State Relieves Morrison From Command of VFW

A meeting of the Ava VFW and state officers here Tuesday night became a public confrontation, and ended with nothing being resolved except the ouster of Larry Morrison as commander of Ava Post 5993.
VFW State Commander Christopher Bell said when the meeting convened at 7 p.m. there were several non-members present who refused to leave. The meeting became a “screaming match”, Bell said, so the meeting was closed.
“We closed the meeting because they would not listen,” Bell said.
Bell said several members spoke with them after the meeting was closed and many of them had never been informed that the VFW property had been transferred to a different owner.
Bell said before he left Ava, he presented Commander Morrison with two letters: one relieving him as commander of the Ava Post and one of disciplinary action.
Bell said First Vice Commander Jerry Garrison will move up to assume command of the post.
Speaking with the Herald Wednesday morning by telephone, Commander Bell emphasized once again that Ava Post 5993 is a strong post and the state has no desire to close the unit. He said the VFW Auxiliary definitely wants to keep the post open.
To shed some light on what led up to the scheduled membership meeting on Tuesday night, some members (officers) of Post 5993 recently transferred ownership of the property from the VFW to an organization of a different name, apparently selling the property for $10, according to Bell.
This transaction was done without notifying proper superior officials, and without notifying all membership of Ava Post.
To make such a transfer, Bell said, the post would have to notify all members by letter, informing them of the intent, and announcing a meeting of all members. That was not done, Bell said.
The transfer of property was apparently done by a few, without informing the full membership.
The other issue Morrison had with the state organization – and the one that likely spawned the proposal to transfer the ownership of the property – goes back a few years involved a letter that Morrison “took the wrong way,” according to Bell.
Commander Morrison missed a required district meeting without notifying the district commander. When this happens, a letter of discipline automatically goes out. Bell said he was not sure when the first letter went out, but a second disciplinary letter was mailed to Morrison in 2013.
Bell said if Morrison would have notified the district commander he could have been excused from the meeting, or he could have sent a representative from the Ava post. By doing neither he was in violation of the organization’s by-laws.
As for claims that the state or national organization is closing posts and seizing the property, Bell said that cannot happen according to the organizations by-laws.
If a post closes and the property sells, the post must donate the money to veterans services or a national military service. “National does not get a dime for anything,” Bell said.
In response to a claim that national leaders receive bonuses based on revenue, Bell again said that cannot happen. He said the top three officers get a salary which is part of the budget approved by the membership. “There are no bonuses,” he said.
Bell emphasized that Ava VFW Post 5993 is a strong post with over 100 members and the state has no desire to close the post.
Bell’s final comment to the Herald on Wednesday was, “The Department of Missouri is not trying to hide anything.”