This weekend State Officers, Delegates, Sir Knights, Brother Knights, their wives and families were planning to be in Huntsville, AL for the 117th Annual State Convention and the Fourth Degree Biennial Meeting. As is the case with many events recently, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the “Stay at Home” orders from local and state officials, both of these in-person meetings needed to be canceled.
In light of these changes, it was still necessary to meet in some way to conduct the business of the state. For the State Council, resolutions needed to be passed, State Council Officers for the next term needed to be elected, and State Delegates to the Supreme Convention needed to be selected. For the Fourth Degree District, nominations for the next Master of the District needed to be accepted.
The Supreme Council was quick to put in place Special Rules of the Order such that meetings “shall be conducted virtually” this year. These rules were especially necessary since the current rules and bylaws required these meetings to be held in-person.
The State Council held its business meeting Thursday, April 23, using a telephone-based platform that was new to all of the State Officers and those supporting us from the Supreme Council’s office. Delegates were called by the platform and placed in a conference call. Their phone lines were muted except when it was necessary to be recognized for a motion or to speak for or against any business. Voting was handled by having delegates press a button on their phone.
When asked about his meeting, State Deputy Jason Esteve said, “while it was a new experience for both the State Officers as well as the delegates, I think the virtual state meeting was very successful.” He was also grateful to those who offered assistance. “The representatives from Supreme were all very helpful, and the State Officers showed their dedication and flexibility. They all rose to the occasion.” State Secretary Joe Flaherty, III added he “was not sure at first how this meeting was going to work, and I prayed for all of us to be successful and put my faith in God.”
The Fourth Degree District held its Biennial Meeting Saturday morning using Zoom, a video platform where participants can see and hear one another. Delegates had the option of connecting with or without video or using a phone.
“The Fourth Degree Biennial Meeting was a first both for the organization and for me as a host”, said District Master Pete Parrish about the virtual meeting. Parrish, who had participated in a Zoom Meeting before, had not presided over one before. He was happy how it went. “I have had good compliments on the meeting and I am overall very satisfied with the outcome.”
During the State Council meeting, elections were held for the 5 state officer positions. As is tradition in even years, the current state officers advance to the next higher position leaving State Warden as the lone contested position. The top four positions were uncontested. Joe Flaherty, III is State Deputy-elect, Danny Garcia is State Secretary-elect, Jack Hahn is State Treasurer-elect, and Bill Mores is State Advocate-elect. The State Warden position, which was contested by two candidates, was won by Pat Jackson. State Council officers will assume their new positions as of July 1, 2020.
“I am very excited about the upcoming Fraternal Year,” said outgoing State Deputy Esteve. “I am certain that the officers elected will continue to move the Alabama jurisdiction forward.” When asked about his successor, Esteve said, “Joe’s faith and spirituality are truly inspiring, and I cannot think of anyone in the state of Alabama more dedicated to the Knights of Columbus.”
Parish, who also shared congratulations to the newly elected State Officers, gave thanks to “them for their time and effort put forth toward the betterment of the Alabama State Council thus far. I have worked with and alongside those men for many years already.”
Flaherty, who has succeeded Esteve in each of his prior state offices, says he has learned a lot from him. “Jason has been a great State Deputy.” He goes on to say, “he has taught me a lot over the years. I call him my sensei ‘teacher’ which goes back to my State Warden years.”
At the Fourth Degree District meeting, recommendations for the new Master of the District were recognized. The nominees are SK Parrish, the current District Master who is seeks to be appointed again, SK Esteve, and SK Seth Tolson, a Marshal in North Alabama. The Supreme Master will appoint one of the Sir Knights to a two-year term beginning on September 1, 2020.