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SCOUTER30

DESPERATE...Need input and support on serious retaliation by Council

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Hello folks!

 

I am not new to Scouting (31 years experience) but am new to this forum. As matter of fact, I usually do not participate in online forums, but decided to take a chance with my fellow Scouters. This may be a long post, but at this point we are in a very bad situation. I apologize if some statements are somewhat vague for fear that someone from my Council will continue to retaliate.

 

My wife is currently in a personal lawsuit against our Council for disability discrimination and unlawful and criminal actions taken against her by the adults involved in our local OA Chapter in 2006. These charges involved serious health and safety issues, physical maltreatment, extremely innappropriate language directed at her on the part of the Chapter Advisor and his underlings in front of youth and much, much more. She has two attorneys that are working diligently because of the nature of the incidents.

 

With that said, many, many, many incidents of personal retaliation have occurred on the part of the SE, DE & FD, to date. This disgusting retaliation and retribution have now been targeted directly at out Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers as we have a Pack, Troop & Crew.

 

Witin the last month, the DE and FD met with our Chartered Org on multiple days. (The Troop is 50 years old, Pack is 35 years old and Crew is 6 years old) and agressively pressured them and encouraged them to NOT recharter all three units. They went to them with a former adult member of the Troop who was previously removed by the CO through the COR for predatory and innappropriate behavior with the youth at the unanimous request of the youth and their parents. What exactly was sid is still a mystery as the DE and FD instructed the CO to "not discuss this" with anyone in the units.

 

While they convinced the CO not to recharter the units, we have a new organization that wants to charter us. The Council has stated that "No way, no how" will those units be rechartered. The DE and FD have now been calling all of our Scouts to encourage them to transfer to other units. The parents ae incensed and are standing firm that they do not want to break up or transfer. We have developed a very close knit Scouting family and no one has related as to why we were broken up, why we won't get a new charter, etc.

 

Last week, the FD came to my home and handed us letters which revoked our membership in the BSA. No reasons given and no appeals process/due process instructions. My wife's attorneys are working hard on their end. As well, we have contacted the Region to request reinstatement and to formally complain about the Council's deplorable actions.

 

The reason for all of this is obvious to us, my wife filed suit against the Council and we must now be punished for it. The story has been on the TV news for several days and is being picked up by both local papers and the AP. While we are quite confident that my wife will prevail in the suit, the Council, which has basically "evicted" us from our "home" is now burning it down so that we have nothing left to come back to when this ends.

 

We have 7 young men working on their Eagle projects and many more climbing the ranks. Our roster was growing steadily right up until the Charter was yanked. Parnts and youth alike have come out in droves to support us and the program but we wonder what else if anything can be done.

 

We are at a loss at this point and so dejected that the organization we have supported and the values we have taught are being so blatantly trampled by the so-called "Professional" Scouters. If any of you knew where these youth were before joining these units, you would understand what a positive impact the program and our family mentality has had on them all. They are now without a unit and without an answer.

 

I apologize for the length of this posting, but we are desperate for any input that you all have to get the Council off of our collective backs and to stop retaliating for the children's sake. There's a lot more, but it would take hours to communicate all the terrible things this Council has done.

 

Thank you all...

 

YIS

 

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To play devil's advocate for a moment...

 

You're here asking for help on how to get the council to back off, for the good of the kids. If you are really in it for the good of the kids, you wouldn't have filed a lawsuit...

 

Seems to me that the Council should have asked you and/or your wife to step aside before they took this step. If that's the case, and you didn't do so, then they're taking steps that are completely within their right to do.

 

Please don't think I'm taking sides or justifying what the Council has done, but without knowing the details, it is hard to believe that there would be this many professional scouters taking these steps in concert just to retaliate.

 

Area would be the appropriate level to appeal to, but I wouldn't expect much.

 

I don't think you have a lot of choices right now with regard to the boys -- if they don't transfer to other units, they're no longer Boy Scouts once recharters are done. I'd hate to see them fall out of the program while the dispute is worked out.(This message has been edited by eolesen)

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By your own statement you are involved in a lawsuit with the council. I am surprised that your attorney did not tell you not to be involved in scouts until it was settled. When one files a suit one needs to accept that a previously friendly relationship is now an adversarial one.

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"The devil is in the details."

