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Oldscout448

Impeach an SPL?

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Krampus made a comment about an SPL who was so bad at his job the PLC wanted to remove him after a few months.

 

This gives me to wonder;

  Can a patrol "un" elect a PL who is not doing his job?   

 

 Can a troop / PLC do the same to a SPL?

 

Can a SM remove any scout from his troop office ?  When and why should this be allowed / disallowed?

 

I know of only one new SM, a my way or the highway type guy,  who did this to a SPL who dared stand up to him and was "fired" on the spot.  About 15 out of 40 scouts walked out of that troop that year.  Mostly the older scouts.

 

Should we hold to the position " You elected him so you will just have to live the results of your decision"

 

We as scouters should allow scouts a chance to learn, to grow into the role.  Looking back I know my first month or two as SPL was pretty bad.  But at what point are we failing the other scouts by allowing one scout to make campouts a disaster, meetings boring, and scouting generally yucky for everyone under him?

 

I am not talking about a scout who is struggling to do his job, I'm asking about t he scout who refuses to do the job, the one who just doesn't seem to care.

Edited by Oldscout448

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When I was 14 my Troop elected me SPL and I chose a Scout to be my ASPL.  He wasn't the coolest kid and was a bit maladroit, I guess you could say.  So the other Scouts made a lot of chatter about my decision behind the new ASPL's back and I, being a silly teenager suggested I might impeach this Scout.  It got back to him rather quickly and he called me that night in tears.  Rest assured, I NEVER made the mistake of talking about about the Scouts I chose to lead with me ever again.  So, you can understand who I am wary of this word "impeach" when used in conjunction with an SPL.

 

As for a Scoutmaster removing an SPL who was elected by his peers, I would think there would have to a compelling reason why.  Did the SPL threaten the lives of the other Patrols?  If not, I really don't know why the SM should step in to remove him.  This seems like the perfect opportunity to sit down with and counsel this young man so that both his and the SM's vision comes into alignment.  

 

Maybe we just don't have enough information to go on...

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I'd say that if it's a matter of sheer dereliction rather than apparent unsuitability (i.e., the boy is having some difficulties adjusting to the demands of the job), there probably needs to be something a bit more subtle than pushing for a formal ouster of the boy from office by a vote of the PLC or troop. As LeCastor notes, perhaps this is a good opportunity for the SM to sit down with the SPL and find out what's going on. Did he lose interest in the job, in Scouting? Does he feel that he's not adequate to the position and so is choosing not to fulfill his duties out of insecurity? Is there some other issue involved? The SM could encourage and counsel the boy so that maybe he can be guided toward rising to the demands of the office. If not, the SM might simply ask that the boy resign and let his ASPL take over if he is unwilling to do the work. That way you could avoid the drama and potential turmoil within the troop of having the boys try to oust one of their own from office. And if the boy resigns of his own volition, he may feel less like he got a raw deal from the troop.

Edited by archimago
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I personally think that the better rule would to not have a set troop rule at all.  If the boys want to call a new election 2 weeks in, I'd say its your troop.  What does your handbook say about it?

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In my troops the boys select their patrols without any adult intervention other than the patrols should be 6-8 boys.  There are no elections, the boys decide anyway they want who's going to be PL, APL, patrol scribe, QM, etc.  I stay out of it.  Whoever gets selected to lead stays there as long or as short as the boys decide and the leader decides.

 

Because of this I do not have any popularity contests, no whining about someone not dong their jobs, no questions ask as to whether or not they fulfilled their POR, etc.  

 

At first there was a bit of movement from one patrol to the next until buddies settled in.  The good leaders got PL and after that it settled down.  As long as the patrol members were happy with whom they selected, I as SM really don't care.

 

Only had one incident in all the years of SM, and only one boy stepped down willingly at my insistence.  I have mentioned the details on that incident on the thread in the past.  As it turned out, the boy found a better position in the troop he liked better anyway and things worked out nicely.

 

Can a Webelos cross over be selected PL and stay until he ages out in that patrol?  In my troop... yes. 

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"A scout who refuses to do his job" is not holding his position. There is nothing to be impeached about.

 

If I say "Take care of your boys." And a PL says, "That's stupid! No way am I doing that!" On the day he says it he no longer holds that position. The day a boy takes that to heart, no matter the patch on his sleeve is the day he assumes that position.

 

Fact is. I've never met a scout like that.

- I met scouts that are coached poorly and perform accordingly.

- I met scouts who don't listen too well and perform accordingly.

- I met scouts who are a little lazy and selfish and it comes back to bite them.

- I met scouts who don't understand leadership and go all drill instructor, and become the brunt of jokes for years after, bless them.

