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fleetfootedfox

SM veto of OA elections?

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Belayer - I don't think anyone is questioning the quality of your lodge or any of the wonderful Scouting things Shawnee has accomplished. As you said we all do better in some areas than others. I can point out both good and bad things with mine.

But in this one aspect you have to admit vetoing after elections is not allowed; and now that you realize it, you all should revisit it. I highly doubt this is the first time this has been brought up to your lodge as this has been pointed out by other Scouters ala Eagle92. Picking and choosing which rules to follow isnt that great of a direction to go.

I too was a youth inductee in the late 70s and I dont think it was ever part of the election process as prescribed by national. I hope you all do the right thing.

 

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I communicated with the Shawnee Lodge staff advisor yesterday and there is no desire to change the SM veto rule in the lodge. Since this is not a health and safety issue, and a very minor issue, there are other things to occupy my BSA efforts. If the National OA Comm. thinks its important I guess they can take issue.

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belayer,

 

As with many things in Scouting, ultimately the National Council and the National OA committee have only the authority that the Council and District have with an errant unit. They can refuse to recharter them. But short of that, they have only "jawbone" authority. And for a big, powerful, strong council like St. Louis, there's no way that the National OA committee would dream of denying a recharter.

 

Now I do have another thought which a cowardly SM might exercise. Could a SM tell a lodge election team, properly in advance, "I refuse to certify Scout X as eligible for election. He may not be elected to the OA. However, his parents are very powerful in this community and in this Troop. So I want his name left on the ballot so that the Scouts will think that they are are voting for him. But when the time comes to turn in the results, you are not to certify him as elected."

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NeiLUP: I told myself I wouldn't respond anymore to this thread but you posted a nice, civil question and scenario about the veto. Here is how it works in Shawnee. The unit is requested (very strongly thru the camp manual and camp program) to have a serious session on the campsite during the week - an evening campfire to explain to scouts about the purpose of the OA and how the voting process. On Thursday morning, 6:45, at summer camp the election team arrives and explains the purpose of OA and how the voting happens. All eligible scouts in attendance at camp (there are provisions for kids going to NYLT, Philmont, etc) are on the ballot. After the voting all names of the elected are turned in by the election team to the camp office. During the day the SM goes to camp office to fill out citations and make payment. If the SM wants to veto an elected scout he does not fill out the citation for that scout - the SM does not get to substitute the next highest vote getter. Only the names of the elected scouts are on the list at the camp office. Again, this is a rare occurance just as I bet SM's keeping eligible scouts off the ballot is in other lodges. I'm always impressed that the kids usually pick the deserving candidates. Only the SM and the camp office know if an elected scout is not called out because only the SM and the election team do the vote counting - no other members or adults are allowed to be in on the count at the campsite. There are provisions for units going elsewhere for summer camp.

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"If the SM wants to veto an elected scout he does not fill out the citation for that scout - the SM does not get to substitute the next highest vote getter. "

 

Hello belayer,

 

This is another interesting sentence and suggests that St. Louis is REALLY working with old procedures.

 

For the last 10-15 years, the procedure has been that there is no "next highest vote getter." Each Scout competes against himself. If he gets 50+ of votes or more, he is elected. If not, he is not elected. It is possible to have all of the eligible Scouts in a Troop elected, or none, or anything in between. So if one Scout is not certified for election, it does not open up a "slot" for another Scout.

 

Prior to that, there were a certain number of "slots" for which Scouts competed. If, for example, there were 6 Scouts eligible, a maximum of 3 could be elected. But Nationally, that procedure was eliminated about 10-15 years ago.

 

Is this currently the procedure in St. Louis?

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NeilLup,

 

Shawnee Lodge doesn't limit the number of boys that can be elected by a troop, but you could be right about certain rules being left over from way back when. The history of the lodge goes back to about 1930.

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I'm sorry about the confusion of number of kids elected in Shawnee. I don't know what the current ratio/election system is. I know that Shawnee follows the national system that determines how many kids are elected. Again, the ratio systems have changed a bunch of times and I don't know the current system. What I was trying to illustrate is that when a SM vetoes a scout he does not get to sub someone else - the unit loses an elected scout.

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With the exception of the SM veto process, Shawnee follows National's election procedures as Neil described them. I know this having subbed for the SM (at the SM's request).

 

Vicki

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Question about holding the election at camp. Do those units still hold an election if less than 50% of the registered boys are in attendance? Because that is the threshold for even being able to hold an election. It might not be much of an issue where you are but down here in my council it seems that less than 50% of boys attend summer camp with their units, which is a good argument to hold elections during a regular troop meeting instead.

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To Nolesrule: great question about 50% of kids in a troop attending camp. I don't know the answer but the last annual report published showed that 72% of scouts in the Greater St. Louis Area Council attended camp. Having to be in camp to be elected does get some kids to camp. I would guess that units with less than 50% of their members in camp is pretty small.

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The rule is, as one would expect, a tad vague. It's not just registered. Here it is straight from National OA...

 

"50% of the ACTIVE youth troop members MUST be present at the election. An active member is to be determined by the Scoutmaster. He must be at least a currently registered member of the Boy Scouts of America."

 

It is up to the SM to determine what constitutes active. An SM I worked with recently defined "active" as being at summer camp, using the logic that a scout could only be truly active in scouts if they attended summer camp. 50% of the registered members of the troop were there anyway, but I thought it was an interesting proposition.

 

Vicki

 

 

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It finally dawned on me why the National OA Comm. doesn't come down on Shawnee about its veto rule. The lodge loses a potential member by having the SM doing the veto after the election rather than keeping a scout off the ballot. If the SM kept a scout off the ballot the lodge would potentially have more members. Again, a rather small group out of the 3 scout camps.

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The OA's Guide for Officers and Advisers, which spells out the complete rules and procedures for elections, defines active as a "Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who carries a current national membership card and participates in at least some unit activities during the year." It even mentions that a boy who went off to college but still participates in the occassional unit meeting or goes camping when he's in town counts as active.

 

It is up to the Scoutmaster to determine how many registered boys in the unit are active, but not determine the criteria for "active". The quote about the Scoutmaster determining who is active could be read either way though, so it is indeed vague. But the full rules and procedures are not.

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Membership requirements (page 6 of the current OA handbook) state: "Youth must be under the age of 21, hold the BSA First Class rank or higher, and foolowing approval by the Scoutmaster or Varsity Coach, be elected by the youth members of their troop or team." The time for a veto is before the election. The SM was probably hoping the scout wouldn't be elected so he wouldn't have to make a decision he would have to back up later.

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