Not having or knowing the details does put us (Me!)At a great disadvantage.

From what you have posted.

I'm really sorry that your good Lady feels that the local OA acted in such a bad way.

I wish I could say that SE's, Councils and every part of our organization always got things right.

Sadly, this isn't always the case.

Things don't always go as they should and people do mess up and get things wrong.

Having said that. It has been my experience that most times, when there is a real problem, people in our organization really do want to try and identify the problem and take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

You don't post what steps you and your good Lady have taken to correct the problem?

Of course what did happen, has happened and can't be undone!

While I'm not a lawyer, I do think care has to be taken before we start using words like "unlawful and criminal".

If the actions really were "unlawful and criminal" the police should be called and any decision to prosecute would be up to the people who make them decisions. -The office of the District Attorney?

Of course, not knowing the details, it might well be that there are grounds for a civil suit? If that is the case you do have every right to go ahead and file it.

What follows is some "Eamonn Logic"! It has nothing that will back it up! And only makes sense to me.

My big question is "Who is the Council?"

Sure it might well be a corporation. But to my mind the Council is made up from local volunteers.

We elect the Executive Board (Volunteers.)We support the Council. We are the Council.

Your actions so far (Be they right or wrong, justified or unjustified) Have harmed the Council and the good name of the BSA. Your actions could directly or indirectly cause financial hardship to the Council.

If we really go with the idea that we are the Council? You would be suing yourself! But that might be a bit of a reach!

But looking at it from the Council point of view.

If you were the Council would you want someone who was going to harm the Council as a member?

As of right now. You and your Lady wife are not members. In fact you have no standing in the Council or the BSA. The BSA as a "Private Organization" does not have to provide you with membership. Membership in the BSA is a privilege, that the BSA can grant or take away.

As the CO has opted to not recharter the units. The youth members have no choice but to look for a new unit.

As the BSA has revoked your membership, you can't be involved with any unit, no matter who the CO might be.

While it might sound harsh and seem very unfair, the best thing you can do for the youth members that were part of the program offered by the old CO, would be to encourage them to move on and look for new units.

I'm not familiar with what appeals are open to members who have had their membership revoked. While I'll admit that I have little or no knowledge about this, I do tend to think that when someone has brought the good name of the BSA into disrepute, the BSA does seem to close ranks and the Powers That Be, at the National level will whole heartedly support the decisions made at the local (Council) level.

Of course the details about what really happened might play a big part in all of this?

Eamonn.

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If it's been all over the news and on TV, not sure why we can't discuss it here. Agree with the others, you haven't given enough information for us to form an opinion. And with most issues on this forum, all we get is one side of the story...and we don't even have all of that. But I have to believe that for a COuncil to throw away three units of long tenure and summarily revoke your membership, there MUST be more to the story.

 

 

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I have been unable to find any mention of this on the web, which I would have expected, if the story had been all over the news. Can you provide any indication of where you are so that people might be able to gather a few more details prior to giving advice?

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I have more questions.

 

What did the OA do that was discriminatory and affected health and safety? In my tiny mind, not every activity can or should be adjusted to accomodate everyone.

 

I turn my jaundiced eye to the claim that BSA asked the CO to drop the charters because of your actions. The more expedient thing would be do revoke your memberships which is what they did. Perhaps the CO decided to drop the units because they wanted to distance themselves from the problem.

 

More information, that's what we need. I too searched the news organs to see if I could find the story and found nothing.

 

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FWIW, I didn't find anything remotely like this at all on the news engines either, including AP and Google (which has a fairly deep list of current local news sources). I did see that there were positive moves in Cradle of Liberty's fight with Philadelphia's city council, but nothing on the order of what the original poster wrote about...

 

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Yah, hmmm.... that sounds like it was quite an Ordeal. :(

 

I couldn't find it on any news searches either.

 

Scouter30, yeh might not like da answer I'm goin' to give, but I figure you deserve the straight scoop.

 

There's so much goin' on in your note that it just ain't possible for anybody to sort it out by remote, and clearly too much emotion for you to be objective.