 

No, a patrol or troop doesn't have a "right" to impeach boys like that. They do have the right to ask them to do better or leave.

Most boys shape up. Some realize they are in over their head, and pass the baton to the guy who they think is ready for the job. A few months later they come back ready to serve, if needed.

Accuse me of having a low bar. But if you are performing your position a little better each month from the day you started, I'm happy. And really, most of the boys are happy too.

Boys who don't improve leave their position on the table. Most of the time they find a position that suits them. Sometimes they quit scouting.

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The SM vs SPL to which I referred was about 15 years back.   So the problem is not current. In a nutshell the SM was acting as the worlds oldest PL. he would come to the PLC meetings with copies of the next months meeting and camping schedules,and locations that he had decided on and hand them out. No input was asked or accepted from the scouts.  He ran the troop meetings, forbid patrols to have meetings or activities on their own.  The SPL was sacked because he kept insisting that running the troop was his job.   wanna guess who the SM appointed as SPL??  Hint, they had the same last name.  But there was a great deal of conflict at the next scouter meeting,  Two ASMs, both eagles,with sons who were almost eagles, resigned.   

 The CC sided with the SM saying as SM he had the power to hire and fire at will. The troop shrank to a handful of scouts, until the 

committee finally booted him out.

That never sat well with me, I can see if there was some overriding safety issue,  like the Spl bringing a bottle of booze or shooting off bottle rockets, on a campout. But not just because they disagree.  I've never seen any clear cut data on this in any of the limited training I have done.  So I guess i'm asking here

 

Oldscout

 

ps. Qwazse, just read your last post,  good advice,  I think I'll print that and thumbtack it over my desk.

Edited by Oldscout448

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Scouts do not serve at the pleasure of the SM. 

 

And once again we are discussing the POR that causes the most problems in the troops.  SPL's who are given the right to run the troop.  They get elected on popularity and the troop suffers for the next 6 months, the adults fall all over themselves trying to get this kid to do something, he doesn't, he doesn't get signed off, complains to mommy and daddy, who step in with their 2-cents worth, everyone gets made, half the troop quits.

 

It's the same old story with different names inserted to protect the not-so-innocent.

 

And then people wonder why I don't recommend SPL's?.... I don't.  There's no reason an SPL can't iron-fist bully just like a controlling adult SM or an interfering ASM. 

 

And so how do I avoid such hassles?  Don't force an SPL on the troop.  If the PL's want one, they can pick one.  If they don't want one leave the issue alone.  There seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that there HAS to be an SPL!  I have gone without an SPL more often than having one and the times I do have SPL's they were well trained BEFORE they took the office.  A lousy SPL can cause a lot of damage in 6 months and it'll take a lot longer than that to get things back to "normal".

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interesting podcast over at scoutmastercg, his latest one

He talked about this vision that we scouters have........ and sort of around the idea isn't just to not have a vision or direction and just let the boys do what they want.... but that our vision does play some sort of role, just as does the methods, aims, and goals as spelled out in the handbook

I thought of this thread when I was listening to it

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interesting podcast over at scoutmastercg, his latest one

He talked about this vision that we scouters have........ and sort of around the idea isn't just to not have a vision or direction and just let the boys do what they want.... but that our vision does play some sort of role, just as does the methods, aims, and goals as spelled out in the handbook

I thought of this thread when I was listening to it

I didn't hear the podcasts, but I was also thinking along this line.

 

Barry

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@@Oldscout448, I wish that problem was just yours and the last time it happened was 15 years ago.

 

We've had a couple young men wash up on our doorstep for that very reason.

 

Thanks for the kind words, nice to know I lived up to that "Advisor" patch. The next time some venturer talks back to me, I'll warn him/her to not take my advice lightly, 'cause out on the other side of the Internet, some 448 old scout has my pontifications tacked over his desk.

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Hmmmm, why do the adults have to always be the keepers of the vision, goal, aim of scouting?  Shouldn't the boys have it.  Why is it always assumed that the boys are going to run off on some irrelevant tangent?  Mine never have.  I've never had a patrol decide it would be fun to do sky-diving or even go paint-balling for the afternoon.  If one trains them in the principles and policies of the BSA in the first place, then one doesn't have to worry about it after that.  I don't have to be the keeper of the vision, the boys do well all by themselves.

 

Of course if I'm going to always be the keeper of the vision and goals of scouting, then I'm going to always be the one in control.

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Since my comment sparked this discussion I will add some context.

