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Jake327

Unit Commissioner Conflict

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I am a former CM of a pack, my son has moved on to boy scouts & I moved with him. Our UC was also a den leader, and is currently the advancement chair for the pack. I had alot of problems with the UC changing hats as it suited the UC. Our former CC also had problems in this area. Now the current CM & CC are going through the very same thing. Is there anything that says the UC shouldn't hold a position in the same unit they are UC of?? If not, then why not?? They have lost a couple of boys over a personnal conflict with UC as den leader in another hat switching episode. THere is a ton of examples, but it would make this way too long. Any help???

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Could someone also educate me (hopefully in one or two sentences) as to what exactly a Unit Commissioner does. How many different units does he oversee in a council?

 

Our UC also held a leadership position in our Pack, but I never knew what his UC duties were.

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The Unit Commissioner is a District level leadership position. They act as mentors, resources, liasons (to District/Council) and mediators to their assigned unit's leaders.

 

According to the BSA website for Commissioners, Commissioners must not be registered simutaneously as unit leaders.

 

One of the reasons for this is because they may be called on to mediate leadership disputes within a unit.

 

Though Commissioners may hold a committee position within a unit because they have a son in the unit or have historical ties to the unit, ideally they should not be the Unit Commissioner for that unit.

 

I suggest your CC and CM contact the District Commissioner and request a Unit Commissioner that has no ties to the Unit and just tell him/her your uncomfortable with having a Unit Commissioner who is also active in the unit - this way it isn't a personal thing, just following suggested scout policies. Your current Unit Commissioner should be able to serve other units just fine, just not yours.

 

In my experience, most Unit Commissioners serve 3 to 4 units, usually no more, and the best Commissioners serve a variety of units (a Pack (or 2), a Troop (or 2) and a Crew/Ship (or 2).

 

CalicoPenn

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Or as it sounds in this case, it may be a viable alternative to gently remind the UC that he/she can't hold a unit position since they are the UC. That way the friction within the unit would be lessened.

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Yah, it's also worth remembering that da unit commissioner has no authority within the structure of the unit. So the appropriate response of a CM or den leader to a UC who has become "annoying" is to tell him/her to go away.

 

Most of us who are or have been commissioners know better than this. I'd follow the advice to talk to the district commissioner and have someone else assigned (and in the process, the DC should get the hint that this person needs to be re-trained).

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This is very simple, everyone should follow the rules. You cannot be the UC for your own unit! End of discussion. There are no rules that say a UC cannot be associated with a unit, but you cannot be the UC for your own unit.

 

On the other hand, maybe the unit should listen to this guy. Why does he feel the need to step in and provide his two cents?

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CalicoPenn and/or fotoscout: Please let me know where it says a Unit Commissioner may not be a registered leader in the unit they are assigned? It would help if "on the BSA web site" was not referenced but more detail used.

 

I do know that for those who are a UC, that should be one's primary position.

 

 

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"Commissioners must not be registered as unit leaders." - Chapter 3 of the Commissioner Fieldbook for Unit Service #33621.

 

There is a lot of info about commissioners and unit service on the BSA web site. Click on "Commissioners" in the lower left hand corner.

http://www.scouting.org

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Thanks FScouter for the info from the Commissioners Fieldbook and the link to the scouting.org website.

 

Commissioners may be registered as a committee member for a unit, but as I stated, ideally, they should not then serve as the Unit Commissioner for a unit they may be serving already in another role. There may be Unit Commissioners in places (such as the case stated by the original poster) but that situation is ripe for conflict of interest problems as the Unit Commissioner should be a neutral party where a particular unit is concerned.

 

It's clear that a Commissioner cannot be cross-registered as a Unit Leader (Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Den Leader, ASM, ACM, etc.) since the role of Commissioner is meant to be the primary role for that person, and that isn't possible if one is also a unit leader, though since they can apparently serve on a unit committee, that for the purposes of Commissioner service, committee members aren't considered unit leaders.

 

Not sure if the current commissioner handbooks are any clearer on the issue beyond one can't be a commissioner and a unit leader at the same time. Maybe someone with access to the books themselves can answer?

 

CalicoPenn

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The BSA literature on commissioner service does not lay down a lot of rules. But after reading and learning about the program, it is abundantly clear that a commissioner cannot properly perform his role as friend, BSA representative, prevention doctor, teacher, and counselor if he is part of that unit. The conflicts Jake mentioned in the first post prove the point.

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I am a Unit Commissioner as well as being ASM.

I work with 11 units currently but not with my own unit. It simply isn't a good idea to UC with your own unit or with a Pack that feeds your troop. There may be times you have to step on toes and maybe not make people happy. It is simply to much to ask that you do that within your own unit.

One problem with Unit Commissioners it getting anyone to step up and do the job. OUr District has 44 units and we currently have 3 commissioners. I try to contact each unit I have every month. But will have to admit that I can't go visit each one. I work hard with the units that are having problems. But all the leaders with my units know that all they have to do is call or e-mail me and I will do what ever it takes to help them.(This message has been edited by Lynda J)

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acco40, you are in all likelihood correct that the BSA literature does not explicitly mention serving as a UC in your own unit.

 

The chapter and verse cited by FScouter is interpreted locally as meaning that Commissioners cannot be registered at a Top Leader. Many of our Commissioners also serve as leaders and committee people in local units. In an ideal world it would be nice to have our commissioners focused only on commisssioner work. The sorry fact is that we just don't have enough good people to go around.

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CalicoPenn wrote

The Unit Commissioner is a District level leadership position. They act as mentors, resources, liasons (to District/Council) and mediators to their assigned unit's leaders.

Could you be more specific? What instances would they have to mediate? What is diffreence between UC and DC? What then is purpose of a DE?

At what point in BSA history did these positions appear?

Five years as Den leader, CM and CC I never met a UC and probably glad I never did. ronvo

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ronvo, it is unfortunate that you never saw your UC. I hope the explanation is that your unit had no UC assigned (due perhaps to a shortage of UCs), rather than having a UC who did not actively visit his or her units.

 

My experience as a TDL, CC and WDL in two different Packs pretty much echoes yours: I never saw our UC (except perhaps at FOS time).

 

I am now a UC myself and I try the best I can to visit my units once a month. With five packs and a troop, that's not always easy to do, as I am also an ASM in my son's troop (in a different district, so I am not UC for his troop).

 

In any event, here's a link to Commissioner Fast Start that may answer some of your questions about what Commissioners do, and the relationship between the UC, DC and DE:

 

http://www.alohacouncilbsa.org/CommissionerFastStart/

 

It doesn't discuss the history of the position, but my understanding is, the Commissioner Corps and unit service has been around from the beginnings of the Scouting Movement.

 

Finally, if you never see your UC, contact your District Commissioner and ask them which UC is assigned to your unit. Then invite that person to attend your next Pack Meeting or Committee Meeting.

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Thanks for the link.

So the UC isn't just a busy boody who wishes to interfere in the unit. And so if we have dedicated UCs and DCs whay do we need DEs?

 

Not trying to be argumentative - just really trying to understand the monster.

 

ronvo

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