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If Johnny, the volunteer leaders, and the troop actually legitimately existed at some time, not merely as names on a council role, then there was an opportunity for those volunteers to muck things up.

But if the above were merely phantom elements of a fraud, then the problem is the fraud itself and responsibility rests with those who perpetrated the fraud. And the perps of the fraud simply cannot be those phantom volunteers.

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If fraud took place that is for the courts to determine.


The SE in Atlanta has nothing to do with the quality of scouting delivered in any scout unit and never was. That was never his job. If any scoiuting program outside of Atlanta wants to use his actions to mask their own poor leadership it is a thin veil to hide behind. Leaders need to stop blaming politics and others for their inability to deliver scouting each week. You do not credit the SE in Atlanta for successful units in the BSA program , so why do you blame the poor units on him?

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"If fraud took place that is for the courts to determine." Yep, the courts should determine the guilt or innocence as well as the punishment. Evidence seems to be running against the council on this, though.


"The SE in Atlanta has nothing to do with the quality of scouting delivered in any scout unit and never was...."


Huh? Who's blaming him for poor units? What poor units do you refer to? Surely not the fictitious ones invented by the council?

The SE seems to be implicated in the fraud in which numbers were evidently padded. What are you referring to regarding accusations of poorly-performing units?

I thought this was all about fraud.

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Isn't the SE sort of like the CEO of a company? And doesn't the CEO get the credit when the company is doing good & the grief when the company is doing poorly?


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Bob, your implication seems to be that the poor professional leaders were driven to cook the books and make up phantom units because the volunteer leaders fell down on the job. But even if the volunteer leaders fell down on the job as you insinuate, surely you don't think that justifies falsifying records. Sorry, but I think the actions of the executives who do this give Scouting a much bigger black eye than the volunteer Scoutmaster wearing blue jeans with his uniform shirt. Those executives make us ALL look like hypocrites when we go around preaching ethical decision-making and trustworthiness.

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Regarding "numbers"


An LA Times story - the ONLY One that I could find to give a full reporting of the audit stated that





Frankly, when even a half-baked "audit" - a sampling of 68 or 482 (NOT a full unit by unit audit- or was that all they found?), an "official" audit conducted by a hand-picked firm, could only find 5,361 - out of whom 3,485 were "Active" - something really stinks. One of the few REAL Scoutmasters in this program stated he was tired of being used for PR purposes by BSA. It's clear what was going on - we should all be ashamed. Such a scandal does irreparable harm to BSA's image in minority communities. We'll use a few for photo-ops and lie about the rest......now about all that money for this program??? BSA claims it was all spent appropriately? Anyone want to ask the REAL units how much they saw????


The VOLUNTEER leaders aren't the ones reporting fraudulent numbers. It's the paid professionals!!! This has been an ongoing and escalating problem for DECADES.


C'mon, Holmes in AL got caught for the second time and he's trying to blame the ACLU. If there's a REAL unit there's no problem finding a CO for it. Such blatant lies and pathetic attempts at cover-ups disgrace the Scouting movement and all those that are on the up and up. EVERY single "stand-up" leader in Scouting (paid or volunteer) SHOULD be caling for heads whenever something like this occurs. If Holmes had been fired the first time there wouldn't have been a second. The SE in Atlanta DID "quit" - if voluntarily, he showed more honor than Holmes is showing. And Holmes was telling people in AL that he was going to be the next CSE!??!! Is THIS the example we want leading BSA??!!??


BSA does NOT need a full-blown corporate scandal a la Enron or Worldcom but the makings are there.....overpaid high level executives faking results meanwhile real performance continues to decline. You can't fake "character" when that is central to your organization's raison d'etre.


And as far as "who is hurt" by faking numbers??? If you have to ask that you have no place in Scouting. You just don't "get it" and never will. Morals, ethics, character.



Full story below:


Audit Faults Atlanta Scout Rolls

An independent review finds that officials vastly inflated membership in a program for poor inner-city youths.

