Focus on the Future Meeting at Legion House

Feb 23, 2015
Speaking Notes, Dominion President Tom Eagles

Speaking Notes, Dominion President Tom Eagles
On the Occasion of the Focus on the Future Meeting at Legion House 20 February 2015

Comrades, welcome to our first Focus on the Future meeting since I have assumed the duties and responsibilities as the Dominion President. As many of you will know, these past few months have been particularly busy with a DEC meeting last September; a budget committee meeting last November along with a whole bunch of committee teleconferences. Two issues were the main focus of all of these teleconferences and meetings: (1) Membership and (2) finance.

Today, we want to really focus on the future of the Legion and more specifically on my pet peeve – deficit financing!

As you are aware we received a pretty clear mandate from our delegates at the 45th Dominion Convention last Summer. No more extra financing until we have conducted a thorough review of our spending.

After being installed as your President, I spoke to you about my six-point action plan which had a particularly strong focus on the financial health and membership levels of the Legion.

So, today’s discussions will, largely, center on my ultimate goal of leaving the Legion in 2016 with a balanced budget.

While I am pleased that we have proposed to reduce our annual deficit, I will not be happy until we have a balanced budget. And, as it was made clear at our budget committee meeting, the Legion cannot sustain its current level of activity and the “business as usual” approach to deficit financing with an ever decreasing membership!

So my goal, which I hope you will all help me with, is to adopt my deficit reduction plan and achieve a balanced budget for 2016.

The changes we will be discussing today reflect the proposals from our various committees and by the Budget Committee. These proposals are an important first step at reducing our deficit financing, but more still needs to be done. It also means that any attempts at getting more money and increasing our deficit will be a viewed with a lot of skepticism. I say this because we know that deficit financing is not sustainable.

 

LEGION HOUSE / DOMINION COMMAND

Here are some of the actions we have taken in the short term:

  • We have reduced staff levels at Legion House.
  • We have reduced the number of members on committees and the frequency of meetings to once annually.
  • We are making more use of teleconferences instead of face to face meetings. This has resulted in improved communications in both content and frequency.
  • We are looking at alternate sources of financing which includes possibilities for sponsorships and the establishment of a Remembrance Foundation. This will help to offset the dependence upon membership per capita.

It is my belief that these changes were necessary to achieve a balance between the efficiencies we promised our Legion delegates and the need to ensure that we keep some of the corporate expertise at Legion House.

 

PROGRAMS (COMMITTEES)

With respect to programs we had to divide it into two parts: (1) Committees and (2) Programs. You are already aware that we have made significant changes to the composition of committees with a view of achieving some savings while increasing the efficiency of these same committees.

 

PROGRAMS (PROGRAMS)

We are now facing perhaps the most difficult task – programs!

When our Chairman invites each of the respective committee chairmen to come forward and present their respective budget I would ask that we all keep in mind the criteria I spoke of at Dominion Convention.

More specifically, these programs must be:

  • Dominion Programs must cost effective;
  • Dominion Programs must be national in scope;
  • Dominion Programs must promote the broader interests of the Legion;
  • Dominion, Provincial or branch programs must have a direct correlation to membership. In other words programs for older people will draw older members; and
  • Branches with active program have a higher membership.

 

So what have we achieved? Initially, our review has produced some savings primarily from cuts to Legion House’s operating costs and a near balanced budget. But we still need to do better, we MUST do better and I hope that we all agree on this issue and that we can move forward with the aim of becoming financially sustainable! Again, this will only happen through a comradeship, through team effort, through consensus and consistency of message.