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District Associate to replace District Executive?

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Our council recently announced a "new district structure" in which the six districts in the council will not each have their own DE, but rather the council will be split into two "service areas" (three districts each, based on geography) and each service area will be served by four "executives" each dealing with a different subject area.  Here is a little more detail from the recent council newsletter:

 

 

 

We are NOT merging districts; we are simply putting them into 2 Service Areas.  This will provide each district with four executives to address its needs. Each executive will have a different specialty, and each executive will provide their specialty to all districts in their Service Area.  The 4 major “specialties†cover: Membership, Unit Service, Program and Development.  In addition, each Service Area will be led by an experienced field director who will provide guidance, training, and support to the specialty executives.  The field director for each Service Area will also have responsibilities to the district chairman and district commissioner in each of their 3 districts.

 

Now, it calls the people "executives" but I can't help but wonder, in light of this thread, whether the "executives" will actually be District Associates (a term that is not used in the newsletter).  I would be surprised if the two things were not related to each other.  I did go on our council web site and found that the directory for my district currently lists a Field Director, District Chair and District Commissioner, with no DE.  (We did lose our DE a few months ago and have been waiting to hear of a replacement; perhaps there will not be one, at least as DE.)  Some other districts do have DE's or DD's listed.  I see no mention of a District Associate in any district - but as the newsletter said, this is going to be phased in over the next year.

 

I guess my question (somewhat rhetorical in this forum) is what are they going to do with the existing DE's, Senior DE's and DD's?  Are they going to "demote" them into this 4-person-per-three-districts structure?  Are they going to change their titles to District Associate?

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I was in the Northern Star Council last weekend, and they are doing something similar to what NJCubScouter's Council is doing.  The difference is that they are splitting into two person teams, each covering two Districts.  I believe one was going to focus on membership, the other on program.  They had new position names, but off the top of my head I don't recall what they were.

 

Personally, I'm curious how moves such as this will help with the amount of time they spend working.  In our Council, if we had two DEs teamed up to serve two districts, the amount of geographical space covered by the two districts would be quite large.  I would think that unless they start hiding out in the office all day that the amount of travel time they incur would go way up.  Is there some loophole that allows the Council to not count time spent traveling to a site?

 

In any case, I think the amount of work that is going to fall on the District Committee and Commissioners is going to go way up.  Even though this judge has suspended the rule (pending an appeal, no doubt), most organizations are already so far along in planning that I don't see them dropping their plans now on the chance that this injunction might hold up to an appeal.

 

I do find it very curious how many different ways we've seen Councils handling this issue.  Some are charging Council dues, some are teaming DEs up to cover larger areas but focus on specific aspects of the job, some are asking their DEs to cap their hours, and some are giving their employees raises.  That's just the four ways I know about, I'm sure there might be more ideas floating around out there.

 

Edit, found a link explaining their approach:  http://www.northernstarbsa.org/staffing-changes-at-nsc

Edited by meyerc13

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I looked back at the announcement from my council and it also says this (the bolded portion is what is relevant but I am including the entire paragraph for context):
 
 

The council’s new structure will increase the number of professional staff, and significantly change the organization and roles of our professional Scouters.  It will also change who our volunteers go to for support, depending on the function.

 
An increase in the number of professional staff (which presumably includes the new District Associates) does not seem to fit in with the whole cost-cutting theme here... unless the salary of the new DA's (that is usually an abbreviation for something else, in my line of work) is so much less than the DE's that you can have more of them for less, or for the same amount.  Of course, the "increase" could be by one position, so it may not be that big a gap to make up.  Still, it is all somewhat puzzling, and it leaves unanswered my earlier question of what they are going to do with existing DE/SDE/DD's.  They say it is going to be one-year phase in, but is there going to be enough attrition to take care of all these people in one year?  Multiplied by all of the other councils that are presumably going to go through something similar?  If (and this is just my speculation based on what I am seeing) the idea is to have DA's reporting to a Field Director and nothing in between, there are only so many FD positions to go around. I suppose the BSA could offer an "early retirement package" to increase the rate of attrition, but I don't know whether the BSA ever does that (calling @@Eagle94-A1 ) and it does not fit in with the whole cost-cutting theme, at least not in the immediate-term.

 

(Just as an aside, based on years of reading posts by current and former professional Scouters in this forum, and knowing what happened to a couple of pros in my council, my suspicion is that the BSA's "early retirement package" is something like, "We no longer have a position for you, goodbye and good luck."  Hopefully my impression is inaccurate.)

 

(And another aside:  The information I mentioned above from my council's web site suggests that in addition to whatever the FD's do now, which I assume is supervising the professionals in their districts, their job is going to be expanded (with no extra $ ?) to include being a point of contact for the volunteer members of the Key-3 for 3 districts.  And, I suspect, a portion of the unit Scouters who would have called the DE with a question or concern will now call the FD (whose name is right there on our district web site, and the official phase-in hasn't even started yet) rather than try to figure out which one of 4 subject-matter brand-new DA's is the right one to call.  I am sure the FD's are pleased with that, he said sarcastically.)