  • The SPL was pretty popular. He talked a good game and could make a great speech. 
  • He went to NYLT but clearly did not learn how to use any of those techniques for leadership.
  • He missed many camp outs. His ASPLs were equally ineffective.
  • He is a good student well organized with notebooks and binders for all occasions.
  • He had been part of PLCs before so he knew how they ran. He knew what was covered and what had to happen each month.
  • PLCs were a mess. He was trying to be Joe Cool rather than be a leader.
  • No organization. All those binders and no idea how to run a meeting, organize a team, assign responsibilities or build consensus. Make me wonder how much his organization was driven (and managed) by his parents.
  • On camp outs his idea of leadership was sitting in a hammock or chair and telling guys to do stuff or what they were doing wrong.
  • We had SEVERAL meetings with his entire leadership team. We re-walked them through their roles, expectations and processes they needed to follow to do their jobs.
  • We set up a calendar for the rest of their term assigning responsibilities, due dates and duties.
  • We created with the PLC "canned meetings' which were ready-made meetings the SPL or ASPL could run if the planning patrol failed to create their meeting plan.
  • We RE-RAN this SAME workshop for them a month later.
  • Phone calls, meetings, email reminders and the like went with no answer, no response and work just not getting done.
  • Three months in to their term we had a meeting where the leadership team was unprepared for the weekly meeting. I told them they had to either a) come up with a meeting plan and execute on the fly, b) use one of the canned meetings (and make up a new one to take the place of the one you used), or c) tell the troop they messed up, forgot to plan a meeting and send everyone home early. They chose the latter. I made them wait until the last Scout was picked up and we had a lesson's learned meeting.

 It was the camp out after this meeting (which the SPL did not attend) that the PLs and most of the troop wanted to get him out of office. I reminded everyone at the camp fire that night that leadership was a learning process. Sometimes guys do great. Sometimes they fail miserably. We can only hope that we learn more from our failures that from our successes. The message was that we elect our leaders and stick with them. We support them no matter what. Whether it is a president, club leader or SPL, we stick with the person we elected and support them in their charge. If they fail and learn, great. If they fail and blame others the WE need to learn OUR lesson.

 

This Scout, however, did not think the failure was his. He sought to blame school, his peers, the younger scouts; anyone other than himself. His parents supported is delusion. In the end the Scouts saw him for who he was and did not appreciate his poor attitude. His stock dropped. Once thought of as a person who was one of the strongest Scouts, he is now seen as a weak and feeble Scout.

 

Lesson learned...at least by the troop. ;)  The next two leaders have shown just how strong a new group of leaders can develop from the example of one very poor one.

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From the description given, Krampus, it is obvious the SPL was interested only in himself.  At best a mediocre tyrant, at best a patch wearing, card carrying narcissist.  Take care of your boys was not part of his plans for anyone.  Might have been excellent in organizational management skills, but that's where it ended.  No leadership.

 

I guess it all boils down to: is everyone going to have to suffer for the sake of one who doesn't want to learn?  The boy learned failure, the troop learned failure, but one didn't need 5 months time to rub everyone's nose in it.

 

Yes, the troop can sit out the 6 months of stagnation and reduced effectiveness (I wouldn't blame the boys for just staying home until the next election).  However, if the boys are running the troop, why are the adults telling them they have to wait 6 months to correct their problem.  Sounds like the boys wanted to take care of it right then and there.  They gave the boys the opportunity to square up and he didn't take it.  Time to problem solve and the best solution was get a functional SPL in place to get the troop moving again. 

 

All of life is optional, people can vote with their feet anytime they so wish.  When a group knows it is empowered to steer their own destiny, it's not going to bode well for those who interfere.  If push came to shove, I'd back the PL's who stood up to this SPL because they were indeed taking care of and looking out for their boys.

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Scouts do not serve at the pleasure of the SM. 

 

And once again we are discussing the POR that causes the most problems in the troops.  SPL's who are given the right to run the troop.  They get elected on popularity and the troop suffers for the next 6 months, the adults fall all over themselves trying to get this kid to do something, he doesn't, he doesn't get signed off, complains to mommy and daddy, who step in with their 2-cents worth, everyone gets made, half the troop quits.

 

It's the same old story with different names inserted to protect the not-so-innocent.

 

And then people wonder why I don't recommend SPL's?.... I don't.  There's no reason an SPL can't iron-fist bully just like a controlling adult SM or an interfering ASM. 

 

And so how do I avoid such hassles?  Don't force an SPL on the troop.  If the PL's want one, they can pick one.  If they don't want one leave the issue alone.  There seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that there HAS to be an SPL!  I have gone without an SPL more often than having one and the times I do have SPL's they were well trained BEFORE they took the office.  A lousy SPL can cause a lot of damage in 6 months and it'll take a lot longer than that to get things back to "normal".

 

That has never happened in my Troop, and we've always had an SPL for over 20 years.

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