An adjutant in The American Legion whether at the post, district or area level fills a very important leadership role. The responsibilities of a post adjutant are so important, it is one of only three required post officers (Commander, Finance Officer & Adjutant) on the annual Certification of Post Officers.
Your Post Adjutant's Job is described this way in the Adjutant's Manual,
"The adjutant has the same position in the post as the secretary of any other organized body, and a bit more. The adjutant is like the first sergeant of the company, around whom all post activities revolve. Many posts find it wise to retain a good adjutant in office over a period of years. Likewise, a good post will recognize when it is time to change adjutants. "
The Post Adjutant is responsible for many aspects of processing member's dues payments. As a result they are often asked questions about dues and how they are allocated. To make sure we all understand, an important dues issue, The American Legion has a financial year that runs from July 1 to June 30. However the membership year runs from January 1 to December 30. If a member has not paid their membership dues by December 30, they become delinguent.
Your member may ask from time to time how their dues are used. This information may be helpful in answering such questions. For each member in a post their annual dues payment is allocated this way.
Of the $33.50 annual per capita tax paid for each member, this is how the money is allocated:
The remainder of the funds from your post annual dues, belongs to the post.
( i.e. post dues of $45 = $11, $40 = $6.50, $35 = $1.50 )
The post adjutant is often responsible for maintaining compliance with Legion and governmental reporting requirements, thus keeping the post charter and non-profit status in tact. The adjutant is usually the one officer that is knowledgeable about nearly everything that goes on at the post. Since many adjutants serve for multiple years they help provide continuity in post operations as other elected leaders change from year to year. Adjutants gather and disseminate information within the post and play a critical role in keeping membership growth moving forward.
Much of what an adjutant needs to know can be found in the:
All three of these documents, as well as many other useful Legion publications are available online, on the Publications page of The American Legion web site. These documents cover a number of topics very well and all post leaders should become familiar with them. On this page we offer additional information to help all our adjutants be successful.
There are a number of mandatory Legion reports with specific due dates, that each post is required to submit annually to the Department of California and district adjutant to maintain their American Legion charter. Failure to submit these mandatory reports in a timely manner may result in your post being placed on probation.
Non compliance with the timely processing of certain government forms could cause your post to lose their nonprofit status, mandating the payment of certain taxes, back taxes and potential fines.
Although the local post commander has the ultimate responsibility to ensure all Legion and government reports are completed in a timely manner, much of this responsibility is delegated to the post adjutant and other post leaders. The timely completion of these reports by local posts shows good administrative compliance and strong post leadership.
The Department of California is in the process of converting all the annual reports and annual forms to digital forms that can be submitted online. You can access the files here: Post Commanders and Adjutants
The Member Data Form (MDF) traditionally was used to update all member data. Today, MyLegion.org is an electronic alternative that makes the updating of information on members much easier.
* Transferring members must still be done by using the hard copy
Member Data Form and mailing it to the Department.
On November 6, 2014 at 7 p.m. District 16, Department of California will host a seminar titled “The Corporate Compliance Calendar.” Our guest speaker is Michael D. Schley, Attorney at Law. Mr. Schley has almost three decades of experience in financial regulation and corporate business law.
The two part card used in processing membership renewals is a critical document:
To help you better understand some of the factors that impact the time it takes to process membership renewals, here is some information on the process. When the Department of California receives your post's membership transmittals, cards, and payment of per capita fees, the Membership Coordinator in Sanger processes your transmittals, membership cards and fees for shipping to the National Processing Center (NPC) in Indianapolis.
The National Processing Center requires that we send the membership cards to them in "batches." We send batches weekly. When we approach a "target date" deadline for sending membership renewal notices, we overnight the batch to ensure it arrives before the deadline.
As a practical matter it generally takes three (3) days from the time your post's transmittal is mailed before it is received at the Department office in Sanger. Once it is received, it is processed and sent weekly to the National Processing Center. It may take three (3) days to reach Indianapolis. From that point it takes a minimum two (2) days for NPC to process the cards and enter the data. The data is then sent to the IT department who updates their database. At that point your Post's transmittal information will be reflected in the membership report we produce each week.
Because the total turnaround time can easily take 15 days or more, the membership reports we provide each week often do not reflect the "real time" numbers your post may have. A good “rule of thumb” is, it takes at least three (3) weeks from the time you send the transmittal to Department for it to be processed by National and be reflected on the Weekly Membership Report. If your numbers do not reflect on the weekly membership report within 4 weeks, please do call us so we can verify we received your transmittal.
