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jkhny

Unjust membership revocations

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Had a long and disturbing exchange with a former leader here..... first hand. He was finally told why he had his membership revoked.... turns out the reasons were complete fabrications but it doesn't matter. Saw the court filings.... what a joke. One of those things that cause people to make lawyer jokes......

 

If BSA throws you out, don't fight it. You can't win. It's all a joke. A rigged system, a lost cause. BSA can do whatever they want.

 

SE's have been revoking the membership of various volunteers unjustly - under the procedures drawn up to "protect youth". This has happened where volunteers have questioned enrollment numbers, finances or raised issues that proved "embarassing" to Council leadership. One case occurred in NE GA where an Eagle Scout and his mother complained about a DE buying alcohol for underage Scouts. Another occurred where a girl in Venturing and her mother complained about sexual harassment from a camp counselor (a felony in that case).

 

Archives here on Scouter.com detail a disturbing case where a Scout was - unjustly and without cause - falsely accused of abuse. Local law enforcement showed the accusation was baseless - an impossibility actually, but the boy accused was thrown out and had to move because of the accusations.

 

BSA procedures - which are "Top Secret" and unavailable to anyone but top Council officials - go to great lengths to protect BSA - while making no real effort to determine the truth in any case. While caution may be warranted where abuse is suspected, the secrecy and complete lack of anythign resembling Due Process has led to these procedures being abused horridly.

 

First, a volunteer's only recourse within BSA is to file an Appeal. Often a volunteer will NEVER be told WHY they have been removed - making it impossible for them to defend themselves. BSA procedures require that a volunteer provide their version of what occurred.

 

BSA is particularly weaselly about this. BSA will NOT state why a volunteer has had their membership revoked in writing. They will claim that a volunteer is told "verbally" but there is never an independent witness to these instances. Frankly, this is all a ploy to avoid any suits for libel or slander. And BSA's Appeals process will not make a decision for at least a year - running out the clock on the timeframe for libel and slander actions.

 

These procedures are being regularly abused now by SE's when they want to get rid of any critics or embarassments. A volunteer will be removed under these procedures - drawn up to "protect youth" - but is often told that "nobody will be told about this." Another ploy. If the volunteer wishes to fight their revocation, they must make public their removal - undercutting grounds for a libel and slander action.

 

Now.....if someone is removed becuase they are a real threat to youth - shouldn't that information be made clear? But then in too many cases BSA has NOT reported abuse to authorities - in violation of BSA procedures and state law.....

 

BSA counts on people being unwilling to spend time or money fighting removals in court.

 

A volunteer here had his membership reovked two years ago. He was a unit Scouter and removed without even consulting the Troop and Pack he served. THEY objected to his removal. He had his membership revoked shortly after receiving an award for his service to local Scouting from his Troop, a highly respected and accomplished Troop.

 

The SE REFUSED to say why this volunteer was removed. THe volunteer was not told, nor was the Scoutmaster of his Troop. The SM WAS told that the reasons for his removal had nothing to do with youth and he was not a threat to youth. THe volunteer was even sent a letter saying he was "free to participate in any Socuting activities as a parent." The Cubmaster of the Pack he also served was NEVER told of his removal. Neither Chartering Organization was ever informed of this volunteer's removal.

 

This voluteer had been a Cubmaster and Den Leader for years - as well as serving as a leader in our local Troop. He is from a Scouting family - his sons are accomplished and all around good kids. No complaints about him or his sons. He's involved locally in various things.

 

So why was he removed?

 

He filed suit in court - a procedural effort seeking to get BSA to simply say WHY he was removed and give him an opportunity to defend himself. ONLY then did BSA say why he was removed and it was absurd. None of the "complaints" listed were true. Not even BSA's attorneys attempted to claim that they were true. BSA had "reason to believe that they were true" - and that was good enough for BSA procedures. BSA's legal arguments were semantics - the type of legal weaseling that makes people fed up with lawyers. The word "should" doesn not mean BSA "has to do something." Basically, BSA can do whatever they want - they're a private organization....... forget the ethical and moral aspects........

