My NRA Succession Planning Resolution Was Shot Down

Perhaps I was naive but I thought with the COVID-19 pandemic that my resolution asking for a formal succession plan for NRA leadership would pass. It didn’t.

Having a formal succession plan is a key to a healthy organization. This is critical for both for-profit and non-profit organization. The current NRA “succession plan” is a bylaw that states the Executive Director of General Operations will act as the Executive VP in a temporary capacity if the EVP is removed or incapacitated. This person will only serve until the next Board of Directors meeting. That’s it.

My proposal was, as follows:

Resolution submitted to the Annual Meeting of the National Rifle Association, 24 October 2020, by John P. Richardson of Arden, North Carolina, Endowment Life Member No. xxxxx

WHEREAS, the National Rifle Association exists for the benefit of its members and has a long, illustrious history as the nation’s premier provider of firearms safety, training, and competition, as well as our country’s oldest and most effective civil rights organization; and

WHEREAS, strong, effective, and consistent leadership is required for the organizational health and efficacy of the National Rifle Association; and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great disruption to the normal activities of the National Rifle Association; and

WHEREAS, National Rifle Association President Carolyn Meadows has called COVID-19 “a wakeup-call to the importance of the NRA”; and the most vulnerable age cohort to COVID-19 are those over the age of 65 and is the age group with the highest mortality; and

WHEREAS, the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre is over the age of 65; and the premature death or disability of Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre would create an executive management and leadership vacuum greatly disrupting the effectiveness of the National Rifle Association in promoting our civil rights; and

WHEREAS, succession planning is a critical component of all effective organizations; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that, on this 24th day of October, 2020, the members of the National Rifle Association of America here gathered at the Annual Meeting of Members in Tucson, Arizona do hereby request the NRA Board of Directors to create a formal succession plan for the Chief Executive Officer and for the Executive Directors; and

RESOLVED, that we, the members here gathered, further request the NRA Board of Directors to have a draft of this formal succession plan ready for presentation and comment at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board in 2021; and

RESOLVED, that we, the members here gathered, further request the NRA Board of Directors to present this formal succession plan to the Meeting of Members in Houston, Texas on the 15th of May, 2021.

Because I thought the matter was important, I even couched in it terms of “what happens if we lose the irreplaceable Wayne!” Of course, that was BS.

After I rose to speak for the resolution and even used Charles Cotton’s mention of “best practices”, I was followed to the podium by three Board of Director members to speak against it. They were Don Saba, Joel Friedman, and Kayne Robinson. Their arguments were it wasn’t needed, that filling the position wasn’t the same as with a corporation, and that the Director of General Operations works closely with Wayne. They, of course, missed the whole point.

Frank Tait did rise to speak in favor of it which was much appreciated.

Resolutions at this Meeting of Members were pretty much doomed to failure in their original form. They best they could hope for was a referral to committee. A reasonable guesstimate of the number of voting members attending the meeting was in the 150-200 maximum range. That included 50 Board members, a number of their spouses, a number of older members from the area, and just a handful of us who want to see the NRA become a healthier organization. I really felt like I was one of the younger members in attendance and I’m 63!

I realize that change takes time and I need to play the long game. It is still frustrating but it is what it is. Just another great thing brought to you by 2020.


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