Report of the Committee on Cryptic Jurisprudence

Report of the Committee on Cryptic Jurisprudence

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To the Most Puissant General Grand Master, Officers, and Members of the General Grand Council, Cryptic Masons, International:

This report is not easy to write this triennium, nor did we expect it to happen this way. Our chairman, C. David Williams, III, PGIM (KS), unexpectedly passed away on July 1, 2020 at his home. With his passing, we lost a great deal of the records and information on the decisions made in the past three years, while leaving all of the end of triennium items left to accomplish without his guidance, leadership, and wisdom. We mourn his passing. This report will attempt to recount the actions during the past triennium and the decisions of the committee, but we beg your leave if something is unintentionally left out.

Per our law, the duties of this committee are as follows:

SECTION 402 DUTIES OF THE COMMITTEE ON CRYPTIC JURISPRUDENCE
The duty of the Committee on Cryptic Jurisprudence is:
A. To consider and report on all questions of Cryptic Masonic Law referred to it by the General Grand Council Elected Officers, or any Committee of the General Grand Council, including decisions of the General Grand Master during the Triennial
B. To consider and report on all proposed amendments to the Constitution and By-laws
C. To monitor and correct the contents of the Constitution and By-Laws for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and miss-wording in conjunction with the General Grand Recorder

In reverse order, your committee begs leave to report the following:

No requests were made of us regarding monitoring and correcting the Constitution and By-Laws as stated in subparagraph C. Neither have we advanced any issues of our own determination.

Two proposed amendments to our Constitution and By-Laws were forwarded to us to review pursuant to subparagraph B. Resolution 47-1 concerned the honorifics granted to certain officers of the General Grand Council. Resolution 47-2 concerned changes to the procedure for filling vacancies in the offices of the General Grand Council. Both were submitted to the committee in August 2020. The committee found both resolutions to be in proper form and not otherwise in conflict with the law of the General Grand Council. However, the committee determined that neither could lawfully be brought to the floor as they were untimely pursuant to Article X of the Constitution and Section 802 of the By-Laws. Neither was presented to the voting membership in the timeline required by the law. In addition to the resolutions, we were asked to weigh in on a proposed list of landmarks for Cryptic Masonry. After much discussion, it was agreed upon thatany such list, if it was to have any legitimacy and bearing on our organization, needed to be presented to the voting delegates in the same way that legislation is presented. Thus, it was determined to be out of time and not able to be presented at this time.

With respect to subparagraph A, your committee can report the following:

  1. We have been consulted on numerous changes and adoptions of bylaws and other governing documents for the subordinate councils of the General Grand Council over the triennium. The work in this regard is largely reflected in the report of the Committee on Charters and Dispensations. We commend the work of our companions in various jurisdictions to establish councils and spread the light of Cryptic Masonry.
  2. We have reviewed the report of the General Grand Master and beg leave to report the following:
    1. We commend the General Grand Master on the travels and visits he was able to undertake on behalf of Cryptic Masonry prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    2. We concur in his appointments and changes made throughout the triennium.
    3. We concur with his actions with his comments regarding Sao Paulo.
    4. We concur with and commend his comments regarding Masonic Preservation.
    5. We concur with and commend the actions and decisions of the General Grand Master with respect to expanding and growing the Corporate Fund and the Life Membership Fund.
    6. We concur with and commend the General Grand Master concerning the growth of the Cryptic News and the Weekly Decryption. We moreover commend those Companions who have made it happen on a regular basis.
    7. We concur with the Grand Master’s actions and decisions concerning Foreign Jurisdictions. It is not easy to navigate the niceties of the greater international Masonic fraternity and the local idiosyncrasies that appear. We commend the efforts of all companions to grow and improve the Cryptic Rite in the world.
    8. We concur with the official Actions of the General Grand Master and the edicts and decisions issued. Given the unique situation presented by the pandemic in the last few months, we do concur with the unique decisions and actions precipitated by it, with the caveat that they should not set precedence for future dispensation with the in-person triennial assembly unless then-present unique and emergent circumstances warrant the same. We know that the decisions made were not lightly considered, and we commend the leadership for the tough decisions they had to make.
    9. We neither endorse nor repudiate the General Grand Master’s recommendations. Rather, we acknowledge the propriety of him advancing his observations and defer to the voting delegates to decide whether any of them should be adopted. This should not be mistaken for our disagreement with any of his recommendations, but rather an acknowledgement that such policy matters are the province of the leadership and voting members of this body.
  3. We have reviewed the report of the Committee on Charters and Dispensations, and we concur with the actions taken and congratulate all on the fruition of the hard work of many!
  4. As of this writing, no other reports were referred to us for action or consideratio.

