, but no record of what was discussed, etc is available. (Having been an organizational officer, I'm pretty sure those executive sessions are about as interesting as watching flypaper get dusty, but having so much done in executive session concerns many people.)

Part of it goes back to lack of communication. Got a question about how something is done, or why? You are expected to go to the offices at Friendship to see corporate documentation, policy, etc. Here's an example of how that plays out: BOD members are not paid, but there is a perception by some that there are problems with conflicts of interest/nepotism. (For examples of why this is, take a look at the ownership of some of the business that contract with the NMLRA, or at the names of scholarship winners.) The NMLRA has a policy on nepotism and conflicts of interest, but to see it you have to go to Friendship--and even then you may not be able to see it. Unless you can go to Friendship, the only way to get info is from things like the organization's Form 990.

The BOD's failure to adopt modern technology is another issue. When even court hearings are held virtually, and a child with a cell phone can put videos on Youtube, there's no excuse for meetings etc to not be available online for people who can't attend.

ADA is a bone of contention for many in large part due to the way it has been handled since 1991. Back then, one BOD member publicly (and rather crudely) stated people with disabilities were not welcome at NMLRA events. ADA and the ADA Amendments Act require accessibility for new construction or upgrades, and the "removal of barriers" under certain conditions. At times there has been discussion and planning to avoid/work around provisions of ADA. You get a situation where, for example, people are told that the restrooms can't be repaired/replaced/upgraded "because it would cost too much because of ADA" and to "blame it on the handicapped" (you know, those folks with disabilities who would otherwise attend/participate/volunteer).

Quick question for anyone who has read this far: who is the NMLRA's ADA compliance officer or contact person, and where can this information be found?

Over the years some people with disabilities have been denied access to the range, or events, due to their disabilities. At the spring shoot this year, after refusing demands that he somehow "prove" he had a disability and provide "certification" of his service dog, one member was denied access to some of the facilities at Walter Cline. Not sure what he's going to do about that, but he has grounds for a complaint to the DOJ. There are rumors that some long-term members will be doing an ADA audit of the range and facilities during the fall matches. If that happens, complaints to the DOJ and others is almost certain.

As for the classes and similar events, good luck getting disability-related info if you want to attend and participate. The expectation seems to be for people to show up, and if accommodations are necessary but can't be arranged, remember there are no refunds.

No one wants the range closed, or classes cancelled--they just want to be able to attend and participate just like everyone else.
 

Eric Bye

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The NMLRA's Territorial match program brings standardized, national-quality competition out into the field for the benefit of shooters who cannot travel to Friendship, Indiana. For years Territorials have been held in individual states all around the country. In the Northeast, for example, dedicated volunteers have conducted these matches in NY, VT, NH, and ME. Many other states put on the same shooting programs. The Territorials offer aggregates for muzzleloading pistols and revolvers, percussion and flintlock rifles, smoothbores, traditional skills (long gun, knife, 'hawk, flint-and-steel fire starting), shotguns, and black powder cartridge rifles. Shooters must present a current membership card for the NMLRA or the NRA, and memberships are available at the ranges. The Territorial Program offers lots of fun and a solid challenge. If you enjoy a good test of marksmanship you owe it to yourself to participate in the NMLRA Territorials. Details are available at the NMLRA web site and in Muzzle Blasts, the monthly membership magazine.
 

Hatchet-Jack

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I joined last year, attended a small shoots, and used the range several times, then I attended the Spring Nationals, then went to the first Muzzleloader show, all of this at Friendship. I've had nothing but a positive experience. The people are great, very helpful and friendly, I can buy BP and supplies, there are a lot of vendors at the nationals. My 10 year old Son won a shoot at nationals, so he's into it now! I have this program to thank for that! The NMLRA has done a lot for our sport since 1966 so I am not going to view the entire organization as a bad thing because a few people have made some bad leadership decisions. That's really not fair and it doesn't look like that from my point of view. I plan to stick with the NMLRA and maybe as I get more into it I can start to participate in meetings and do some work to support it more. I'll be at the Fall shoot camping in the Primitive area with my boy having fun, making new friends and doing some shooting!
 