 

I think it is safe to say that filing a lawsuit against an organization is a fairly unfriendly act. Accusing adults of acting criminally (and publicly!) is a very unfriendly act. Under most circumstances, I would expect that to lead to a "forced separation" for a volunteer, who isn't afforded the same protections as an employee under employment law. At the simplest level, it creates a bad conflict of interest for an SE who has a legal and moral duty to vigorously defend the council against your claims, while at the same time trying to provide you with high-quality service. At another level, you forced the SE to choose between your membership and that of the OA chapter leaders whom you accused of wrongdoing. He chose. You lost.

 

And Eamonn's right. If yer wife wins a 6-digit settlement, it comes straight out of youth programs, camp funds, and other scouting monies. We're self-insured for the first $1M, eh?

 

I doubt that reinstatement in the BSA is likely for you and your wife, at least not in the near term. I think that option is closed unless it becomes part of a settlement agreement (or injunctive relief) from the suit, or until a number of years have passed after resolution of the complaint. You can have your attorneys try to pursue the matter on your behalf. I think you should be prepared, though, to never be a BSA volunteer again.

 

If you really care for your unit, I would step graciously aside, and send the SE a very kind note (approved by your attorneys) saying that you received his membership revocation and understand, and that you are withdrawing from all contact with the units in question. Give others some space to work things out.

 

I can't even begin to guess what the issues are involving the simultaneous termination of 3 units by either the BSA or the CO, so there's just no way to comment, eh? But as a random piece of advice, if the rest of da members really wanted to continue with the BSA, I would then have the folks from the units who are friendly to the council and not part of the fight sit with the FD and the IH of the Chartered Org. and try to work something out.

 

Da other alternatives are just to have the units continue youth programming on their own without BSA materials, or chartering with an alternative like Campfire USA. Nothing says that you have to stay a BSA unit. That keeps the "unit family" together, so to speak.

 

Beavah

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I agree with the rest here there are no details to make or draw any conclusions. I always get suspicious when two people are involved in a pack, troop and a crew all at the same time, where are the other adults in these units? It sounds like this could be an example of some rogue units being run outside of BSA regulations and the council taking the necessary action for the safety of the youth involved. Even if the OA was using improper language, which I seriously doubt, it is hardly something to file a lawsuit over.

 

SCOUTER30 I think this sounds like a fabricated story on your part, you convinently leave out details and has all the makings of a person seriously seeking attention. If this story is true from what you have presented then I would have to side with the council. Sorry but you asked for opinions.

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What I find interesting are the following quotes -

 

"now been targeted directly at out Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers as we have a Pack, Troop & Crew."

 

"We have 7 young men working on their Eagle projects"

 

"Our roster was growing steadily"

 

"Parnts and youth alike have come out in droves to support us and the program"

 

"what a positive impact the program and our family mentality has had on them all"

 

 

Throughout the entire post is OUR and WE HAVE - These are not YOUR units. This is NOT YOUR PROGRAM! Why would "parents and youth alike" have to "come out in droves" to support "the program"? What program? The BSA program? Why would the BSA program need support against the BSA? What, exactly, is your "family mentality"?

 

 

And finally -

 

"The reason for all of this is obvious to us, my wife filed suit against the Council and we must now be punished for it."

 

Why would you think that what is happening with the units and the Scouts was done SIMPLY to PUNISH YOU?? That is putting yourselves on quite a pedestal.

 

Revoking a Charter is BIG stuff, revoking THREE Charters is even bigger. It is not done as a punishment to an individual. Interrupting even one boy's Scouting trail is not done on a whim, much less as a punishment to an adult individual. Interrupting THREE UNITS worth of boys Scouting trails is done even less lightly.

 

It sounds to me like there is a LOT of a back story to this.

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I'm going to have to side with my fellow forum members.

Too vague on the details to make an educated opinion.

 

 

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I have no legal experience. But, once you and your wife brought legal action against the council, it seems to me that both of you should have severed all ties to the organization. Continuing to volunteer for the organization you're sueing seems to carry a great conflict of interest. It certainly seems that continuing to volunteer would also hurt the chances of your lawsuit. Did your lawyer recommend that you stop volunteering for the BSA? I'd sure think that recommendation would have been made.

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...If it looks like a duck,

Smells like a duck,

walks like a duck...

 

...its probably a duck.

 

Until I see anything that really substantiates this as a true and bonafide situation (nobody has so far), I don't think it is anything but ...bait.

 

I am not biting.

 

Peace.

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