 

Now the real shame here is that this volunteer is pretty ethical himself..... He worked hard reviving a local Pack that was on the verge of failing. He stepped down as Cubmaster when he had to move his mother back hear as she was dying. He remained as a Den Leader for his youngest son - while still helping with the Troop for his oldest. He's been oneof the most active here in local Scouting - with Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts. He even built a Pinewood Derby Track and has run a dozen or so races..... helps units build cars...... has spent a fair amount supporting local units as well.

 

He had real reservations about the only person wanting to take over as Cubmaster..... a mediocre Den Leader who did little. He'd been warned about this guy..... we all know the type, they do little but publicize all they do, take credit for other's work.... This guy took 3 years to get trained, ran lousy Den Meetings maybe two times a month. There were rumblings about this guy's personal life - marital infidelity - but nothing that you could prove. The DE at the time asked this CM not to step down....problems were expected - and occurred.

 

Within 4 months this Pack was threatened with charter revocation. Unwilling to spend his own money, this new CM - and the new clique he brought in as a Committee - was obsessed with fundraising. The old CM had spent quite a bit of his own money on Scouting - as do most of the leaders I've seen around here, but not this one. This group came up with an effort that broke almost every BSA fundraising rule on the books..... it would have had kids standing outside in the middle of a very cold winter selling raffle tickets for goods solicited from local businesses. A nice detailed analysis showed how many tickets each boy was supposed to sell....... no thoughts seem to have been given to obtaining required permissions or complying with clear BSA rules....

 

The former CM and local Commissioner objected. The new CM actually told Council he didn't recognize their authority as was going to proceed as "Friends of XXX Scouting" - breaking local state law on non-profits......

 

The DE and SE were useless...they were "trying to reform" these leaders. Only the Commissioner kept this travesty from proceeding..... These new leaders continued to cause problems..... the former CM left for another unit - and was followed by all the members of his Den (with the approval of the local 20 year Commissioner). Those parents were unhappy with the new Pack Leaders as well. As is, this unit had continual turnover, with few boys lasting and few Den Leaders serving more than a year or two. The boys coming out of this Pack never seemed to last in Boy Scouts - most were never seen again.

 

The new leaders of this unit have been an embarassment to local Scouting - raising lots of money which seems to go ????? Their self-promotion has been a bit ridiculous - getting a local restaurant to provide food for a camping trip - while another Pack is preparing packages for troops in Iraq..... A Blue and Gold dinner (at a nice local restaurant) with politicians and proclaimations galore - for no real accomplishments.... our local Troop reserves proclaimations for Eagle Scouts..... clearly this isn't about the boys. Locally, people routinely make jokes about this bunch and how they issue press releases when they take a leak and hit the can. Somehow they managed to spend over ten thousand dollars in "renovating" a local postage stamp park - though kids never seemed to do anything and they hired people to do a few plantings..... funny how they spend more than the Troop has spent in ALL its many Eagle projects....

 

Well..... this group complained incessantly about our Commissioner and the former CM after their fundraising effort was stopped...... They wanted the Commissioner removed and the formere CM throw out of Scouting..... the new DE made it clear that there were no grounds for doing either.....

 

But after the volunteer revolt here in our Council - spurred by property sales and the wholesale removal of people from District and Council positions, both the Commissioner and this former CM were ousted. It's now clear that NO currently active experienced Scouters would take the Commissioner spot - outraged by what happened. When the SE tried to put in one of these Cub Scout leaders (with a year in Scouting, one of those behind that fundraising effort) as Commissioner, local units protested ewn masse and he never took the spot. Our current Commissioner lives in another state (he's retired and is a paper appointment), so this Pack has been running amuck without oversight.... Fireworks are fine as part of advancement ceremonies - even if they are illegal...... this group has raised more money than any other Scout unit and violated more safety rules than you can count..... gotta love the photos on their web site showing rafting without PFD's.....

