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Should a Commissioner be a SM?

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  • Should a Commissioner be a SM?

    I would like to know what forum members feel about District Commissioners also being Scoutmasters? Can they truly be unbiased if brought into issue involving the troop they belong to? Wouldn't this be a conflict of interest?

    I would appreciate hearing some experiences anyone here might have had..

  • #2
    I'm currently a District Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and Crew Advisor. Yeah, I have alot of free time, now that I'm retired. All my Unit's have Unit Commissioners and a strong committee, so there is more than one set of hands in the mix should a problem arise. I don't think this is a conflict of interest, usually when a problem gets to the District Commissioner to be solved the District Key 3 is involved as well. Not to mention the loads of time spent with the folks on the District Committee, I'd say as District Commissioner your units get more attention as you should be using them as an example for struggling units. Put the oldest wisest Unit Commissioner you have to look over your units and you won't have nothing to worry about. In my expierence the old hats will have no problem letting you know about any problem that could arise and get it fixed.


    • #3
      Conflicts could be an issue, and appearances of conflict could be an issue.

      I've been Cubmaster and District Membership Chair, and had leads for new Cub Scouts funneled to me to act upon and refer.

      I could have cherry picked those for my unit, but I didn't.

      And units neighboring mine got not only more of those leads than my unit did, but lots of help organizing their unit recruiting nights and such.

      They were getting enough leads and help from me that I don't think anyone would believe I was short changing those units.

      But it's certainly easy for people to develop those kinds of suspicions, even if they aren't true.


      • #4
        While there is nothing prohibiting it,in practice it's not a good thing. Not b/c conflicts could arise or the appearance of partiality, but because you will work your butt off. BSA recommends, stress recommends, one job per person, except the IH who can also be the COR and CC, and the COR who can also be the CC. But in practice, many folks hold multiple positions.

        I know I currently hold 3 main ones: CSDL, RT Commish, and Dist. Comm. Member, and one minor one: MBC.


        • #5
          From the Fieldbook of Commissioner Service, "Commissioners must not be registered as unit leaders. Although some commissioners may be registered on a unit committee because they have a child in the unit or because of previous personal history in the unit, their principal Scouting obligation should be with commissioner responsibilities."

          We talked about this at commissioner college and I was told that it is not a good idea (see above quote from the fieldbook, that was what was told to me.

          I gave up being a Cubmaster to be a commsissioner just so there was no conflict of interest (I did not abandon my pack, as a sucession plan was in place, and I did stay on the committee).

          I see it in other districts, and I strongly do not recommend it. I will not recruit anyone who is a unit leader for a commissioner post.

          If you do continue on as a unit leader and a commissioner, please get another uniform. It does aggravate a lot of commissioners to see people wearing unit numbers with commissioner patches :-).


          • #6
            Sorry, double post.(This message has been edited by papadaddy)


            • #7
              Yah, what ADCinNC said.

              No, a District Commissioner should not be a unit leader, particularly not a Scoutmaster. Absolutely no commissioner should be involved in a commissioner role for a unit where they or their sons are a member.

              Practically speakin', this is often honored as much in da breach, eh? The pressure has been on fillin' commish slots with warm bodies over the last decade, and it's gotten pretty sloppy.

              Nevertheless, when any issue comes up with a unit that is involvin' the District Commish directly instead of (just) the unit commish, a DC who is a SM should recuse himself in favor of the Council Commish or someone appointed by da CC.

              Yes, it would be a conflict of interest. The SM owes his duty of loyalty to the Chartered Organization and its committee. The district commissioner owes his duty of loyalty to the council corporation and the BSA. Those two masters may have different goals in a particular case, and servin' two masters with different goals is the definition of a conflict of interest.



              • #8
                I know in my neck of the woods I wish we had enough warm bodies, but we don't. Both myself and the BSRT commish are unit leaders. One of the UCs is an ACM, and as someone else stated it's not a good idea for a UC to administer their own unit. The ACM's unit basically does their own thing and do not participate in any district or council events except those the UC/ACM is in charge of. Oh an the individual is also sits on the dist. committee for CS programs.


                • #9
                  With the other post.....

                  Everyone should ask why she is butting heads with the SM.

                  NO a SM should not do anything at the district level......

                  Because he will not do either job to his full ability. Both jobs will suffer.


                  • #10
                    The language in the Field Manual for Commissioners (see above) is unambiguous in this regard. The language used is "must not." This is about as clear as it gets. Later on in the Field Manual, "Unit Leader" is defined as the Unit Leader and the various leaders that assists him/her, e.g. ASM, ACM, DL, etc. (this is paraphrased). The only leaders not excluded from a Commissioner position is a MC or a CC. Otherwise, it is a "stand alone" position as it probably should be.

                    Some Councils and Districts choose not to follow the rules, and, frankly, shame on them. How can they expect individual units and Scouters to follow any rules when the Council and District do not follow them?


                    • #11
                      Oh yuck. No, they shouldn't do both. No, they can't be unbiased. Yes, there would be a conflict of interest.

                      They should definitely recuse themselves - or, if they don't, then the person bringing the issue should take the issue to someone else.


                      • #12
                        District commissioner or Unit Commissioner????

                        There are multiple unit commissioners and our district's policy is that whenever possible, the unit commissioner should not be a member of the units he is commissioner for. And yes, the reason is if there is a conflict, an outside perspective is often needed.

                        Now a District Commissioner is a different issue. There is only one per district and he is the head of all the Unit commissioners. Since he most likely started out in a troop position and often still has a son in scouting, he usually holds some sort of position in some troop somewhere. Since he is a parent first, it's unfair to say he shouldn't hold a troop position if he so desires. If conflicts arise and he is part of the problem, there is the District Committee Chair and the District Executive to appeal to.


                        • #13
                          Again, the rule is clear a Commissioner (any Commissioner) must not be a Unit Leader. This is in the Fieldbook of Commissioner Service and you can follow this link to verify it. To quote, "Commissioners must not be registered simultaneously as unit leaders. Some commissioners may be registered on a unit committee because they have a son in the unit or because of previous personal history in the unit, but their principle Scouting obligation should be with commissioner responsibilities. Commissioners may be currently registered in only one commissioner position."

                          Any justification that it is somehow unfair is a rationalization. The language is quite clear.

                          I am a ADC and only have that position. My son is in Cubs, but I decided for various reasons that I could help the movement better as an ADC. If I ever want to be a Unit Leader, I will give up my Commissioner role. With how busy I am, district level meeting almost every night, and I directly service 4 units, I cannot imagine someone giving this role or any Commmissioner role the attention that the role deserves if you split the time as a Unit leader.


                          • #14

                            The idea that a capable person can't do more than one job is, of course, just plain wrong.

                            Before the first of this year I was

                            * Cubmaster
                            * District Membership Chair
                            * Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner
                            * Unit Commissioner

                            Since then, I've found someone to replace me as Cubmaster and Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner, but I'm now the Pack Treasurer. I've also added a Scout Troop to the Cub Pack for which I'm UC.

                            As a retiree, I have more time to devote to Scouting than most people.

                            More pointless Scout rules.


                            • #15
                              Again if district and council scouters will not follow the rules who will? Believe it or not part of a commissioner's job is supporting these rules and policies.(This message has been edited by Johnponz)