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SR540Beaver

Troop Account Questions

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My son and I are new to our Troop. Only been there for a month. I attended my first Troop Committee meeting last night. Mon oh man, what a doozey! My experinece with the Troop is that the adults like each other, are committed to the program and play well together. The meeting went very well......until the treasurer's report. I had never seen her before. She was high strung, defensive and paranoid. She had a recommendation to the committe regarding our fundraising money collection. Instead of people writing checks to the Troop, she wanted people to write checks to the parents of the Scout. The parents could deposit the checks into their personal account and write the troop a single check. Her reasoning was two fold. Out of all the checks we had taken in, one bounced. It cleared the second time the bank tran it thru, but we were saddled with a fee from the bank. She wanted to lessen the financial exposure to the Troop by having the parents assume it. The other reason was that the Troop account is a business type account wit hthe bank and they charge us .05 cents per deposited item. If we deposited 15 checks instead of 300 checks, we could reduce our charges.

 

As you can imagine, there was discussion held on the topic. Not heated, not ugly. Just discussion. Discussion like, we are a non-profit organization, why do we have a business account with those kinds of charges? Won't writing a check to an individual keep some people from buying from a boy because of different scams they have heard of? Questions like that.

 

She claims that she has talked to the bank about switching to a different kind of account and they told her that she has the right type of account. Also, she likes the bank, they are convenient, give good service and therefore does not want to switch to another bank. As far as having people write checks to the parents, that is what she had experienced in Girl Scouts and it worked fine and didn't hurt sales.

 

In the midst of the discussion, she jumped up, knocking her chair over, picked up her notebooks and money bags and threw them across the table at the Chairman. She proceeded to scream at the Chairman about how she was a coniving, controlling snot, she had had enough and she quit. She then said how since the Chairman had taken the position, she hated the troop and was calling the Council to report her. I'm sad to say that our new Unit Commisioner was there for a visit and witnessed the whole thing. It was ugly. The worst part was that the boys were meeting about 10 feet away from us with just a 3/8" folding/expanding wooden wall stretched between us. Of course, they heard the whole thing. To make matters worse, the Treasurer is the Scoutmaster's wife and SPL's mother.

 

I probably didn't need to provide so much history as it really has nothing to do with my questions.....other than to give context to the questions. They are:

 

What "type" of checking account does you unit have?

 

Do you require people to write checks to the Scouts parents or allow them to write them to the Troop?

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We have a standard business checking account. We are never charged if a check we deposit bounces.

 

As far as having the checks made payable to the Scouts, I have never heard of that! All checks we collect for ANYTHING are made payable to the Troop!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I'm not sure what sort of checking account we have but I do know that we don't pay any fees for deposits. If a check bounces, the law permits you to pass on those fees to the check writer.

 

Something is a bit fishy. When I was in collge, my checking account would spend much of its time near zero. If a check bounced and was automatically redeposited and cleared the second time, there were never any fees involved on either side.

 

 

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Something does indeed smell a bit fishy. There are several issues raised in this original post.

 

I have heard of some banks that charge fees for deposits made with a human teller, but that is very rare. A fee of 5 cents per deposited item is very stiff. I shall return to this subject.

 

While there is no guidance from BSA on this subject, it is not a good idea to have the treasurer in the same household as either the scoutmaster of committee chair. Was the scoutmaster/husband present for this display? What did he have to say about it?

 

Is your account a dual signature account? It should be. BSA does not require this, but it is a very good idea.

 

I do not think it is a good idea to have payments for items sold in a fund raiser made to the parents of the boys making the sales. This can only create more headaches, more difficult book keeping, controversy, and also temptation. A single bounced check is not a reason to go for this extreme a solution.

 

Most banks, even very big banks, give their branch managers a great deal of latitude in some areas. Besides differences in fee structures the primary difference in the accounts is what kind of tax ID number is on the account. It would be useful to know the answer to this question. It should be the tax ID of the chartered organization. In some instances local BSA councils have allowed their tax IDs to be used for this purpose. If it is an individual's social security number, as would be required for a personal account, then that creates different problems. If you really have a business account, you most likely are using something other than a personal social security number.

 

This matters because it can affect who can claim ownership of the account. It also affects how you go about changing signatories on the account.

 

Your chairman needs to be encouraged to deal with this in a forthright manner. If the treasurer has really resigned, your chair along with the chartered organization representative need to contact the bank to arrange changing signatories. This will get your outgoing treasurer off of the account which presumably would be a very good thing. It also provides an opportunity to learn directly about the fee question, and negotiate a different deal.

 

In closing, it may be that your outgoing treasurer has a great deal else going on in her life that has affected her behavior. If this is true she may welcome the relief. On the other hand, there may be something even more unpleasant going on that caused the defensiveness and outburst. When was this account last audited or reviewed by the committee?

 

Good luck.

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We also have a business account, as I understand it. Neither do we pay deposit fees, or fees for other people's bounced checks. I can tell you that all checks are made out to the Troop.

 

As a parent, I would strongly resist being made to handle checks for my son's fundraising efforts privately. I don't want any legal liability attached to me should financial matters not go right for some reason.

 

I agree with FOG - something's fishy. What's behind her behavior? (high-strung, defensive, paranoid, tantrum) What's the real root of her request? There's something more than meets the eye here.

