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Tiger Foot

Uncovering financial issues

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Hello all, I've been gobbling up all your advice from my previous posts and trying to implement it.  Now I'm afraid I've uncovered an even more serious situation, and would welcome more advice.  I'll try and keep it brief and drama free.

It appears our accounts are short by a little less than a thousand dollars.

I know some of this money has been spent inappropriately by the CM I have now replaced.

I was not aware of how much it was, where it came from, what it was spent on, or that the decision to disburse it was made only by him until yesterday... a day after I officially took over as the new CM.

 

I feel I am now on the hook for this, as the new, incoming CM.  I think the right thing to do is the bring the records I have, the information I'm sure of, and my suspicions about the rest to our council, with our committee chair in tow and see where it goes.  And I think if the CC disagrees r refuses, I should resign and go to council anyway.  Someone needs to be made aware of these missing funds, and aware of how at least some of them were spent and by who.

I know that's not a lot of detail, but I'd appreciate your advice.

 

 

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Where is the Committee Chairman? Pack Treasurer? Where is the Charter Organization Representative?

 

If none of those care, I doubt Council would.

 

Start looking for another Pack for your son.

 

My $0.02

Edited by RememberSchiff
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The charter org is and has been very hands off.  The COR is an elderly vet with health issues who really hasn't done more than sign off on applications that I'm aware of.  I've only met him, very briefly, once, at our Charter organizations facility.  At this point, I think he is house bound.

The current committee chair was our cubmaster previous to the one I was replacing.  He took the CC position after turning over CM to the guy I am now replacing.  As CC he was very hands off, almost no involvement until I had the blowout I detailed in a previous post.  At that point he stepped back in/up, and I've been pressuring him about dues and financial stuff ever since.  The CC and the CM I'm replacing have a relationship outside scouts, but I'm really hoping that isn't affecting his decision making... They are in a fraternal organization together.

 

Edit- The pack treasurer is also brand new.  She is the one who first brought the discrepancies to my attention.

 

Edited by Tiger Foot

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Time for the chartered organization to get hands-on. It's their money. They own the Pack.

Your council won't get involved because this is between the Pack, your former Cubmaster, and the chartered organization.

 

I agree with RememberSchiff--time to find a new Pack.

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I think a lot depends on the details here.  There is inappropriate spending and then there is inappropriate spending.  If the CM spent hundreds of dollars on camping equipment for the pack without going through whatever approval process the pack uses, that's one kind of inappropriate spending.  If the CM used the money to make his own car payments or to buy groceries for his family, that's a different kind of inappropriate spending, and in that case it is also known as "stealing."  In one case the pack has tents it may not want or need or be able to afford, but at least the tents are there and can be sold or whatever.  In the other case the money has been stolen and the pack has to decide how far it wants to go to try to get it back.  And those are not the only two possible scenarios.

 

I also think it makes a difference how much was "spent inappropriately" (which means you know how it was spent) and how much is "missing" (which means you don't know how it was spent.)

Edited by NJCubScouter
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A lot of folks are gonna cringe when they read this:

 

In the grand scheme of things, 900 bucks ain't that much. You might be thinking it is lots of kegs of beer, when it is a few kid's summer camp fees. This isn't a council problem. If your CoR is ambivalent, it isn't even a CO problem. If the CC and CO don't want to go after the former CM for the coin, it's on them, not you.

 

At your committee meeting, report that X dollars was given to the last CM, and only X-minus-unaccounted dollars had receipts or was otherwise approved expenditures as recorded in last year's committee's minutes. No judgments. Just letting everyone know on record in one sentence how things were done in the past by way of explaining the starting balance in the treasury. It's just a footnote in a year-end financial report.

 

But even if it were $90, your problem is nobody has in writing what it was, so the pack can't make better decisions going forward.

 

Then, make clear that you want people to expect more accountability from CM while you're holding the patch. That means the committee should decide a budget, decide how much they want to be discretionary on the part of the CM, and decide on a Treasurer who they trust to hold you accountable. Your underlying principle: parents ought to know what they're spending their money on.

