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  • Monday, April 26, 2021

    Department Convention Limited to 100 with Altered Voting Procedures

    Department Adjutant James Casey today announced updated plans for the 103rd Department Convention, to be held July 23 – 31, 2021 at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany.

    The COVID-restricted convention will be limited to 100 Legionnaires in attendance, with amended voting procedures for election of the 2021-2022 Department Commander.

    Below is the full announcement.


    After a brief discussion with Department Commander Mike McDermott and several Department leadership personnel, we decided that it is time for The American Legion Department of New York to get back to some degree of the regular order of business.

    Jim Casey

    Adjutant James Casey

    Although we will be restricted to 100 Legionnaires in attendance at the Convention sessions, we felt it was vital to have our Convention nevertheless. Pre and Post Convention meetings will take place. There will be a Resolution-altered election of our new Commander for 2021-2022 with most of the ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ our incoming Commander deserves. We will also give a fond farewell to the historic two-year reign of our outgoing Department Commander.

    In order to accomplish this, we needed to alter our voting procedure. Normally Department elections are decided by individual Counties casting their allotted ballots at roll call, after nominations, seconding speeches and a request for nominations from the floor are completed. Due to our limited capacity, we will not be permitted to have all 62 County Commanders and the Department Executive Committee (50 members ) and the potential new Department officers (25 ) in attendance at the Convention.

       On Thursday April 15 at 6:00 p.m., Commander Michael McDermott called to order a ZOOM meeting of the Department Executive Committee voting members. The Committees purpose was to approve 2 resolutions and make a modification to our Convention rules, altering the regular order of business for the Department pertaining to attendance at the convention and the voting procedure. Resolution 2021 #1 authorizes the Department to host a 50-person Convention. Resolution 2021 #2 authorizes the Department to host a 100-person Convention. Both resolutions are the same with the exception of the number of authorized attendees in order to allow us to conduct business in the event Covid restrictions are altered in the future. Both resolutions were seconded and discussed and the vote was unanimous for approval.

    In the coming days, the County Commanders will be officially notified of the changes to their voting procedures. Counties assembled at their regularly scheduled County Conventions will, instead of electing the “Chairman of the Delegation“ from their County delegation, will elect their DISTRICT COMMANDER to be chairman of the delegation with all the rights and privileges to cast the county’s celegate strength as the County instructs them to cast. There will be no District caucuses at the Convention this year, so all Districts will nominate their Department Vice Commanders, District Commanders and District Vice-Commanders at their final District meeting of the year and notify Department Headquarters of the results promptly. 

       On behalf of the Department Commander and myself, I would like to commend all the Department of New York Legionnaires, Posts, Counties, Districts and Department Officers for your actions and dedication to your communities and our fellow veterans during these dreadful times. I have been so proud of all of you over the past year. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Department Adjutant. You have shown the people of the State of New York and the nation the resolve of Legionnaires to continue our dedication to our 103 year-old founding principals of “service to our Community, State and Nation” even in the worst of times. I have received reports during the height of the pandemic of Legionnaires delivering 50 cases of bottled water to a Veteran’s nursing home due to their inability to obtain it elsewhere. Numerous Posts gave away chicken or fish dinners in their parking lot to sometimes 350 people in one day. The countless deliveries of lunch or dinner to our first responders, whether cooked at the Post home or employing local businesses in order to give them some much needed income, was unprecedented. In one instance, a County Commander was made aware of a female veteran with two small children having lost the heat in her home during a nasty cold spell. He brought his own space heaters to her home and within three days, a new boiler was installed. He rallied several local veterans’ organizations and businesses to split the bill amongst them. No one ever asked if she belonged to any veterans’ organization. She was a veteran who needed help and that was what mattered most.

       In closing, I would only say that it has not been an easy year for any of us. With almost 90,000 Legionnaires and around 850 posts, it has been an extremely difficult year here at Department Headquarters. We had only just moved into our new building when the pandemic struck and chaos ensued. It was during the worst of times and the darkest of days that I sometimes would receive a call from Commander Mike encouraging me to carry on, or an email or call from a Legionnaire telling me what some Legionnaires had done for the community. For this I will be forever grateful and it gives me inspiration to continue. Thank you.

     “Pro Deo et Patria “
    James W. Casey
    American Legion Department of New York