The Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies, Inc

Dear President-Directors and other EMFLS Members–

As you may be aware, the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical & Lapidary Societies underwent a schism when some members, frustrated by the COVID-induced cancellation of the annual convention and lack of progress from Mr. Nock towards holding new elections, held their own election in protest. That process promoted an Executive Board consisting of Ellery Borow, Bill Stephens, Larry Huffman, Mark Kucera, and Gary Bergtholdt. (Mr. Bergtholdt was also part of the Nock administration, and was apparently not consulted when nominated in this fraudulent & illegal election in December 2020. In addition, Mr. Bergholdt and Mr. Walter Priest, the EFMLS Assistant Treasurer, have resigned effective 31 December 2021, and also cite organizational dysfunction as their primary rationale.) This “new” Executive Board also seems to have failed to heed the new Bylaws that had been passed the previous October.

This is our (the undersigned’s) view of those events, and of course Mr. Borow and company have a different telling. Clearly there is a great deal of acrimony between the two administrations, as evidenced by the most recent publication of the Summer 2021 EFMLS News by Ms. Bateman.

When I and my Executive Committee (myself plus Sara Furbush, Nancy Campbell, Karenne Snow, and Elizabeth Triano, all of whom have been wonderful) were elected to replace Mr. Nock’s administration in July 2021, the Federation effectively had two separate executive bodies, each claiming to be the “real” EFMLS leadership. When I reached out to Mr. Borow (“President”/my peer in the other body), he was extremely cordial, but did not specifically accept my offer to collaborate on a solution to this schism.

I should add that, in response to concerns about the validity of by-laws and election process, I did look at the email accounts used to notify the EFMLS membership about that October meeting which passed the Bylaws, and I was able to verify that all President Directors did receive the newsletter announcing the meeting and proposed amendments. A small caveat: all President Directors that we knew existed at the time–our records depend on clubs informing us of any changes in their President or EFMLS liaison, and surely our list was (and is) not perfect.

Also factoring into our situation is the utter lack of coordination and transfer of responsibilities and accounts from Mr. Nock & his administration. I won’t go into unnecessary detail, but suffice to say that the very first thing I asked him to do, which was to announce the election results and certification by the independent Professional Registered Parliamentarian to the EFMLS membership, never happened. To the incoming Executive Committee, it seemed most appropriate for the outgoing President to announce his successor, as it seemed equally improper for the election winner to announce his own election. In addition, I could not have announced anything since I lacked the proper credentials and access to the efmls.org website.

To summarize, we have been faced with the ridiculousness of having dueling administrations, being rebuffed by Mr. Borow’s administration in regards to a cordial resolution, and the lack of support given to our Executive Committee as we were trying to stand up.

Therefore, in order to heal this schism in a fashion that is best for the overall health and success of the EFMLS, we, the undersigned, are stepping down from our positions and will do everything we can to ease the transition and transfer of assets (both financial and web-related) to Mr. Borow’s administration.

We also urge Mr. Borow and his administration to:

 
  • Either ratify or formally overturn the “new Bylaws” from October 2020. If they are considered invalid or unsatisfactory, whether over comment period technicalities or for any other reason(s), they should not be simply ignored. The best route is to pass further amendments to fix them, in a line item fashion. This allows the Board of Directors to choose which should be kept and which should be discarded.

  • Hold an Annual Convention as soon as is reasonably possible for 2021 to allow for the staggered election of an Assistant Treasurer and Regional Representatives for odd-numbered Regions, as well as correct the Bylaws in a participatory manner.

  • Officially reverse the banning of members and officers conducted by Mr. Nock–they were not done in accordance with any version of the Bylaws. Again, as stated above in reference to the Bylaws, ignoring this action is not sufficient, as it did happen.

  • Make a concerted effort to stay in better touch with our membership through email and other means; and

  • Encourage Regional Representatives to do the same.

  • Engage with our membership to provide services most needed by all.

  • Advance diversity in our Federation and member clubs.

  • Engage a competent professional to conduct a thorough audit of Federation finances (including Wildacres funds), and establish appropriate modern accounting systems.

  • Revise the Wildacres COVID policy to include mitigations for those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. For example, if one cannot get the shots, they can get a test within 72 hours of the start of the retreat and remain masked for the duration.

 

Our thanks and regrets to those who backed our election as a means to introduce much-needed change and improvements to the EFMLS.

 

Sincerely,

Eric Hoffman, President

Sara Furbush, 1st Vice President

Nancy Campbell, 2nd Vice President

Karenne Snow, Secretary

Elizabeth Triano, Treasurer