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BREAKING: EM NARI Suspends Affiliation with NARI National

The chapter intends to maintain operations as a separate, new remodeling organization

April 28, 2021
EM NARI eastern massachusetts splits with NARI national

The Eastern Massachusetts chapter of NARI today announced to members it has suspended its affiliation with NARI national and intends to move forward as a separate remodeling organization. 

The decision to go through with the split was one year in the making, according to Jim Lavallee, the chapter’s board liaison for membership. “We put a lot of thought into this.” 

In a memo that went out to members alongside the announcement, the chapter claims that in January the organization, along with 15 other NARI chapters that Lavallee preferred not to name—and which the memo claims together account for nearly 45% of NARI’s total membership—penned a letter to the national association "asking to open a dialogue around our collective concerns." The local chapter named their primary concerns as increasing pathways to board representation, rescinding dues increases to offset the impact of the pandemic, and brainstorming ways to increase member influence on the organization's overall direction. 

The memo goes on to claim that “the NARI Board was unwilling to participate in a dialogue with the group.”

We have reached out to NARI national regarding the claim of disinterest as well as the split at-large, but as the association is currently hosting its 2021 Annual Conference a response was promised as forthcoming. 

What Existing EM NARI Members Can Expect 

As the change pertains to members, the chapter admits there will be some significant differences following the disaffiliation, including a new name for the organization. On May 5, members will vote to approve the name Professional Remodeling Organization of New England.

The regular events will continue as before, the chapter claims, from monthly meetings to special gatherings like its awards gala, golf, youth event, and women's event. Dues will remain as well, though they will henceforth be kept 100% in-house—compared to before the announcement, when the chapter claims that 42% of every contractor dues dollar went to NARI national.

Disruptions for members will come in the form of discontinued discounted renewals of NARI certifications as well as discounts on special programs. Non-members are also disqualified from entering NARI's CotY Awards. A remedy the chapter offers is that remodelers maintain an at-large membership with NARI national—for which separate dues would be required. 

A One-Off or Trend?

While no other chapters have publicly acknowledged a rift between their local membership and national leadership, the memo sent out by the Eastern Massachusetts organization included the line, "While there is no guarantee, we do believe that we may not be alone in terminating our chapter agreement.”

The new organization added that should more chapters decide to disaffiliate, it will be ready to “connect and engage with them.” 

About the Author

About the Author

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.



Thank you for this article. The concerns of local chapters are real. The top leadership at National has been dismissive and hostile to complaints for years. Like most NARI members I know, we are passionate about professionalism and ethics. Many other local chapters are taking a hard look at National right now. When the behavior of current leadership becomes public, I hope that big changes will be made to restore credibility, professionalism, and respect at the National level. Strong local chapters like NARI of Madison in Wisconsin will continue to lead and to demand accountability. We applaud EM for making this difficult decision. Chad Speight, CR. Chairman of the Board, Nari of Madison.

So, Boston thinks they comprise 40% of the total national NARI membership so they should get more seats at the table? For real? They don't like how national leadership does things so they quit? Really? Sounds like poor sports to me. I have had my beef with National Leadership and gone toe to toe with them on a variety of issues, but I've never found the leadership to be un-interested in constructive dialogue. What I find laughable about this is the tiny fraction of the remodeling industry that belongs to NARI in the first place. The organization has much bigger fish to fry, and instead of being part of the solution and getting what they want when they want it, Boston is going to throw a typical Boston temper tantrum. Should NARI National improve? Of course. Should they have greater reach and membership across the country, that would be nice. Are they engaged in promoting education, best practices, and informing consumers about the complexities of remodeling and the value of hiring a NARI remodeler, they are. Are they hyper controlling of the chapters? No. Also, it is important to note that NARI provides an important counterweight to the NAHB and their soulless agenda. The notion that chapters are going to split off and somehow have any kind of meaningful impact is simply wrong. If Eastern Mass has developed a Tea Party streak, then perhaps good riddance is in order. As a past local chapter BOD member and past National committee member, I can attest the incredibly hard work everyone puts in to improving our industry. I will continue to push NARI nat to be better, but I'll be damned if we're throwing in the towel.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. 

For clarification, the "nearly 45%" was referring to the collective membership of the chapters claimed to have signed the supposed letter sent to the national board in January.

Thanks for the clarification! Last I checked 45% in a vote doesn't get the win. Still sounds like spoiled children behaving badly to me.

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