However, if you call before three (3) weeks have passed, all we may be able to tell you is we received your transmittal and it is being processed. This takes our staff off task and may cause delays in processing.
The American Legion produced myLegion.org as a free, members only,portal for different levels of the Legion to access information maintained in the national records database. For a post adjutant, it is a very useful tool to manage and or check your member’s membership status, online renewals, search for local Post 1000 members to recruit to your post, generate real time membership reports, and much more.
To use myLegion.org at the post level, your post adjutant must first complete and submit to National Headquarters an Authorization Form.
View your post and squadron members on-line.
In MyLegion.org your post can change or update a member's personal data:
When changes are made to member records in MyLegion.org there is no need to submit a Member Data Form.
MyLegion.org also allows posts to:
The decisions that are made at any called meeting, whether it is a regular, special or executive meeting are recorded in the minutes. The business conducted during Executive Committee (aka Board of Directors) meetings are captured in their own meeting minutes, approved by the Executive Committee, and also kept by the adjutant.
General membership meetings require their own set of minutes that reflect the decisions approved by the general membership, and also kept by the adjutant.
Meeting minutes are not intended to record everything that is said during a meeting. The minutes should however accurately record the main topics of discussion and any decisions or actions that occur during the meeting. This includes:
- Attendance: A quorum is necessary for a meeting to conduct any business on behalf of the post. Report in the minutes, the officers and membership present that are necessary to reach a quorum. Or if you have a separate roll call sheet, be sure to include that with the approved meeting minutes. If an officer is not in attendance, it should be recorded if the officer is excused or absent.
- Motions: Record the motion and who made the motion. Document the action taken on the motion, i.e. second received, motion tabled, passed or defeated.
- Resolutions: Should the post pass a resolution make certain the resolution is recorded and processed properly.
- Actions of the Commander: During the meeting the post commander may assign members to special committees or assign them to specific tasks. When recording the commander's assignments, be sure to record the purpose of the special committee or the assigned task, who is assigned and any time frame for completion.
- Meeting Guests: If your meeting has special guests, make sure you accurately record their name, title and purpose of the visit
- Record Meeting: If you make an audio or video recording of the meeting, make sure everyone knows they are being recorded.
- "Flags Down" or "For the Good of the Legion": It is not uncommon that during a post meeting, for a short period of time, the meeting may go into recess. This is sometimes referred to as "Flags Down" or "For the Good of the Legion." Activity or discussions held during periods of recess are not recorded in meeting minutes.
- Reports of Officers & Committees: All reports of officers and committees should be included in the minutes of the meeting (an electronic report is easiest to process) to which they are submitted to assure they are made part of the permanent record.
Should you have a question about keeping your post meeting minutes talk with your post commander or judge advocate.
The final act of respect America offers a veteran occurs during the funeral honors provided for veterans. Before that day arrives we can assist veterans and their loved one as they prepare for that difficult day.
Some may see funeral honors as slightly out of place on a page devoted to adjutants and feel it should be linked to information for Post Chaplains. Be aware that Funeral Honors is a complete section of the Post Adjutant's Manual. The post adjutant is often the first post leader to become aware that a member is ill or has passed. Being aware of a resources like the "What To Do Before A Veteran Dies" and other resources, lets a post adjutant really be of service to our veterans and their families during a difficult time of loss. Post chaplains can also be an important resources for families during difficult times.
We can help ease the burden on loved ones, by helping veterans understand the importance of making preparations in advance.
The brochure "What to Do Before A Veteran Dies" is a good resource that Post Chaplains and other leaders can use to help Legionnaires and their families during difficult times. It explains the importance of advance planning before a veteran dies, including the gathering of records and covers the many of the resources and benefits available to veterans.
The information in this brochure includes,
Military funeral honors
As of Jan. 1, 2000, all eligible veterans, including military retirees, are entitled to military funeral honors. The funeral honors ceremony will include the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag and the playing of Taps. At least two uniformed military personnel, in addition to a bugler, if available, shall perform the ceremony. If a
bugler is not available, a high-quality recording may be used. DoD has contracted for a ceremonial bugle that does not require a trained bugler.
For information, visit www.ceremonialbugle.com.
One of the uniformed military personnel will be from the deceased veteran’s parent military service and will present the flag to the next of kin. The military services may provide additional elements of honors and may use additional uniformed military personnel or other authorized providers, such as members of a veterans organization, to augment the funeral honors detail.
The appropriate individual must request the funeral honors. DoD policy calls for funeral directors, rather than next-of-kin, to contact the military. This toll-free number, (877) 645-4667, has been set up for funeral directors. See www.dmdc.osd.mil/mfh for details.