Happy New Year – and let me emphasize, HAPPY and NEW. I am happy that the delegates to the Assembly elected me president – thank you! I am so HAPPY that Partners In Association Management will now be taking care of our day-to-day operations, saving operating costs and advising us on how to build this almost 60 year old organization back to the strength it was years ago.
At one time this organization had 116,000 members. As I write this today, the end of December, we have 12,185. A far cry from the “glory days” but it is on the upswing. And you can bet we have a whole lot more manufactured home owners living here in Florida today than back then – and they don’t know how valuable we are to them. We have to get our message out – we are the folks looking out for them. FMO is the only organization in Florida to do so.
You will read more about “Partners” in the magazine. They have a long successful reputation, and we are so pleased they would take us on. We closed down the Largo office and moved operations to Tallahassee. Off hand that seems like a big deal but it’s not really. We don’t have people coming by the office on a regular basis. Our officers don’t meet there. Our officers, like our membership are spread all over the state and do their work locally.
I am happy that we have only one position left open on the board of directors, Section IX Director. Any volunteers? We are planning to add two new sections in the panhandle where we have not been well represented. We do represent the interests of all the manufactured homeowners of Florida! And besides six new board members we have some new district presidents. All folks eager to get to work rebuilding the great organization.
But this organization really is built by park representatives – they are our life blood. They tell our story to their park’s residents, and they recruit new members. So, at the Assembly I asked our district presidents to go to the parks in their district that have no representative and try to recruit one. And I asked they do that by the middle of January. So, readers be aware, if you are in a park with no FMO representative, you will be called on to consider it. Parks reps are our eyes and ears of what is happening in parks – and that’s some bad stuff with parks being bought up these days – and our voice for what we are trying to do to help and protect their lifestyle. This year our legislative effort is continuing the tie down program – after 20 years we were only able to get a 1-year extension last year. But we are looking to 2023. Our legislative Counsel, Nancy Black-Stewart, who has been with us almost 20 years is ready to bend those legislative ears. She has the connections that bring results.
On a final note, I want to say again – this organization is almost 60 years old. July is our 60th Anniversary. We need to make some plans to celebrate! We can’t afford to spend a lot of money at this point but how about some ideas on how we can celebrate and specially to get our message out – we care about manufactured homeowners in Florida. Send me your suggestions!
Ron Grove, FMO President