Two other unique items were presented to the committee for input and interpretation.

One was a proposal by the Board of Trustees with an idea for a unique approach to the 48th Triennium in light of the havoc caused by the pandemic. In short, the idea is to convene the 48th Triennium in more than one session, with the first in 2021, to allow the membership to deal with legislative and policy issues which were waylaid by the pandemic. After each session, the Triennial would be called at refreshment for a period of time, with the final assembly to be held in 2023. As presented, we concurred with the proposal with the proviso that due and timely notice is given to the voting membership and that the other law of the General Grand Council is complied with. We agreed that such an approach was warranted by the situation at hand.

The second issue was more problematic. A letter was received by the committee which pointed out a major issue. Bluntly, no audit has been conducted of the General Grand Council’s finances for at least two trienniums. We have had three Grand Recorders since the end of the 45th Triennium, without an audit. We are about to change Grand Treasurers as well. Both §§ 304 E and 311 I contemplate that an audit will be done on a triennial basis by a certified public accountant chosen by the Board of Trustees. In addition, § 404 requires that an audit committee be appointed by the General Grand Master to conduct annual reviews of the finances of the General Grand Council. Bluntly, it is not acceptable that this has not occurred. The committee is aware that the employ of a CPA to do this work costs money and that the concern has been raised as to whether we can afford such a professional. It is the opinion of the committee that we cannot afford to NOT perform such an audit and the annual reviews. Given the fact that our officers have not been traveling the past six months, there are budget savings which can be utilized to defray the expense of this audit. Therefore, it is the opinion of the committee that the following be undertaken:

  1. A licensed certified public accountant who is not a member of the General Grand Council be employed by the Board of Trustees within ninety (90) days of the close of the 47th Triennium to perform an audit of the financial affairs of the General Grand Council. Further, such audit should, at a minimum, go back to the end of the 46th Triennium when MPC David A. Grindle vacated the General Grand Recorder’s office. If the CPA uncovers any concerns, they should be authorized to go back to the 45th Triennium.
  2. The CPA be provided a copy of the letter received by the committee on Cryptic Jurisprudence.
  3. The CPA be asked to opine on the current accounting system of the General Grand Council and whether any changes should be considered by the Board of Trustees to ensure transparency and allay any concerns.
  4. The report of the CPA concerning the audit be made available for review and consideration of the membership by no later than the session contemplated to be held in August 2021.
  5. That the incoming General Grand Master ensure that an audit committee pursuant to Section 404 be appointed and charged to perform their duty per the By-Laws.

We wish to be clear that we have no evidence of any wrongdoing and are not expressing any judgment on any companion; rather, the concern was raised to us, and pursuant to our duties under the law, we are commenting on actions which we believe must be taken to bring the officers and committees of the General Grand Council into compliance with our laws.

We thank MPC Grindle for this opportunity to serve the General Grand Council, and offer our services in the future, should the same be desired.

Fraternally Submitted,

Jeremy C. Vaughn, PGIM (ID)
Larry N. Flowers, Sr., PGIM (KY)
Douglas E. Connell, PGIM (RI)
Glenn E. Means, PIM (MO)
Todd A. Schulze, PGIM (MO)