Reno

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Friendship is the home of the NMLRA. Everyone knows that. It was started as a shooters organization and for the most part still is. There are territorial matches for those who can not get to friendship. As to motels, there are some that are within a half hour, Friendship is a small town maybe village that is very small. I have went to Friendship for almost seventy years now. In the early fifties there were no bathrooms other than maybe an outhouse, Few campers as there were few members, commercial row was maybe a blanket or a card table and a store was a car trunk that was opened. THere was no covered firing lines,, showers? No if you were real dirty there was the creek. People traveled from long distances before any interstate system existed and stayed a full week. Some went to a small hotel in Versailles, Some went to a vacation home that existed at the time, some stayed in Rising Sun Indiana at large homes that were then called Inn's. Most stayed in a tent, or their car. Most of the tents were old funeral tents, or army tents, We stayed in our station wagon, Some stayed in the bed of their Pick Up. No one complained or whined as those were the conditions. Times were maybe better, but people were tougher and did not expect as much as they do today. People really do loose sight that the NMLRA is for shooters.
 

FishDFly

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The NMLRA's Territorial match program brings standardized, national-quality competition out into the field for the benefit of shooters who cannot travel to Friendship, Indiana. For years Territorials have been held in individual states all around the country. In the Northeast, for example, dedicated volunteers have conducted these matches in NY, VT, NH, and ME. Many other states put on the same shooting programs. The Territorials offer aggregates for muzzleloading pistols and revolvers, percussion and flintlock rifles, smoothbores, traditional skills (long gun, knife, 'hawk, flint-and-steel fire starting), shotguns, and black powder cartridge rifles. Shooters must present a current membership card for the NMLRA or the NRA, and memberships are available at the ranges. The Territorial Program offers lots of fun and a solid challenge. If you enjoy a good test of marksmanship you owe it to yourself to participate in the NMLRA Territorials. Details are available at the NMLRA web site and in Muzzle Blasts, the monthly membership magazine.

The number of Territorials has decreased substantially, there has not been an increase in the number of shoots.

The WNS is gone, the Org. promised smaller shoots west of the Mississippi to replace it, that "HAS" not happened. How come?

I asked a former President of the NMLRA why he did not post here and contribute to grow the sport. His response was why, come here and be abused?

Membership has gone from 25,000 to 13,000.

Will you and Fleener take what has been posted here and share with the current President and Board to make things better?
 
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Skeggs

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Communication on this forum is great and airing out concerns is how things get resolved.
The Paralympic shooting events are vital, so getting things squared away on that front are critical, not just for legality, but because it grows our sport.
Additionally, I have noted that places that cater to "challenged" people, with both facilities and a welcoming attitude, also attract more kids and non-traditional shooters, ie, more than just a bunch of us fuzzy old white guys.
 

FishDFly

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Communication on this forum is great and airing out concerns is how things get resolved.
The Paralympic shooting events are vital, so getting things squared away on that front are critical, not just for legality, but because it grows our sport.
Additionally, I have noted that places that cater to "challenged" people, with both facilities and a welcoming attitude, also attract more kids and non-traditional shooters, ie, more than just a bunch of us fuzzy old white guys.
In all honesty, I did not know that Paralympic shooting events existed. Please share more information and insight.

Very deserving of a like.
 

BP Addict

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NRA leadership is dragging the NRA down; no one human individual is necessary to the success of any political or lobbying organization. People grow old and die, the universal truth. Like politicians that are re-elected until they die of old age, the NRA could find someone with new ideas to lead it. Most of the members buy their own clothes; I don't want to pay for Pierre's suits, I can't afford designer suits of my own.

There are two parts to the NRA. The first involves education, promoting gun safety and preserving our Hunting Heritage. The second is a political action group called NRA-ILA who works on gun laws. Many confuse the second with the first.

Thanks!

