Longtime Masonic Cemetery director fi...

Longtime Masonic Cemetery director fired over bookkeeping disagreement

There are 92 comments on the Las Cruces Sun-News story from May 28, 2011, titled Longtime Masonic Cemetery director fired over bookkeeping disagreement. In it, Las Cruces Sun-News reports that:

The longtime director of the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruces has been fired. The 26-year tenure of Judy Bennett, a history buff knowledgeable about local cemeteries, was terminated March 16, said Pat Demchok, grand master of the Aztec Masonic Lodge No.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Las Cruces Sun-News.

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native New Mexican

Las Cruces, NM

#1 May 28, 2011
Books need to be kept accurately. There are a lot of funds and legal requirements that must be recorded and documented, in a timely consistent manner. A professional bookkeeper can get the books up to date.
Hiram A

Las Cruces, NM

#2 May 29, 2011
This fellow has to be the Master of his lodge, not the "Grand" Master. New Mexico has only one Grand Master.
Update

Riverview, MI

#3 May 29, 2011
$65 an hour for a bookkeeper?? Try closer to $15.
Retired

United States

#4 May 29, 2011
Age discrimination?
Edgar Friendly

Albuquerque, NM

#5 May 29, 2011
Retired wrote:
Age discrimination?
Not at all. Mr. Demchok didn't have gainful employment until he replaced Mrs. Bennett. Mr. Demchok waited until certain influential individuals within the ranks of the lodge were either out of town or otherwise unavailable to engage in his coup detat. Mrs. Bennett was driven out much like one would chase a dog off with a stick. After years of service above and beyond what was required she's run off without recognition of her services by the lodge.

Certain influential individuals within the ranks of the lodge need to step up and do the right thing. To not do so in my view would be an act of cowardice out of step with the lodge I know.

They call it Nepotism when you give your relatives a job. To fire someone solely to have a job is what? I don't know but it's certainly worse than nepotism.
umm

Las Cruces, NM

#6 May 29, 2011
if a private pool is public, why isn't it just a public pool?
Melinda Bennett Morgan

Albuquerque, NM

#7 May 29, 2011
Mr. Demchok-- aka Native New Mexican- did not love my mother, the fact is he has been harassing her for several years- threatening that when he became master he would take over her position. My mother, being my mother, didn't say a word, just continued taking care of the loved ones of the deceased, the heritage of the cemetery, and the "business" of death and dying, for twelve dollars an hour. The Masonic Cemetery is "up and running" with Mr. Demchok,his son and two of his "chronies", to do the job that my mother had done tirelessly for 26 years with only part time help in the office. My mother was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including returning to work the day after my father passed away. Mr. Demchok "generously" offered to come in and figure out how the cemetery ran, so that my mother take a vacation in March- the first in 26 years, turns out the offer wasn't so generous. I hope Mr. Demchok sleeps well at night and during some of that sleep remembers his Masonic obligation.
local

Rio Rancho, NM

#8 May 29, 2011
Mrs. Bennett is one of the sweetest ladies in Las Cruces, with a giving heart and a shepard's spirit. The loss is on the Masonic leadership...
native New Mexican

Las Cruces, NM

#9 May 29, 2011
Mr. Demchock has plenty of 'jobs' waiting for this 'SNAFU' to be resolved. As an independent contractor, he doesn't have to work 8 - 5. His regular customers know his quality of work and will wait for him to be available for their HVAC/electrical/concrete/struc tural/tile improvements. He's still solving 'emergencies' all around town in the evenings after a full day working for free for the Masons.
Edgar Friendly wrote:
<quoted text>
Not at all. Mr. Demchok didn't have gainful employment until he replaced Mrs. Bennett. Mr. Demchok waited until certain influential individuals within the ranks of the lodge were either out of town or otherwise unavailable to engage in his coup detat. Mrs. Bennett was driven out much like one would chase a dog off with a stick. After years of service above and beyond what was required she's run off without recognition of her services by the lodge.
Certain influential individuals within the ranks of the lodge need to step up and do the right thing. To not do so in my view would be an act of cowardice out of step with the lodge I know.
They call it Nepotism when you give your relatives a job. To fire someone solely to have a job is what? I don't know but it's certainly worse than nepotism.
native New Mexican

