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Comparison of top executive salaries at BSA, GSUSA, AHG, and a rant....

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  • #16
    The BSA top salaries don't seem that high to me. They seem reasonable for people running organizations of that size. I mean, our local Council Budget is 3.6M, I don't see how you could have an executive overseeing that competently without paying $200-$400K/year. Now, the level of competence is another question.

    National puts out antiquated tools, so council is administratively heavy to administer them, that isn't helpful. But you're delivering a semi-consistent program to millions of youth with hundreds of thousands of active direct line volunteers, that requires some serious management talent.

    One of the areas council should get better on, IMO, is providing managerial help to Scouting Units. Most Units are filled with gung-ho leaders, but most are teachers with the occasional other white collar professional thrown in. In the more "youth at risk areas" we have a lot of blue collar business owners as long time volunteers.

    One thing lacking is the support/tools for running the Scouting Unit like a small business. Things like budgeting, forecasting, planning, etc., those are areas that most Units are very weak on and areas that professional talent could really help. Instead I see Council unable to adequately administer their business and unable to help Units grow/prosper.

    I see pre-school teachers as Committee Chairs, and other things. My Unit happens to have a lot of management personnel in the leadership, but nobody else in our District does. Trying to help run an event had me wanting to cry, people not aware of how to run a budget or use a budget, how to encumber expenses, reimbursements, etc. The fact that we are organized through 501(c)3 Churches makes the finances get swept under the rug, which may prevent tax problems, but avoids running efficiently.

    That said, you need crisis response teams, when volunteers like GeorgiaMom go off half cocked without knowing what they're talking about and terrifying charter organizations with what needs to be done.

    When she posted her non-sense about tax issues (she didn't even ask the right person, Tax CPAs fill out forms, they don't answer tax law questions, she asked a CPA a tax law question and got an incorrect answer, because she asked the wrong question), I asked her what return the Pack wasn't allegedly filing that they were supposed to, and she deleted the thread, but clearly thinks she is still right.

    Council/National have too many people, too many senior people, and too high of a cost structure, not uncommon for older established companies. They need to go through a massive restructure/downsizing, but they aren't enriching themselves at the public's expense.

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    • Pack18Alex
      Pack18Alex commented
      Editing a comment
      DuctTape, remember, Cub Scout is family oriented. If we have 20 Cubs attending an event (as opposed to a meeting), that means 80 people there. Feeding 80 people is no trivial task, and not entirely reasonable to ask 8 year olds to do.

      Also, a quick caveat for my pack, we're a Jewish Unit chartered to a Synagogue. That means that all food must be Kosher, the Jewish Sabbath must be observed, etc. Since most Council/District events take place on Saturday, if we want to participate, we're camping for the weekend.

      Pinewood Derby: of my 25 cub scouts, maybe 3 have dads who have ANY tools, so we have to do all the construction at meeting times.

      Community Events: we participate in Jewish community functions, etc., those need to be coordinated by adults.

      We signed up to do BSA Adopt-a-School, that's 4 small service projects during the year, someone has to do it.

      We aim to do 3 meetings (2 den, 1 pack), 1 Sunday or Weekend event a month. I think that that's pretty good for a Cub Scout Pack. But that still means 9 things to plan that go beyond a weekly meeting for 8 boys.

      I think you're also coming across it from the Boy Scout side, not the Cub Scout side.

      But on the Boy Scout side, the need for committee planning is very serious. Our Troop committee chair has to plan around multiple different school schedules (non-denominational Jewish, Orthodox Jewish, and secular public schools), Jewish and secular holidays, manage Kosher food to the standards that all families are comfortable, etc. In addition, middle and high school run later in the day here, and in the Winter, the Sabbath can start just a few hours later.

      The boys are out having fun, but the big events that are adult planned are also critical for our raising our profile and recruiting. Cub Scouts are ALWAYS recruiting.

      It also means getting someone to Round Table, Council Programming meetings, District Committee Meetings, planning meetings, etc., if for no other reason than to make sure that Council/District are aware of holidays they've never heard of and how it impacts our Unit.

      We do all this so that the boys can have a program that exists. Our units are only 4 years old, we don't have 30 years of gear/projects in storage, everything is getting done by the seat of our pants. It's also hard to get leaders trained because most of the training is 1 day events on Saturdays, so we have to arrange our own Sunday training, plus publicize it to the District/Council so enough people attend to be viable since our Unit isn't that big.

