Shared in a tweet published earlier this month, two emails sent by National Association of the Remodeling Industry Board Chairman Doug King appear to include discussion of possible “motions and votes to dissolve” the charters of 15 chapters. These are the same chapters that on January 28 collectively sent a letter to the association “demanding” a “response” to a number of shared concerns. The emails (sent March 25) have been confirmed by multiple sources including both NARI Metro DC member David Merrick, who received the email, and NARI National.
— Lazlo MaholyNagy (@LMaholynagy) May 12, 2021
Statements from National and Merrick
"It has come to our attention that a post was recently made on social media on an account under an assumed name about emails sent earlier this year from an officer of the NARI Board concerning NARI’s local chapter structure and business model,” says Rob King, head of marketing at NARI. “The internal email was misaddressed and the recipient of the communication was not the intended recipient. Instead of notifying NARI of the error, the recipient chose to disseminate the communication. It is important to note that the views expressed were solely those of an individual and do not reflect the views or direction of the NARI Board."
The association declined questions regarding the emails’ contents.
As to why the 28-year NARI member shared the email with local leaders rather than notify national—”I forwarded the email because it was the right thing to do and have no regrets,” says Merrick, owner of Merrick Design and Build and former chair to NARI Metro DC's government affairs committee. “The email was disrespectful to several members of the board of directors and displays clear intent from the now past President to dissolve chapters rather than communicate with them. I am disappointed that National still has not addressed the core issues that have been raised.”
While Merrick did not immediately notify National of the chairman’s mistake, on March 31, six days after the errant message was delivered, he sent an email to the Board explaining his decision. In it, he reiterates the concerns raised in the January 28 email and claims that despite any disagreement, the chapters remained committed to the relationship with National.
“None of these 15 chapters wants to disassociate from NARI,” he wrote to the Board. “They are not problem chapters; they are chapters with questions and concerns that all of us need to discuss and resolve.”
No Obligation to Chapters, But “No Better Model”
To clarify, while as a tax exempt 501(c)(6) non-profit organization NARI is legally obligated (so far as it relates to tax exempt status) to act in a way that “improves business conditions” for its members—a sentiment shared in the association’s bylaws—it has no such obligations to its chapters. "It's important to note chapters are independent business entities," the association's marketing director says.
Still, while NARI has no legal obligation to maintain its chapter structure, the current model, at least for now, appears to be the association’s preferred strategy, according to National.
“We have considered the models that other associations use to deliver value to their members. To date, we have found no better model to meet needs in the areas where NARI chapters exist,” said King in a May 11, 2021 interview. “To date, we have found no better model to meet needs in the areas where NARI chapters exist.”
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