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.”