      These are all things that require an active committee, and they all benefit the program for the boys.

      Cub Scouts LOVE getting bling and recognition. Take that away, and we don't retain the boys. Our retention rate is WAY higher now that we hand out more bling, but bling costs money, and money requires planning.

      Retention tells me if the boys are liking the program. But I'm a by the numbers guy, so I know if the boys want more, they come back for more.

    • DuctTape
      DuctTape commented
      Editing a comment
      You are correct, I am coming from a Boy Scout direction. However, I still don't think it takes an MBA to handle what you describe as what you want for your pack, nor do I believe that bling and expensive big events are the only way to recruit and retain. One of the problems with going big, is the need to go bigger the next time. Children need recognition, but one must be careful to not externalize the reward. When the reward or recognition becomes greater than the accomplishment itself, it defeats its purpose. Not saying this is happening in your pack. Just something I have seen before and mentioning it for awareness. It is obvious you are successful with your pack by playing to your strengths. As you said, you are a by the numbers guy and like the business model. Others are just as successful utilizing completely different strategies; non-business models. It's kind of like the saying, If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

    • Pack18Alex
      Pack18Alex commented
      Editing a comment
      Of course, you fight a war with the army you have, not the one you want.

      We have management personal, no skilled tradesman. It had advantages, but a ton of drawbacks.

      Of the 50 or so packs in my district, the only one with this setup is mine. So when I'm at Roundtable and they are discussing things and gloss over the business side, I think it's a disservice.

      If my district is typical, 2% management side, 98% teachers and tradesmen.

      Talking to other leaders, they are all drowning on the paperwork side, so I think that BSA would do well to have professionals help on the paperwork side.

      You are right, there is too much paperwork. But until national reduces it, I'd like to see council help units along, since in general,
      Paperwork is not their strength.

      My pack of pencil pushers can handle it, the rest are drowning.

  • #17
    Perhaps I shouldn't talk, but right now I volunteer for Scouts & Cubs. In our troop we have parents on committee who are also AHG leaders. In cubs one is also a GS leader. Roundtable and district have GS and AHG leaders there as well and we all try to share among each other to help out where we can. Heck the GS leader just sold us all cookies at the meeting. There are a limited number of adults willing to volunteer their time to any youth group so it's not surprising it will be the same ones. As well as coaching soccer, and baseball, ...

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    • perdidochas
      perdidochas commented
      Editing a comment
      As an ASM, and a former Cub Scout Den Leader and soccer coach, I resemble that remark. Most of our leadership is similar.

  • #18
    Yep, all parent volunteers here too.

    We never had to "import professionals" from council, or elsewhere, to volunteer with the units. We also never kept track of (or cared) if the volunteers were blue, or white, collared.

    Everyone has their own strengths (and weaknesses). We simply tried to use each volunteer where they were needed the most.

    As for that bilge about teachers, blue collar workers (business owners?), and your average parent, not having a brain for budgeting, or anything financial, that is just, well, bilge. An/or rampant snobbery and ego.

    If you can keep a family running in the black, with all bills paid, then you can manage to budget, forecast, and plan finances.

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    • Pack18Alex
      Pack18Alex commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry, it wasn't intended to be snobbery. It was meant to reflect the skill set volunteers bring.

      A pack near me has a leader who is a carpenter. He's taught the boys AMAZING woodworking skills, built amazing gateways, etc., because he has the skills to do it and the desire to train them.

      Another few leaders I know are teachers, they are great at inspiring the youth and managing the process, they are also trained to do it.

      Nothing about aptitude, all about skills. We have two MBAs, a CPA, and Financial Analyst on our Pack Committee. Our finances run smoothly, and the direct contact leaders don't have to worry about it.

  • #19
    Sorry if I appeared to be a snob, it wasn't meant that way.

    From my work at the district level, more of our units fail because of financial collapse and leadership collapse than from parents unable to teach the boys Scout Skills.

    Building and training leadership amongst adults, and managing finances, are things taught in business school. Having someone with that background is extremely helpful for managing that side of the Unit.

    Can you get by without it, absolutely. But it helps to run a program if you know what's going on financially.

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