 

Anyway...... the former CM had spoken out at a Fireside chat and questioned the sale of properties. Our SE doesn't like criticism.....

 

Clearly, his removal was because he po'd the SE. A few other unit Scouters were threatened with removal at the time as well..... when the peasants revolt, hang one as an example......

 

Two years later, the "official" reasons listed for this CM's removal came from TWO of these Pack Leaders - complaints from problem leaders that a year earlier were dismissed as invalid and not justifying his removal.

 

But any excuse will do. It doesn't even have to be true.

 

The SE lied - repeatedly - in all of this . Doesn't matter. He even told a Board member that an order of protection had been filed against this leader....... no such thing, a complete fbrication. No grounds for doing so. The local police Commissioner even wrote a letter in his support - along with 40 odd Scout and community leaders and parents.

 

The SE refuses comment when asked about this. If he said anything, he'd provide new grounds for a libel suit. The time frame ran out while the appeal was in BSA.

 

 

 

So.....dedicated leaders here get removed from District and Council spots, and even thrown out of Scouting completely. You don't have to have a valid reason. A SE doesn't have to follow procedures, BSA can do whatever they want.

 

The irony in all this is that the leaders behind these complaints have been embraced by our SE as "award winning leaders" - even though they are a joke in our community. THe new CM's marital indiscretions have become clearly visible.... one parent approached a Troop Leader and asked "What's with this guy, is he in Scouts only to bang housewives?" .....you can't make this stuff up..... the kids coming out of this Pack are a bit scary... one slashed tires and keyed cars - with that parents going "It was a misunderstanding" - the CM's kid thinks it's funny to stage fake attacks - pretending to beat others with a bat along a busy street..... and the former Committee Chair is now living with a former Den Leader's (now) ex-wife (the direct cause of THAT divorce....) Frankly, it seems like you've got a group of rather horrid parents trying to show that they're really "good" parents by being Scout leaders.....

 

And meanwhile, the character of long serving Scouters - our SM, former Commissioner and this old CM are beyond question.... people who work hard, do the right thing and actually avoid publicity because they're in it to serve kids.....

 

The local Troop declined to take on any more from this Pack after the few that did show up proved so problematic - the new CM's oldest kid always seemed to have patches and stuff that other kids has "lost"..... funny how his father never helped with anything during his short tenure but complained incessantly......

 

Yet the new CM had bragged about starting a new Troop but never did so - even though Council also thought it a good idea..... it seems he was trying to force his youngest kid to stay involved in Scouting - though he clearly did not want to be involved....

 

Starting a new Troop shouldn't have been a problem for such "award winning leaders" - after all, they claimed to have 15 Webelos moving up.... but then they also claime to have 50 odd kids when only a dozen showed for the local Memorial Day parade .......but no.....a few went elsewhere but odds are none will remain involved by next fall.

 

So......sell popcorn and sign up lots of kids (who never seem to stay) and you're "award- winning"..........break all the rules you want. Long serving leaders that actually accomplish something of substance aren't wanted......

 

The problem is that those embraced by "Council" here do nothing of substance for Scouting in the long term..... many of the most accomplished unit leaders refuse to serve in District and Council spots - fed up with the behavior of the SE. Nobody shows up at roundtables and District Meetings anymore - no point in speaking out or you'll get removed......

 

Professionals that are supposed to enforce BSA rules and procedures and support the efforts of volunteers to run a quality Scouting program do just the opoposite. It's all backwards.

 

And try to say anything and YOU'll get thrown out........

 

Willis is still out in Alabama...... the old SE that lied about numbers got to retire and the new SE has an even worse record.....

 

How do things like this happen in an organization that touts such high levels of "character?"

 

 

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One thing that pops out at me from your post is that "old CM" has no vote on who is selected to replace him. That is solely up to the CO and the Council. The "old CM" and unit committee can make recommendations, but that's it. Once he says "I disagree", he's done.