By Jenny Jarvie

Times Staff Writer


June 6, 2005


ATLANTA Terrence Zachary, a Scoutmaster from a west Atlanta housing project, used to show his pride in his uniform by wearing it to the warehouse where he loads trucks.


Last month, though, he folded up his shirt and put it in his dresser. He now wears a baggy white T-shirt and jeans to Boy Scout meetings.


"The shirt has great meaning," said Zachary, 21, a computer science student. "I believe in being trustworthy, loyal and helpful. But officials manipulated that meaning for their own personal gain."


Last week, an audit found that Boy Scout officials in Atlanta had vastly inflated participation in Operation First Class for disadvantaged inner-city youths.


In brochures, the program claimed to have more than 15,000 members, but the audit found 5,361 enrolled members, of whom 3,485 were active.


Some observers are even challenging those numbers as too high, saying as few as 500 are in the program.


In an open letter Sunday to the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts, Joseph Beasley of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition who triggered the initial investigation in another open letter to the board demanded a more thorough investigation.


"These figures are ridiculous," wrote Beasley, Rainbow/PUSH's southeast regional director. "In no way can this report be said to be independent."


The audit found that Scouting officials had altered the birth years of Scouts who had outgrown the program, and that officials had reregistered inactive troops. In some cases, auditors found no evidence that listed units had existed.


Auditors found that Scouting staffers inflated membership numbers to meet recruiting goals, not to increase fundraising, said Edgar Sims, a lawyer with the Atlanta law firm that conducted the eight-month audit, McKenna Long and Aldridge.


"There was a total failure to provide adequate leadership and supervision," Sims said.


Hours after the audit's release Tuesday, David Larkin resigned as executive director of the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts. Larkin, who earned more than $250,000 a year, said in a written statement that he was "deeply disappointed both personally and professionally."


For the members of Troop 685, Larkin's resignation was little comfort.


"The way they used us was not right," Zachary said.


For about 20 years, the troop has worked with boys from the Bankhead Courts housing project in an Atlanta neighborhood whose ZIP Code 30318 is renowned for producing the most prison inmates in Georgia. The troop offers weekly meetings, camping and hiking trips, and mentoring from local businesses.


When Operation First Class was established in 1991, Troop 685 hoped Scouting would thrive in nearby housing projects.


Leaders began to suspect the Atlanta Area Council of inflating the number of inner-city Boy Scouts in 2002, when Isley Agnew, a 15-year-old Scout, moved from Bankhead Courts to another housing project and could not find the listed troop.


"It was shocking at the time," Agnew said. "I wanted to be a Scout; they said there was a troop, but I couldn't find anything."


When Bob Kent, director of the Bankhead Boys Assn. and committee chairman of Troop 685, approached Atlanta's Boy Scout headquarters to suggest setting up a troop, he was told the project already had one.


"It was the strangest thing," Kent said. "They just stuck to the position that there was already a troop. It was all phony, and we knew it was all phony."


Disillusioned, Troop 685 stopped recruiting.


"We didn't see any future," Kent said. "We were seeking to get the support we needed to expand, but the Scouting organization didn't seem interested."


Allegations of inflated membership rolls have been leveled at various Boy Scout groups across the country.


In Alabama, the FBI is investigating rumors that Birmingham's council officials fabricated members.


In the 1990s, councils in Los Angeles, Vicksburg, Miss., and Jacksonville, Fla., were embroiled in similar membership controversies.


In Texas, an inquiry five years ago by U.S. Postal Service investigators prompted Dallas' Boy Scout council to revise enrollment downward.


Some Atlanta volunteers said the Boy Scouts of America National Council pressured district leaders to increase enrollment.


National Council spokesman Gregg Shields said membership inflation was "isolated to a few" of the 310 councils across the country.


"I wouldn't characterize this as a national problem," he said.


The Scouts' national office said it planned to introduce new checks on membership inflation, including five audit teams and a signed document to be filed by volunteers as well as staffers.