Las Cruces, NM

#10 May 29, 2011
For the record - I am not Mr. Demchock. I am one of his loyal customers, waiting for him to be back to his regular work schedule. I am also not one of the people helping to go through the piles of junk in that office, but I have been in to see and will give witness if it becomes necessary.
I met Ms. Bennett several years ago and have nothing against her. Ms. Bennett truly cared, no one argues that. Her historical knowledge is extensive. Bookkeeping, records filing and following the laws were not her strong area.
I've known Mr. Demchock for 15 years now. He is a man of high integrity. The problems he is working on for the Masonic Cemetery are going to be resolved and 'professional quality' management will be in place. This will all be resolved and the 'sooner done, with less laundry aired publicly' the better.
Melinda Bennett Morgan wrote:
Mr. Demchok-- aka Native New Mexican- did not love my mother, the fact is he has been harassing her for several years- threatening that when he became master he would take over her position. My mother, being my mother, didn't say a word, just continued taking care of the loved ones of the deceased, the heritage of the cemetery, and the "business" of death and dying, for twelve dollars an hour. The Masonic Cemetery is "up and running" with Mr. Demchok,his son and two of his "chronies", to do the job that my mother had done tirelessly for 26 years with only part time help in the office. My mother was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including returning to work the day after my father passed away. Mr. Demchok "generously" offered to come in and figure out how the cemetery ran, so that my mother take a vacation in March- the first in 26 years, turns out the offer wasn't so generous. I hope Mr. Demchok sleeps well at night and during some of that sleep remembers his Masonic obligation.
an observer

Las Cruces, NM

#11 May 29, 2011
the masons are a sinister organization anyway, she's better off not working for them
My heart For Mrs Bennett

United States

#12 May 29, 2011
I love how the native new mexican is talking about himself in the third person and thinks he needs to justify his answers. You think maybe now he is feeling a little guilty.... I doubt it, because people like that only have one thing in mind and that is the betterment of themselves no matter who they hurt especially a woman who has more in her heart then they ever will. It is a sad day that the Masonic Lodge would allow themselves to be brainwashed by one man, and here I thought they were the ones that fought for justice with our fore fathers, guess this lodge needs to be looked at a little closer!!!! My heart goes out to the Bennett Family!!!!!

“Close the Borders”

Since: Jun 08

Out in the County

#13 May 29, 2011
local wrote:
Mrs. Bennett is one of the sweetest ladies in Las Cruces, with a giving heart and a shepard's spirit. The loss is on the Masonic leadership...
Mrs Bennett is a slum lord who owns a trailer park full of questionable tenants, though some are good, most are illegals or criminals.

Sure would be nice to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement start knocking on doors in that nasty trailer park.

“Irony, metaphor, film @ eleven”

Since: Feb 08

Old Mesilla/New Las Cruces

#14 May 29, 2011
So...what was the "disagreement" or the accounting problem?

Too many names and not enough graves?, vice versa? There certainly are many Masons buried there, as is every other name, club, nationalilty, and historical status forever and always from the area. Many past and many to come.

If a front page news article goes this public, a few more details can go a long way. Is it about money? Is it about where the money was spent? What is this really about?
Got to Wonder

Albuquerque, NM

#15 May 29, 2011
Interesting that a cemetary run by a Masonic Organization makes headlines in the local paper when the director is fired. Not much news here,but you got to wonder?
just the facts

United States

#16 May 29, 2011
As a Bookkeeper for 33 years, I would like to know who is paying $65/hr. That is outrageous! If filing wasn't Mrs. Bennett's strong point, then hire a filing clerk. I have numerous family members in the Masonic Cemetery, and Mrs. Bennett was always a comfort. I prefer a Mom and Pop business atmosphere anyways.
M Davis

Huntsville, AL

#17 May 29, 2011
I think the owner of this cemetery is a crook! Why would you fire someone that has worked there for that long and then hire someone else, especially if he 'thought the world of her'. he's a liar and a cheat. I hope he reads this because I know that most of the community in Las Cruces is disgusted with his actions.
MovingAlong

Las Cruces, NM

#18 May 29, 2011
A lot of 'funny stuff' going on here with more questions than answers. Don't know that much about the Masons, but one would think the membership would have some word in this matter.$65 vs $12 per hour (a five fold increase) is really a hefty price tag. How much does this change equate to on an annual basis. Is the position a full-time or part-time. Just looking at the gigantic cost increase has got to be a concern of the membership.

In addition, there are some ethical issues here that bear scrutiny. I doubt this to be the last article to appear in the Sun-News!
EL POLITICO - ABUQ

United States

#19 May 29, 2011
First, Mr.Demchok is NOT the "Grand Master." There is only 1 Grand Master in New Mexico who serves under the Grand Lodge of New Mexico.

Mrs. Bennett has been a valuable asset for the Masonic Cementery. Her knowledge and compassionate nature to help families in need are well known not only in Las Cruces but for families around the State who have loved ones buried there.

For years, Aztec Masonic Lodge who owns the cemetery has had some real poor leaders and is a very political, "old boy," system that has even affected its membership.

I know of what I am speaking as I am a member of various Masonic bodies here in Albuquerque for over 40 yrs.
Cruces Native

Corona, NM

#20 May 29, 2011
As a native of Las Cruces I have known some remarkable members of the Masonic Lodge, and would like to think that those who have passed are rolling over in their graves about this, and those still living should be ashamed. In a day and age where honesty and decency are becoming harder to find, the Masons should stand for that if nothing else. If there were "issues" with how Mrs. Bennett was runing things they could have been solved without firing her. All I can say with absolute certainty is that only God can judge, and when it is time he will do so!

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