In a recent letter to all the members of the Grand Lodge of Spain, the Grand Master insinuated that the Grand Treasurer had been suspended because he had links with a “Blog” which was critical of the Grand Master.
The suspicion of the Invisible College and many other Brethren is that this was a false accusation made by the Grand Master so that the Grand Treasurer would not report financial over spending and misconduct by the Grand Master to the Grand Conclave, The suspension of the Grand Treasurer has left the question “who is at present managing the Grand Lodge of Spain accounts and finances?
This is a question that will become more acute as the masonic year starts again and new Worshipful Masters are installed, new cremonies of passing and raisng carried out etc. These are all things which have to be paid to Grand Lodge along with our capitations every 3 months Hopefully, new initiations will also have to be paid for but at the minute it is hard to see how the Grand Lodge of Spain can attract serious and good candidates to our order when we have such an egoistic and irregular Grand Master as the one who is presently head of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
The position of Grand Treasurer is fundamental to the correct & regular running of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
Our constitution highlights very clearly the role, duties and obligations of the Grand Treasurer and highlights his independance from the role of the Grand Master making the Grand Treasurer a safety check against misuse of the finances of the Grand Lodge of Spain by the Grand Master, Grand Officers, Provincial lodges, individual Lodges and Brethren.
The Grand Treasurer has to be elected every four years by the Grand Assembly, at the ordinary meeting in the month of March. The elections of the Grand Treasurer are held two years after that of the Grand Master so that there is an alternation on the dates of their respective elections. Obviously this is designed to increase the independence of the financial structure and accounting of the Grand Lodge of Spain keeping it out the hands and direct control of the Grand Master.
The constitution says that the Grand Master has the power to appoint and replace all the Grand Officers, except for 2 elected officials one of which is the Grand Treasurer. The Grand Treasurer has the function to check that the payments ordered are made against authorized items and signs the payment schedules jointly with the Grand Master or the Grand Secretary. In the event that the office of Grand Treasurer is vacant for any reason before the end of his term, the Grand Master should appoint a pro tempore substitute until the next Grand Assembly of the Grand Lodge of Spain is held when a new Grand Treasurer will be elected from among the candidates presented.
The Invisible College has no recollection of a decree being issued by the Grand Master appointing a pro tempore substitute Grand Treasurer until the next Grand Assembly. This leads us to ask the question as to who is actually controlling, monitoring and protecting the financial situation of the Grand Lodge of Spain on behalf of all the Brethren? Certainly in these moments it is not the Grand Treasurer the Brethren elected.
The Grand Master and Grand Secretary have signiture rights on the Grand Lodge accounts so they have access to the funds. Neither the Grand Master or the Grand Secretary were elected by the Brethren to control, monitor and protect the financial situation of the Grand Lodge of Spain on behalf of all the Brethren as the presently suspended Grand Treasurer was elected to carry out this important role. The Grand Treasurer’s suspension has nothing to do with the Grand Treasurer’s performance in the control, monitoring and protection of the financial situation of the Grand Lodge of Spain but was made on dubious and unproven accusations by the Grand Master. The very man the Grand Treasurer is supposed to monitor and control under the rules laid out in the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
It is even more suspicious that the Grand Master appears to be handling our financial affairs in conjunction with a Grand Secretary and an Assistant Grand Treasurer he personally appointed and are answerable to him rather than the Grand Assembly who elects the Grand Treasurer. The Grand Lodge of Spain would be in a simlar dubious situation concerning the control of our finances and patrimony even if the Grand Master followed the constitution and appointed a pro tempore substitute Grand Treasurer until the next Grand Assembly, This appointee would also be a close confident of the Grand Master and not a Brother elected to control the finances of the Grand Lodge of Spain & the Grand Master as the official Grand Treasurer was elected to do!
There are more constitutional issues, ethics, practicalities and safety issues raised by the suspension of the Grand Treasurer by the Grand Master than those the Invisible College has already mentioned above.
The Grand Treasurer, with the help of the Financial Commission made up of Provincial Grand Treasurers, determins the criteria & rules by which the annual budgets of the Grand Lodge, the Provincial Lodges & Individual Lodges are organised so that the finances of the Grand Lodge of Spain are concordant at all levels. The Financial Commission also has to review and authorise all payments made over 15,000€. This cannot be taking place at the moment as the suspended Grand Treasurer is the President who calls the meetings of the Financial Commission. So who is controlling these payments of over 15,000€ now? The Grand Master?
The Grand Treasurer also has to verify constantly that the system he has devised for accounting is working as it should at all levels. Appart from the annual auditing of the accounts, which are presented at the Grand Assembly, the Grand Treasurer, under the constitution of the Grand Lodge of Spain, has to present quarterly independant audits of the Grand lodge accounts for the Brethren to review. With the Grand Treasurer suspended who is doing this? Did the Grand Treasurer’s suspension coincide wth one of these audits being due? Answers please Grand Master.
Without an elected Grand Treasurer in place there is no one working independantly from the Grand Master on behalf of all the Brethren to guard the economic heritage of the Brethren and ensure the safety of this heritage, whilst protecting the financial solidity of the Grand Lodge of Spain. The Grand Treasurer, as head of finances for the Grand Lodge, directs the economic management of the Order, executing what was agreed by the competent bodies and taking the timely decisions for the benefit of Obedience. With no Grand Treasurer in place who is doing this? Answers please Grand Master as the Constitution says it must be the Grand Treasurer.
The Invisible College could go on and on raising more issues and questions concerning the suspension of the elected Grand Treasurer such as who now has acess to the Grand Lodge Building Fund and Charity accounts? With no elected Grand Treasurer in place who is controlling these 2 accounts? Answers please Grand Master as the Constitution says it should be the Grand Treasurer.
The answers that might be given by the Grand Master would be interesting to hear but the Invisible College believes neither ourselves, or the Brethren will ever get the information we are asking for.
If the Grand Master had the best interests of the Grand Lodge of Spain at heart and particulary the Grand Lodge Finances, he should call new elections for Grand Treasurer now without further delay. This would allow the Brethren of the Grand Lodge of Spain to vote for a new, leaglly elected Grand Treasurer and not muddle on with a pro tempore substitute Grand Treasurer appointed directly by the Grand Master or, worse still, with the Grand Master, Grand Secretary and an Assistant Grand Treasurer running the accounts of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
The Brethren must be allowed to vote NOW for somebody they trust to be independant and who will work imparcialy for the benefit of all the Brethren and the finances and patrimony of the Grand Lodge of Spain. This is and can only be an Elected Grand Treasurer and NO ONE else!
In the oppinjon of the Invisible College, this is also the ideal moment for the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Spain to resign and allow some one else to be elected as Grand Master to restore confidence, regularity, financial security, faith, harmony, peace and pride in being a member of the Grand Lodge of Spain.
The Invisible College.