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I can't really give you much more detail than I have. As I said, my son and I are two days short of a month being with the troop. The Committee Chair and her son just crossed over back in November. So whatever has caused the Treasurer to dislike the Chair must have happened in that short time frame. I'm not in a position to take sides, but I will say that everything I know of the Chair is good. Her husband is one of our ASM's and he is the District Training Chair. They are both Unit Commisioners. I first met them when I took NLE when I was with my son's Pack. She was in my Wood Badge course. We went with them to Webelos Woods last fall. They are both very devoted to scouting and and to a boy led unit. The Chair's husband served as the acting SM for our Troop while our SM was in Iraq. Last night was his first back with the Troop. I agree that the SM's wife shouldn't be the Committee Chair or Treasurer. Sometimes in real life it is unavoidable if you can't get other people to step up. The SM was with the boys when the "show" took place. But like I said, there was only a 3/8" wood wall between us and the boys; so he heard her explode. My son walked to the truck with me asking what in the world happened in there? I honestly have no idea what this woman's problem is. It is purely conjecture on my part, but I think maybe several factors are contributing to it. Her husband was in a war zone with the DoD. He has been the SM for a number of years. The Committee Chair and acting ASM "ascended" to "power" immediately upon arriving in the troop. In fact, they crossed their son over early because no one would step up to be acting SM and he was asked to. So they left their Pack early to come help. I get the feeling that the Treasurer liked their positions of authority, she seems to be a controlling person who does not like to be questioned and she felt threatened by the "change" in leadership. Besides myself, there were two other new leaders from our old Pack who had crossed over a month ago. I think it is too much change for her to handle. Again, that is me reading between the lines with little to no history to actually go on. But I'm a fairly perceptive person.

 

Now a little history on me. I've worked in the banking/savings & loan/credit union industry for almost 25 years. I've dealt with credit unions that had two part time employees up to huge regional banks with 10's of thousands of employees. The type of account that charges you for deposited items is the kind that a Wal-Mart has. They are charged based on volume. When you are depositing 10's of thousands of checks from a single store on a daily basis, the bank charges you based on volume. You don't give a Troop this kind of account. I personally know the man who owns the bank where our Troop account is at. I've got queries into some of his folks to find out what our options are for switching our account. The bank that I am currently contracted to gave me a free acount for my son's baseball team a few years ago. I know it can be done.

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Always have checks payable to the troop.

 

If your being charged for deposits either get that removed or switch to a different bank.

 

If she did quit get the signatures changed. Hopefully you have someone else's name for the signatures (On our troop account the BS treasurte and the CS treasures signatures are valid) Don't ever just have 1.

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Out Troop and Pack accounts are with the local bank. They offer free accounts to non-profits.

 

Sound like a quick change of treasurer to me, or better yet close the old account and have the treasurer open a whole new account with a better deal. This gets rid of any problems of mail and statements and cost only a few dollars to accomplish. We have always done the open close thing on new treasurers

 

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The pack that I used to serve in as Cubmaster is in the small town in which I live.

The Bank President has two Lads in the program and serves on the District Committee. The Bank offers free checking to all the Scout Units, but there is a fee for bounced checks.

Her Who Must Be Obeyed was the pack treasurer, before I joined the pack and only stepped down last year.

The account was in the name of the pack and the chartered organization. Details of income, expense and balance were given at each committee meeting and if the charter rep. Wasn't at the meeting a copy of the report was mailed to him. He sat on the parish council and would report to them.

The checks needed two signatures and there were three committee members allowed to sign no leaders were allowed to sign checks.

At times some people would make a check out to the family of the Scout for pop corn or some other fund raiser. In most cases the family would deposit that check and just make one out to the pack.

At on one time the bank did try charging for deposits made on our business account, but I think due to all the competition in banking it didn't last very long. Even the charges on credit card deposits was cut by a huge amount.

It does sound as if this poor woman is not taking her meds? While there is no hard and fast rules on what to do I would suggest that the Unit account is with the same bank as the chartered organization banks with.

Boy am I glad that I have never attended a meeting like the one you describe.

Eamonn(This message has been edited by Eamonn)

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SR540Beaver,

 

Sounds like you just nominated yourself to be the new treasurer.

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eisley,

 

Oh no no no no no! I am still currently the Committee Chair and Webelos Den Leader (the leader quit mid-term and no one would step up for my son's old Pack and an ASM in the Troop. I am an ASM for our Council's Jamboree contingent and currently doing recruitment for that. Outside of Scouting, I am the Maintenance Chair on my Home Owners Association's Board of Directors. I'm also an employee, husband and dad. I'm not adding Treasurer to my hobbies any time soon.

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The two signature thing can cause obstructions in some cases. Our Scoutmaster has signature power on the checking account because he makes many of the purchases at the Scout Shop. If he supplies receipts to the treasurer, everyone can tell what he's been buying. If the treasurer gets canceled checks back made out to "Sylvia's House of Whoopie" then we have a problem but how likely is that?

 

Serious embezzlement isn't a concern in our case as it might be with a church because we never have more than a couple grand at a time.

 

 

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The troop that I serve has a policy that checks for fundraisers are made out to the troop and the parents are asked to deposit the cash into their personal account and write a check for that amount to the troop.

 

I agree that an aduit of the troop funds is in order. Our treasurer makes all records available at every commitee and parent meeting.

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Responding to FOG's point:

 

I don't know how many other councils do this, but our council service center will maintain an open account for you. You have to deposit funds in advance, but it enables the authorized leaders to make quick purchases when necessary without advancing their own funds or getting a check ahead of time.

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eisely,

My council service center does this, too. But I must agree with Fat Old Guy. While two signatures is good for security it can be a pain if one of the two isn't around.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

 

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