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jkhny,

 

I actually waded thru your rant. Every word of it. So, I now ask that you return the favor and read every word of the article I'm linking to. http://www.lastfrontiercouncil.org/scout-executive-0806.htm I'd like to know your reaction to it. It is a link to our SE's regular column he writes and this one deals with the council's goals over the coming years. I'd like for you to get a bigger picture view of scouting and realize that your specific experience isn't a reflection of scouting around the country. There are those of us who actually think we have a pretty good council and professional staff. Sure, we have our minor gripes and dislikes, but overall we think things are going pretty good. So, please do me the courtesy of reading my link and responding. It is the least you can do when you come here and post mile long rants.

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Yah...

 

How 'bout names, council, lawsuit docket # and court of jurisdiction, eh? Somethin' that a competent fellow can use to verify anything? I sympathize with some of your sentiments; I used to live in a council that got in some public embarrassment over numbers fraud, and certainly none of us can support the messes in Alabama, Atlanta, or Chicago. But you're a bit over the top, eh?

 

If SE's are usin' membership revocations poorly, and there's real evidence to suggest the trend is spreading, then it's somethin' good volunteers and especially COR's should be alerted to, and helped with addressing. We all need to role up our sleeves and help deal with bad apples. But you're runnin' around shoutin' about at da whole orchard without identifyin' a single bad apple.

 

 

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SR540: You should be proud. I am impressed that your SE takes the time to write a monthly column at all, especially one that is so erudite and inspiring! Great web site, too!

 

Six camps and two service centers! Last Frontier must be doing a lot of things right! I'm envious.

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scoutldr,

 

Thanks for the compliments. I'm just a small cog in a big machine and can't really take credit. I just try to make my little corner the best it can be. I'm on Woodbadge staff for our fall course. It is my understanding unless things change that our SE will come do one of the presentations. He was at the annual Woodbadge reunion back in January as a speaker and did a great job. BTW, he was in a full and correct uniform to boot.

 

I like to think we have a good council. I do believe funds have been pretty tight in years past and the properties have not really gotten as much attention as they deserve. If you read the whole article, surveys have been conducted among the masses and plans are being drawn up for fundraising and upgrading. I've gotten to know a few of the movers and shakers at the council level and think we have a pretty good handle on what we are supposed to be doing and where we want to go. That is all I want JKHNY to realize. If I viewed scouting the way he did, I would have found something better in my community to join.

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We must catch the vision of finding the means to deliver the program we want rather than trying to live within our means.

 

Your SE must be a Democrat (not that there's anything wrong with that!) ;)

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Here in Westcheater-Putnam we're seeing a redux of what happened in Flint River......postings made here a half dozen years ago could have been made by our Council members...... when the same complaints are aired by people independently in completely different areas, and are about the same person doing the same things..... the problem is that SE.

 

Another case - Auburn NY Richard Knaul, a 17 year Scoutmaster removed over the objections of his Troop. He - and 20 odd others questioned why a VERY small Council (seemingly kept as a sinecure for the SE, they didn't even HAVE a DE) was acting "ethically" in spending $500,000 on unneeded new offices.

 

NEGA - the former SE, now in Greater Alabama - removed an Eagle Scout and his mother - as cited above in the original post. I've seen all the paperwork provdided by AlcovyScout - who has posted here as well. Check out Guidestar....where are NEGA's 990 filings for the past half dozen years?

 

Greater Alabama - the Board Member - Willis - remains out of Scouting after going public with enrollment fraud. He was in charge of training and concerned that so many units had no trained leaders.... they didn't exist. He was told not to worry and threatened with ouster when he pursued this.

 

The girl in Venturing and her mother are out West. Their SE was up for a promotion and didn't want another scandal - his Camp Director had been arrested by the FBI the year before...... the new SE is trying to get these two reinstated......but I wouldn't bet on it happening..... a dedicated Scouting family is pretty despondent over what happened.

