The Kansas City chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry has elected to leave NARI National and to re-brand under a yet-to-be announced name. The KC chapter, which is among the association’s oldest and largest local organizations in terms of number members, said it had been seeking to ‘collaborate’ with NARI National over the 20 months, said Kansas City’s executive director Laurie Weber.

The unresolved issue over collaboration came to a head earlier this month when the Kansas City group did not pay its dues to the national organization. On Jan. 17, NARI National notified KC officials that their affiliation would be severed in 10 days if the matter had not been resolved.

With roots dating back to 1961, the Kansas City chapter of NARI, said it has received significant support from many of its members. It planned to roll out a new name to the membership in an evening meeting on Jan. 30. Other local organizations who left NARI, including the Washington, D.C. affiliate have organized under the PRO name. It is speculated that KC will join forces with them, but that has not been confirmed.

In a Jan. 25 letter to its membership the Kansas City president Jason Wright, CRS, summarized the reasons for striking out on its own.

“Our sincere efforts to collaborate with national over the past 20 months have been met with challenges. Our primary goal has always been to align and work together to address the challenges faced by remodeling businesses. In November, during a Kansas City board meeting, we presented a collaboration model to the national Executive Committee, only to be informed via email that they were not interested in participating,” Wright’s letter to members said.

NARI National Seeks to Form a New KC Chapter

In its Jan. 17 letter to KC officials, NARI national president Andy Apter pointed out that KC members had paid their national dues to the KC chapter and were therefore still members of NARI. KC officials wrote to their members the same thing. They would forward their national dues to NARI and that they would remain members until their respective renewal dates.

Anticipating a disaffiliation, Apter’s Jan. 17 letter also said it intended to reach out to its members to potentially form a new chapter. “NARI is committed to ensuring its relationships with and services to members in the Kansas City community. Thus, we are assembling a committee of Kansas City members to help form a new chapter.”

On Jan. 29 NARI National issued a press release announcing its continued outreach to its members in the Kansas City area.

“NARI’s core purpose is to strengthen the professionalism of the remodeling industry to build public trust,” said Apter in the release. “NARI chapters are vital partners in this purpose, and they must be held to the same high standards of ethics that our members pledge in their own work. It is unfortunate the Kansas City chapter leadership has taken steps to separate from NARI. We have appreciated the decades-long efforts of its leaders, and most importantly, our members. We will be establishing a new group in this market and will provide our full support to the KC professional remodeling community.”

Further Comment from NARI National and Kansas City Group

Qualified Remodeler reached out to NARI National officials to get more information. NARI’s Rob King provided written responses. Specifically, QR asked: “Did the Kansas City NARI leadership express to NARI National why they are leaving? Was there any indication that this was coming?” NARI responded that the relationship had been strained and provided the following information.

“NARI National noticed a lack of communication from KC leadership mid-2023 and reached out several times to understand specific concerns. When issues and potential solutions were shared by the chapter, they were vague and not reasonable. National offered alternatives which the chapter did not respond to. Additionally, National advised the chapter they were in breach of their affiliation agreement by not forwarding dues payments for members. They opted not to cure the breach and announced their separation from NARI.”

When asked NARI National’s message to NARI members around the country who might be concerned about the loss of a vibrant local organization like NARI of Kansas City, NARI National said it would focus on delivering services and work to establish a new chapter in Kansas City.

“NARI will continue to support its members in Kansas City and the remodeling industry nationwide. Our chapter communities remain strong, and we will continue to provide outstanding service to them. We will establish a new chapter in Kansas City that will provide local benefits in that market.”

When asked to provide their response to the press release from NARI, the one outlining their plans to form a new chapter, Kansas City executive director Laurie Weber sent the following response via email.

“We have spent hundreds of hours trying to collaborate with our former partner,” Weber wrote. “This doesn’t include the decades of concerns that were not addressed. Our decision to support the termination of our chapter relationship was reached after a 20-month process of working to align our purpose with our former partner and follows suit to what many members and chapters have done over the years. We decided to change our name and continue the efforts of our founding members.” QR

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