The Atlanta audit found no fraudulent use of funds for the inner-city Scouting program. The Atlanta council's executive board has said it plans to retrain staffers and set up a task force of key volunteers and leaders to find ways to develop the inner-city Scouting program.


"I want to reassure Boy Scouts in the inner cities that we are committed to giving the same quality program as our Scouts in the suburbs," board President Tom Gay said. Despite the allegations, he said Operation First Class was a successful program with more than 5,000 members.


But Troop 685's leaders, skeptical of the audit, said participation was lower than the law firm found.


"They must be talking about Scouts on another continent because I haven't seen them. Where are they?" said Troop 685 Cubmaster Cedric Samuels, 24.


The audit compiled its figures after surveying unit leaders and contacting the sponsors or volunteers of a sample of 68 of the 482 Operation First Class scout units.


A former district executive of the Atlanta council, Kevin Tullis, said the report's definition of an active Scout was flawed. Tullis said he was forced to resign in July after he complained about recruiting procedures.


"If 5,000 people register to vote, but only 500 show up at the polling station, it's not correct to say you have 5,000 voters," he said.


Advancements by rank and summer camp attendance more accurately indicate Scout participation, Tullis said. Although more than 3,000 Scouts were enrolled in his west Atlanta district in July, Tullis said, 17 attended summer camp last year in Covington, Ga.


Gay, the board president, said Scouts should not have to attend regularly to be included on rosters.






If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.


Article licensing and reprint options





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BW - I'm trying to understand your posts, but I don't. This isn't a quality issue; there are no volunteers or boys involved in this equation. This whole story is about Professional Scouters making bad, if not illegal, choices.


I'm sure we all hope that ATL Scouts received a quality program and I'm sure they all get one that could be better if their leaders got more training; but this is about how Scouting Professionals stole money from underprivileged kids. By cooking the books and accepting an unfair share of charitable funds, BSA ATL made sure that other programs built to help kids in that city received less funding. Lieing is bad enough, stealing is worse; stealing from the kids you're dedicated to serve,is reprehensible.



jd(This message has been edited by johndaigler) (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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jkhny - "And as far as "who is hurt" by faking numbers??? If you have to ask that you have no place in Scouting. "


Well, maybe I don't have a place in Scouting, but tell me again, in 3 sentences or less who is hurt? No newspaper reprints please.


johndaigler - "BSA ATL made sure that other programs built to help kids in that city received less funding."


Which other programs in that city do a better job helping kids?



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FScouter - take another look at my last post. I think I explained who gets hurt when Professional Scouters steal money. And I didn't even mention the black eye that every one of us carries around for a while.


Also, the quality of other ATL programs is unimportant in this situation. I can't imagine our integrity should be judged against their effectiveness.



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Who is hurt faking numbers?


The fakery is done in part to justify jobs, gain raises or accolades to the pros, and for other internal purposes. Were this all of it, however, it would be no big deal.


The bigger concern (outside of our image) is that the inflated numbers are used to justify donations from the United Way, corporations, and other sources.


Since there is only so much money available, any money we gain through manipulation is money that cannot go to another worthwhile cause. (Although, I'd bet that cooking numbers is pretty common in that whole field!)



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"...this is about how Scouting Professionals stole money from underprivileged kids."

"...stealing from the kids you're dedicated to serve,is reprehensible."

Agreed. But nobody stole anything from kids. The council manipulated numbers on a report to get a bigger contribution from United Way. How is that stealing from underprivileged kids?


Maybe United Way should stop making contributions based on numbers in a report.





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johndaigler said the same thing. I don't condone what happened at all. I do have an issue with the spin some people put on this. Which other programs in that city do a better job helping kids? Where would United Way otherwise have given the money that would have had a better benefit to kids?


BSA got a contribution. Unless there is an accusation that the SE funneled the contribution into his personal bank account, BSA got the money and is using it to help kids.

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You would have to ask United Way in Atlanta for the list of organizations they support to answer that last part. But as for which ones do a better job than BSA, if they serve any real-live children at all, it is far better than taking the resources and serving none. That's a no-brainer.

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