Edited by NJCubScouter

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My oldest council can't find people to take the jobs they have open.  The few who sign on leave quickly.  Fewer paid staff who are paid more might work better.

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My oldest council can't find people to take the jobs they have open.  The few who sign on leave quickly.  Fewer paid staff who are paid more might work better.

 

I've never understood that.  I'd love to be a professional scout.  One of my biggest ambitions at one time.

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I've never understood that.  I'd love to be a professional scout.  One of my biggest ambitions at one time.

1000s of openings.  Do it.  

 

60-70 hrs/wk - or more

Almost all work with adults

Main job raising money to pay your salary.

10-12 yrs until chance of promotion to middle management

Great pension plan when you get there

But at least the pay is low

Edited by TAHAWK

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1000s of openings.  Do it.  

 

60-70 hrs/wk - or more

Almost all work with adults

Main job raising money to pay your salary.

10-12 yrs until chance of promotion to middle management

Great pension plan when you get there

But at least the pay is low

 

It would still be worth it to me.  I've always wondered what they start out at.

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1000s of openings.  Do it.  

 

60-70 hrs/wk - or more

Almost all work with adults

Main job raising money to pay your salary.

10-12 yrs until chance of promotion to middle management

Great pension plan when you get there

But at least the pay is low

 

And even beyond the statistics, most of the former DE's on here have indicated in various ways that for all their hard work, no time with their families, low pay, they generally got treated like, um, dirt.  Yes, that's the Scoutlike word for it.  I also recall some talk that being in that position tends to wreak a heavy toll on a marriage.

 

This is just an anecdote and not scientific data, but my district has had 10 or so DE's in the past 15 years, and the BEST one (in the opinion of myself and other unit Scouters who I have spoken with at district events) was a guy who, after however many years in the DE/SDE/DD cycle, decided he needed to have a little more stability and took a position in the Scout Shop in the council office.  Some stability, he got caught up in a round of layoffs and found himself, in his late 40s I would estimate, without any job at all.  I don't know whether he got a job with another council or not.  I do know that our council's chance to give a good man a rest for a few years and then bring him back into the "direct line" (maybe as an FD) is probably gone.

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I've never understood that.  I'd love to be a professional scout.  One of my biggest ambitions at one time.

 

To quote the Ninth Doctor, " RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!"

 

As a former DE, I can tell you it is extremely stressful, no matter where you go. And if you get a lousy boss amplify your worst nightmare a 100 fold. In the 22 months I was a DE, my council went through 9 DEs, a field director and finance director (both middle managers). I stayed around for 6 months before going to national supply, and they went through an additional 3 or 4 DEs.  My replacement was one of those who left within 3 months.

 

Shortest term as a DE was about 2-3 weeks. Guy was in the emergency room with the neighbor who brought him. Neighbor call the Director of Field Service ( #2 guy in council) and t the DFS what was up. The DFS told the neighbor to tell the DE to come to the staff meeting or get fired.  DE quit over the phone.

 

In my case, I was having stress related health issues. But the deciding factor was when my wife of 2 months told me I had to pick: her or the job.

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  I also recall some talk that being in that position tends to wreak a heavy toll on a marriage.

 

I told you the ultimatum my wife gave me.  One long time pro I worked with was married to wife #3. After I quit, I found out she separated from him within a year.  2 coworkers got divorced because of the hours. One of my DEs told me the reason his wife divorced him was the job. By the time he did something about it, it was too late. Once divorced, he came back.

 

Worst story was a DE I had who put his wife through law school. As soon as she graduated and passed the bar, he was served divorce papers.

 

On the flip side, if you are young and SINGLE ( emphasis)  it can be a great starter job. You will gain a heck of  lot of experience. One friend left the profession, and  doubled his salary. My coworkers are dumbfounded by some of the things I did as a DE.

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Worst story was a DE I had who put his wife through law school. As soon as she graduated and passed the bar, he was served divorce papers.

 

That's not good.  That sort of thing is not inherent in being a professional Scouter, however.  Anyone can marry the wrong person.  I went to law school with a woman who had made a deal with her husband, he would put her through law school and after she graduated, she would put him through medical school.  One guess what happened shortly after she graduated.  (Fairly obvious, otherwise I wouldn't be telling the story.)  I suppose it's a matter of perspective as to which of those stories is "worse", but neither one is very good.

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True. I say the law school divorce was worst because it came completely out of the blue. The others had some inclinations as they were having problems, and in one case, the DE gave up the job to work on the marriage only to still have it fall apart. Even my wife was giving me signs of frustration with the job before the ultimatum.

 

Long story short, I do not wish the job on my worse enemy,

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As a Catholic school teacher, I don't earn more than a DE.  I work pretty long hours and I don't get paid overtime. I do, however, get to spend much of that time working directly with kids, ...and that has made all the difference.

Edited by David CO

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I worked professionally a long time ago within a council.  Working with kids was never a part of the job.

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My old DE, who is now a FD in another council made this comment about the rule change and the judge's blocking it: how many DE's have already either lost their job, or received notice that they will be losing their job, over the executive order?

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