Walt
 

Skeggs

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In all honesty, I did not know that Paralympic shooting events existed. Please share more information and insight.

Very deserving of a like.

Here is a link from a CMP story.
You can probably navigate around from this.
The CMP has been very supportive of them, the regular Olympics, and other groups and events.
On the CMP Facebook page, you kind of get a glimpse of the very large and diverse group of people participating.
 

sawyer04

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Well it sure sounds like a royal mess.
I suspect greed of power has something to do with the problems of NMLRA. Sure wasn't that way back in the old days, The whole concept of the sport has changed throughout the years. But, I can't help but to believe the geographic location and the political structure has an influence on policy. I wonder if more emphasis is directed more to reviving the culture of the past than the actual firearms segment. The area has built up so much from what it used to be. Maybe it is time to move the HQ to a more friendly environment to preserve the sport of shooting. Just an opinion, that's all.
 

FishDFly

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There are two parts to the NRA. The first involves education, promoting gun safety and preserving our Hunting Heritage. The second is a political action group called NRA-ILA who works on gun laws. Many confuse the second with the first.

Thanks!

Walt

There was once upon a time a movie, "They Shoot Horses Don't They", maybe it is times to shoot some horses.
 

Notchy Bob

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Only been to one NMLRA national - 50 years ago, always wanted to go back. Rejoined last year, but honestly, $50 annual dues is a killer for me (and a lot of other folks). I've a few Muzzle Blasts from the 60's - smaller, black and white, devoted to membership doin's with practical articles/history/etc. Still enjoy reading them.

The new magazine is, IMHO, way overdone and costly. I'd rather see an increase in membership (future of our passion) with lower dues than a full color fancy one with stories of some rich swell's hunting trip. While we're still physically able, I want to go to Friendship at least once more.
Wow... I've been avoiding this thread, but finally waded through it.

My dad was an NMLRA member from the early fifties until his death in 1981. Neither he nor I have ever been to Friendship, although we talked about it while he was alive. My excuse since then is that I don't like being in crowds.

I have to agree with @sheriff john about Muzzle Blasts. I became an avid reader of it when I was about eight years old, almost 60 years ago. The magazines were the same dimension as now, but with fewer pages, and no color pictures inside. Black text on white paper, with "black and white" illustrations. They were great, and easy to read. The full color, glossy magazine now is somehow less engaging. Most of us who shoot muzzleloaders are "retro guys," and maybe don't need a fully modernized magazine format. I also find that print on paper with a glossy, patterned, full-color background is harder to read. I think the organization would save a lot of money if the magazine were simplified into a more "retro" format. I can't speak for anyone else, but I would appreciate it.

I have no problem with the membership/subscription cost, though. I think it's reasonable. I've had no issues with the subscription, either. The magazine comes every month.

Let me provide some comments.

I am a relatively new NMLRA member compared to quite a few. I live in Iowa and it is an 18 hour round trip drive for me to Friendship, IN.. Been going to F’ship for 15 years or so and became a life member a few years back.

Trips to F’ship were always for just for a few days during the June Nationals and when it worked one or both of my boys would come with me.

A couple of years ago I retired after 33 years and went to work for myself. So, without having to worry about vacation time and having a little more free time I was looking forward to coming to F’ship more often and staying longer.

A couple of years ago I was asked if I would consider filling a two year board position that had been vacated. My two years were up and I decide to run for a full 3 year term on the board. I ran in the recent election for the board and was elected. Running for the board was not difficult. 25 members to sign your petition gets your name on the ballot, write a little blurb that gets published in the magazine on why members should vote for you.

Just like in any organization you have those that typically fit into one of the below categories.

  • Work, volunteer and complain
  • Work, volunteer and not complain
  • Just complain about those that work and the organization and not volunteer
  • Don’t work or complain
About half of the board of directors are what I would consider relatively new board members. Yes, there are people on the board that have been there quite a while.

With 21 people on the board not everyone has the same opinion.

