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David CO

What does the CO own?

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What does the CO own? I once asked this question and got an answer, "You own the liability, BSA owns the rest". I think he was joking.

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First there is no one answer. Some are going to tell you the CO owns everything, not true or coulf be 100% true.

 

The answer lies in the laws of the state that you are located in. To get a good answer ask an attorney in your local area.

 

Do not take the answer that the CO owns everything cause it just ain't so.

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The CO owns the unit. The IH selects a COR to rep him. CC and SM are a team that work together to create a program and they work for the COR. COR has the ability to approve and disapprove leaders, remove existing leaders, and create policy within the unit. One example is that my IH has mandated that all pack activities end in a prayer.

 

The COR also represents the IH and CO on the district committee and council committee, with a vote on both. yes they have a major say in the policies that affect their units. However I count only 1 COR who has actually done that in my 15 years of working on the district committee level.

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Yep...what eagle92 says.

 

The CO is granted a charter by the local council to use the BSA program for its own needs as part of the program for its members which includes approving and recruiting leaders and supervising all other aspects of running the unit. Further, there are easily found documents on the web that encourage a unit's bank accounts to use the EIN (tax id) number of the CO. To say that the CO doesn't own the unit is plainly incorrect.

 

To think of it another way, a Scout unit chartered to a Rotary Club is not very different organizationally than a Sunday School program run by a local church.

 

In practice, however, a CO all too often doesn't live up to what its agreed to in its charter agreement with the local Council and the CO itself doesn't know or care that it really does own the unit.

 

I'm a COR for 5 units (3 Packs and 2 Troops) chartered by a Kiwanis Club. Before I joined, we were definitely one of those hands-off COs. Still a work in progress, but the relationships (in both directions) are better now that there's at least one person in the Club that has an idea of the actual responsibilities on both sides of the relationship.(This message has been edited by AlFansome)

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I am not a lawyer and don't know the legal definition of "ownership". But, what I do know is that if a unit, such as a Troop, wishes to change their CO they need a letter from the outgoing CO allowing them to take with them: all their troop camping gear, equipment, material, supplies, etc; their troop funds and their numeral.

 

A CO can dictate who can join a unit, both youth and adult. It can also dictate how the program is run - meetings ending with a prayer, etc. It's not common, but I have heard of one or two COs that do it.

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Is there anything in particular you're wondering about and why? Usually the question comes up because a unit is failing and the leaders of the unit want to merge with another unit and take everything with them. In general, the CO owns everything, including the equipment and the funds in the bank account - especially if the funds and equipment purchased with raised funds are raised under the CO's tax identification number. Unless the CO is dissolving the unit, everthing (pinewood derby track, tents, stoves, dutch ovens, even the library of merit badge pamphlets) belongs and stays with the unit. If the CO is dissolving the unit, then the Charter Agreement comes in to play - I'd be very surprised if the Charter Agreement doesn't contain some kind of clause requiring/requesting that all equipment and funds of the unit, if dissolved by the CO, be transferred to the BSA. Even then, State law could be written/interpreted in such a manner that such a clause is not enforceable. If the volunteers are "dissolving" the unit, the unit doesn't really go away until the CO gives up the unit, or the right to have a charter. The CO may bid the volunteers fare-thee-well and try to re-boot the unit. Advantage to the CO since they keep all the money and equipment (and yes, the CO could come after the other unit if the old leaders get clever and transfer "Scout account" money to the new unit - The Scouts may have raised the money, but since no one can individually benefit financially from non-profit fundraising, and if you're using your CO's TIN, then that money technically and legally belongs to the CO to distribute. Hopefully, you maintain a good relationship with the CO and they'll be willing to allow such a transfer, but if not, CO's ownership trumps.)

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CalicoPenn,

 

I may have misunderstood what you said. I have heard leaders refer to "Scout accounts" before and assumed that this is some sort of prepayment made by Scouts/parents, like a lunch account at the school cafeteria. Am I wrong?

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David,

 

In a perfect world, that's exactly what a Scout Account should be (in my opinion). More like an Xmas Club account where a Scout deposits a small amount of money every week or month to be put towards the cost of a future trip (like summer camp, or Philmont) or future Scouting need. I fully advocate the use of this kind of Scout account - it fits perfectly in line with the point of the Scout Law that reads "A Scout is Thrifty" - and as the funds really are the Scouts, when the Scout leaves the unit, he gets the funds.

 

Unfortunately, more and more units deposit a share of Fundraising moneys into a Scout Account, while never collecting any funds from the Scouts (driven, in my opinion, by parents who insist that their children be compensated in some way for their fundraising work). For instance, a Boy Scout sells $900 worth of popcorn and the unit "deposits" $150 of the unit's share into the Scout's account because "he earned it". It is these kinds of Scout Accounts I am referring to. It could be argued that the Scout is being personally enriched by the fundraising, and this could cause all kinds of problems. A unit is much better off using unit funds to fully pay for some trips, or providing camperships to Scouts.

 

 

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If the CO dissolves a unit, then that unit no longer exists - it's charter is dropped. All of the units things and money belong to that CO, no matter what.

 

A dissolved unit does not "move" to a new CO. A new unit is formed under a new charter. It most cases, the CO of the dissolved unit gives written permission to transfer the things, money and numeral over to the new CO.

 

If permission is not given, the unit cannot legally take it's things, money or numeral with them. For example, the members of a dissolved pack cannot without permission take the pinewood derby track over to the new unit nor take the money out of the dissolved unit's back account. It doesn't matter who decided to dissolve the unit, permission is still needed.

 

The BSA does not own any of a unit's things or money. And, there is nothing in the charter agreement that would state such ownership. The charter agreement is between the BSA and the CO. The members of the unit are not parties to that agreement.

 

 

 

 

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April 14. Tax time. I have my mind on financial statements and inventories.

 

Have I got this right? "Scout accounts" are not accounts, in an ownership sense. They are budget items. They are allocated for a specific use, but are reported the same as other funds.

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David CO-

I wouldn't say that scout accounts are budget items per se, but rather balance sheet entries. They're "owned" (loosely) by the Scout and used to pay for scout expenses (summer camp, outings, dues perhaps). What money goes into these "accounts" is up to the unit. Some put a portion or all of the fundraising proceeds, some may put a portion of the dues in there...up to the unit.

The monies are typically co-mingled in the Troop account and managed via spreadsheet or some other program (like TroopLedger from the TroopMaster folks). So, if the Treasurer reports that there is $4,000 in the Troop's checking account, a note would need to be including saying that of that $4,000 there's $xxx in scout accounts -- or -- that $4,000 is understood by the unit committee to be the net amount after deducting the scout account contents.

Alternately, you could open a 2nd account just to hold the Scout account money, but then lots of transferring back and forth is required.

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That is up to the unit.

 

For most units, if the boy is staying in Scouts, and simply transferring to a different unit, he will be allowed to take his "Scout Account" money with him to the new unit. The old unit will generally mail a check to the new unit, payable to the unit, with a note stating it is for Billy Jones Scout Acct.

 

If the boy is leaving Scouting completely the money stays in the unit.

 

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