 

And NOBODY has explained Grand Teton Council and what's happened there...... how BSA can defend that is beyond the pale

 

Funny, but I've been contacted by people all over the country saying "unfortunately we're seeing much of the same..... and you'd better NOT speak out if you want to remain involved....."

 

For an organization that touts character, ANY incidents like these should be grounds for full investigations and dismissal of paid staff involved..... but it doesn't happen.

 

Conversations with paid professionals made clear that only a handful of professionals have EVER been fired at the SE level or above..... BSA has adopted a Corporate CYA attitude towards all of this....

 

 

No, it's NOT everywhere but none of this should exist ANYWHERE in Scouting...... the same old scandals keep arising, swept under the carpet...... why? If your Council is fine, great, but ANY scandals in Scouting tar and feather Scouting everywhere.

 

If BSA National set high standards for ethical and moral behavior and enforced them like they do the "athiest and gay" rules, all of this would end.

 

And many of the professionals concede privately that there ARE serious problems in National with all of this - THEY are embarassed but - quoting one "The number one rule in BSA is NEVER criticize another professional, no matter how much of a monster they are"..... he worked for our current SE in his previous Council. These remarks are backed by communications from others all over the country and even postings on this board in the archives.

 

 

Ignoring real wrongs and trying to justify horrid behavior does nothing to help Scouting.

 

Hold BSA - ALL of BSA and its professionals - to the standards BSA itself claims to represent.

 

THAT is my point..... instead of saying "This is wrong" too many jump to defend BSA for ANY reason, when they DON't deserve it.....

 

The very nie large salaries being paid out to senior BSA officials - who have really accomplished NOTHING (except preside over continued declines in Scouting over the past few decades) would be far better spent directly on programs for kids......

 

And if you're in some nice 1950's world where it's easy to get a full Committee, Den Leaders and people willing to spend a weekend camping, you're lucky....... here too many are involved simply to pad a corporate or political resume and do NO real work....... those dedicated to Scouting are getting fed up and leaving, making things even worse......

 

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Hey Beav,

I really liked the web site and did read the entire article that the SE had written.

I think that him and I would get along well.

By the way we are looking for a SE!

Maybe at the end of the day we look at the glass?

Some of us see it as being half full, with room for improvement.

While others see it as half empty and evaporating.

Eamonn.

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Unless you're an engineer...then you just see a glass that was improperly sized for the job.

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jkhny,

 

Like I said before, if it is keeping you up at night and seems to be enough to make a blood vessel pop, perhaps you should explore greener pastures. Scouting isn't the only game in town and you can vote with your feet. Take a look at Civil Air Patrol, Sea Cadets or 4-H for starters.

 

I understand your feeling that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. However, just because the guy next door is cheating on his wife, does not mean I have a bad marriage.

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OK now for some really tough questions.

 

This is somewhat spun from the thread on collective punishment for those scouts who witness bad behaviour yet do nothing to prevent or admonish it.

 

I will admit that the council I am in I believe does well. We have an active program, a great council camp and at least the few professional scouters in our council I've been in contact with have been great.

 

However, I recognize that some councils are not so fortunate and I am appalled that any scout executive would engage in some of the practices that have occurred. The Chicago Area Council for example is well known. Some of the issues in Alabama and other areas did occur.

 

Knowing that at least some of what JKNY says is true, who among us are willing to write directly to the National office with our own names, indicating our complete dissatifaction with the actions exhibited by professionals in say Chicago or Alabama? Or do we say nothing because our councils are OK? Would knowing your son has an Eagle application headed to the National office for review make a difference?

 

SA

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Not sure I would want to base anything on a jkhny rant. There are very few facts jkhny's posts. It's more venting than fact.

 

Can't really answer if having my son's Eagle application heading to Irving would influence me being a whistle blower since I am not in that situation. That said, if I did know of any gross improprieties in my council, I would not hesitate to notify someone up the food chain and use my real name.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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