At my second board meeting in 2019 I agreed to Chair the committee that pursued and received what ended up as $1.2M grant from the Pittman Robertson (PR) Grant program. It is a 90/10 grant, with 90% of the funds coming from the federal government and 10% match from the NMLRA. Pittman Robertson act collects a tax on sporting goods from the wholesaler. That money is then used for various things to promote and support shooting, fishing, camping etc. You have been paying into that for years and most likely never knew it.

The NMLRA has the 10% match sitting in an account ready to go.

Regarding the ADA compliant bathrooms, tomorrow September 02 the bids are due for two ADA complaint bathrooms and other range improvements that the PR money will help pay for.

On this project the committee has been working very hard for over a year to get to this point.

The negative comments that you have seen or heard on line regarding board members or President I would suggest that you simply do not take them at face value.

Those that are doing the most complaining and stirring the pot, ask them specifically what they have done to help the NMLRA in a positive fashion and compare it to what the people have done that they are complaining about.

Actions speak loader then words.

Art Fleener
Secretary NMLRA
Thank you, @fleener , for serving on the Board of Directors! Your comments (and efforts) are much appreciated.

I bought a copy of Mr. Woodfill's Hawken book as soon as I heard about it. The author and publisher did a good job with it. I would like to see the NMLRA come out with a few more publications. One I would really like to see would be a "John Barsotti Treasury." Mr. Barsotti was an artist, author, muzzleloading shooter and collector, and early Hawken enthusiast who penned and illustrated several Muzzle Blasts articles in collaboration with Bull Ramsey, Bill Large, and maybe a couple of others in the fifties and early sixties. They were humorous, informative, nicely illustrated with Mr. Barsott's pen and ink drawings, and always entertaining. If these were assembled and reprinted in a single publication, I think it would be well received.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 

springfield art

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The magazine Muzzle Blasts is found on newsstands, where there's general interest magazines of all sorts; bookstores, malls, etc. It has to be 'eye appealing' to the public; I can see a guy picking one up then getting into the ML hobby. Imagine trying to get one issue out EVERY MONTH! I had trouble getting term papers in on time!
 

WalterCline

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To bring back to topic-

Presented as fact, unverified commentary referenced with (Allegedly) or otherwise noted

2 groups of board members
(1) Controls Executive Committee
(2) Opposes group (1)

Board Members/Presidents are not paid. Until 2019, they did have access to association funds via credit cards, as well as the credit cards of past employees that were never cancelled.

2019

3 employees hired. Manager, Accountant, Marketing (son of NMLRA treasurer)

Concerns raised over staff/board member connections

Large payments across several credit cards began to align with a past president's association trips to conventions. (Allegedly, $20k+ spent in single trips. Staff members traveling to shows without notice, rumors of affair(s)- Not verified, provides context to overarching argument)

2020

June 2020 Spring shoot canceled - COVID 19. "alternate range use" events allowed to proceed

September 2020 - First board meeting since January - COVID 19.
Parlimentarian present, no vote to appoint.
Board positions elected over video conference/phonecall.

Investigation initiated with the Indiana State Police in 2020. Subject: Credit card use. After the board was notified of this during the shoot, several board members, including those subject to investigation and the president meet with the association attorney on NMLRA grounds.

The investigator assigned not from the same county as NMLRA, from county in south central indiana. The same county as association attorney and president. Investigator is a client of the association attorney. The association attorney is the brother in law of the NMLRA president. Parlimentarian known associate of member under ISP investigation.

Investigation is hush-hush until the investigator begins asking members/locals about things that had, allegedly, happened.

Cat now out of the bag.

Members asking questions, wanting answers

Pittman Robertson grant entered into between NMLRA and INDNR. Promoted as '90/10 match, NMLRA only needs to provide 10% to update range.'

Documents with INDNR say "up to 90%", INDNR decides on the amount they will fund AFTER money is spent. This news causes more irritation among members. Members want say in what the projects are, Pittman Robertson committee declines. Offers single meeting to go over decided on upgrades, offers changes from member feedback.