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I'm sorry to be vague.

About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.

There are no committee meeting notes from last year and there really was no committee last year.

That doesn't account for everything that's missing, but it is a large chunk of it.

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About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.

 

There are no committee meeting notes from last year and there really was no committee last year.

 

That doesn't account for everything that's missing, but it is a large chunk of it.

 

This is called cronyism. 

 

If it were me I wouldn't waste my time if the CO, COR, Pack Chair and other families in the pack don't care. I'd let them know I was leaving, thank them for the job but let them know once you got in the front door you realized this role wasn't for you. Find a new pack and enjoy your time with your son and family.

 

Life is too short to fix someone else's problem. They stole from the pack (and yes, paying for your kid only to attend something when others are left out is stealing) and the CO and COR are the one's that need to address this.

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I don't know if that meets anyone's definition of stealing, but it certainly doesn't seem right.

It would be one thing if the leadership had come together and said hey, we're going to sponsor some kids to go to camp.  But nothing remotely close to that happened.  

Instead the CM used pack funds to send his own sons to camp, and the sons of his friend to camp, completely on his own.

If parents did know that was how their money was being spent, I don't think they would be happy.  I'm sure many of their boys could have used some financial help to attend camp as well.

 

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About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.

Hmm. Were there other kids in the pack who went to camp with the parents paying? Were there kids who wanted to go and would have gone if the pack was paying, but didn't go because of the cost?

 

What you have here is that most of money in question was spent on a Scouting activity that benefited members of the pack, which in and of itself is a good thing. The problem, of course, is that depending on the answers to my latest round of questions, the beneficiaries of the funds may have been determined through favoritism.

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Yes, we had 16 kids attend camp last year, and 4 leaders.  Yes, other scouts would have attended if the pack had offset some or all of the cost.  No, that option was not made available to the whole pack.

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..., but it certainly doesn't seem right.

 

Yeah.  I've seen things like this before.  People can justify many actions.  A leader could have the opinion that they put in so much work that their own son should get to go to camp for free.  Or, a den leaders could have helped raise so much money that they have the opinion they have a right to spend more of the money.  I know one unit leader that had the opinion they had the right to spend the funds they raised for the unit to the tune of thousands of dollars and high adventures for the dad and kids.  Essentially, almost 100% raised went to family and almost zero to the unit  It nearly killed the unit.  But leaders changed and now it's one of the best units in our area.  .... There are many ways to justify what you have described.  

 

Your case seems like a failure of leadership and process and not necessarily a misuse of money.  Leadership and the process to spend the money should have been better thought out and executed.  The idea and decision should have been shared with the committee.  The treasurer should have spotted the issue too.  Maybe everyone would have arrived at the same opinion.  Maybe everyone would have been accepting if communicated right. 

 

It's best to do as earlier advised.  State the current funds available to the pack and track it to the best of your ability.  The past is the past and you weren't the CM then.  Be responsible for your time as CM, not his.  Onward, help the pack account for the funds.  

 

As for your future with the unit, can you just move on from this?  Can you leave this be?  Do you build relationships and trust with the current leaders?  If not, it is best to move on.

Edited by fred johnson

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Yes, we had 16 kids attend camp last year, and 4 leaders.  Yes, other scouts would have attended if the pack had offset some or all of the cost.  No, that option was not made available to the whole pack.

Ok, I was trying to see whether there could be any justification for just "letting it go", but based on your answers, I guess there really isn't.

 

Have you actually spoken with the CC about this yet?  You express some concerns about what his attitude may be.  But have you actually given him a chance to do something about it?

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TF, you seem sure about how the $ went out. Are you equally sure about how they went in? In other words, are you sure that the former CM/DL's didn't put in, say, $700 the year before?

 

Either way, that issue is not yours to resolve or reconcile. Either way the past lack of accountability stinks.

 

What matters is if everybody is willing to go forward differently once you ask for more transparency and accountability.

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I'd still pop smoke and take the evac on this one. No reason to stay and fix this mess. Life is too short. Let the CO and COR handle this. It's their job...though it seems they don't know it.

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