Board member under investigation by Indiana state police remains on pittman robertson committee.

March 2021

2 Staff resign, manager and accountant.
According to NMLRA Rules, with departure of head of office/staff (manager), President now acts as CEO of corporation. This backed by parlimentarian and lawyers.
Concerns are raised over elected official as head of business (Can an elected official act without political motive?) is the presented concern.

Board group (2) calls an emergency meeting to discuss, group (1) doesn't want to.
Bylaws say meeting is legal, parlimentarian argues roberts rules say otherwise.
Promotion of meeting reaches facebook, board members/members asking members to attend. Posts removed from NMLRA channels, found on (assumed) member profiles.

Day of meeting:
Group (1) doesn't attend, president excuses absences.
COVID 19 travel restrictions in place - board members video conference in. President mandates video conference seats/votes don't contribute to quorum. - Note: this is a contrast to the September 2020 meeting, where president was elected over video conference.

Meeting has no quorum, President turns into "Informational meeting".
Meeting audio recorded, minutes are taken by acting secretary.

President asked directly about investigation, responds "what investigation?". (Assumed) Members become upset.

Acting secretary is later designated as chair of "ethics committee" (see bylaws/constitution for details). Meeting recording and minutes now evidence in ethics investigations, cannot be released.

After meeting:president hires attorney, association total now 3.

(Assumed) Members begin requesting meetings be broadcast for those who can't travel.

April 2021

Regularly scheduled board meeting.

3 Attorneys and Sheriff's deputy in attendance to oversee meeting.
Meeting ends with president gavel mid afternoon after outburst from association attorney (brother in law of president)

After Meeting:
Third staff member resigns: Marketing

Member submits bylaw to allow membership to remove elected officials (referred to as (A)), citing frustration with President.

Several other bylaws submitted, 2 of importance to the discussion.
(1) Bylaw restricting executive committee election based on time served on board. Some see as way to ensure safety of board leadership/prevent take over, others see it a way to maintain control of NMLRA leadership/direction.
(2) Bylaw changing time needed to submit new bylaws, extending the submission time needed before an amendment can be voted on. If passed, this bylaw would negate the ability for the membership to vote on bylaw (A).

May 2021

Bylaws published in magazine, Bylaw (A) not present, Bylaws 1, 2 present. Bylaws 1,2 to be voted on before bylaw A. Note: If bylaw 2 passes, bylaw A is null and void.

(Source: Membership Meeting — The NMLRA)

Magazine editor tells several members President restricted printing of Bylaw A. President presents "legal concerns". Bylaw amended by lawyer and submitting member June 2021, edited version appears in July 2021 magazine.

Members asking questions about money, police investigations, pittman robertson plans under "ethics investigation"

Sometime around here: Pittman Robertson committee finds personal work of committee chair billed to INDNR. INDNR paid. committee chair reimburses NMLRA.

June 2021- Spring shoot

Threats of ethics investigation/lible lawsuits begin flying from board to members/members to board.

Board meeting

Several employees write letter of complaint to board about concerns, request to speak to board at June 2021 meeting. President blocks their admittance to meeting.

Meeting continues with much lawyer/parlimentary back and forth. Executive session entered.

Staff meet with executive committee to express concerns, legal council not invited.

August 2021

President publishes letter in MB magazine focusing on nature of unnamed bylaw. It is assumed he is referencing Bylaw (A). Members upset president using MB to sway opinion - they claim no one else allowed to make a statement with same reach.

-------------------------

Since March, 4 employees have left, 2 of remaining promoted. 1 former staff member returns from retirement. employee 4, who left in spring back on part-time, not manager, accountant or marketing.

Several board members igniting satiliete events through country to retain "national" status.
Concerns over funds still prevelant, many worried about news of alleged fraud within association.

Information verified by trusted staff member, recently promoted. Lawyers/board members reading can debate on which/both.

//NMLRA members should ask for answers, not action. There are many actions members not told about.//
 
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