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TAHAWK

"Professional" Compensation Package Cut

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Posted (edited)

I was informed this evening,  by a DE who has been quite reliable, that pensions for the great majority of "professional" Scouters are going away - soon (although the deduction from their salary to help defray the cost will continue for 2018 with no benefit for most).  All that will remain is a savings plan with a nice company match, if the employees were able to find money to save from the low salaries they are paid.  Grandfathering will be in effect for those with 15 or more years of service, which is very few of those in the field doing the work.  (Our DE has two years service.)  This change was justified to the employees by reference to the need to be competitive with other nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

This historic change was announced by National Council with the female Cubs/Scouts announcement and, so, was little noticed, except by those impacted. 

If what I was told tonight is correct, this website statement is incorrect:   "The BSA continues to offer a defined benefit plan that provides for a lifetime income based upon salary and years of credited benefit service. Employees are eligible to enter the plan after one year of employment and become vested after five years of eligible service."

Such a change probably would have a negative impact on recruiting "professionals."  Our council already has been unable for months to fill  the council ToO, even as it tells us we are about to play upset the basket again with a drastic reorganization that eliminates districts in favor of service  "pods" -- a plan which requires a significant  increase in "professional" employees over the current ToO. 

It has taken us about five years to more-or-less recover from the last reorganization.   We go on trying to do what we perceive as needed even with no clue if what we plan will in fact take place. 

"...  until morale improves." :rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK

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I believe it. I know my retired SE was all over a change in retirement policies a few month back. I know he was upset with folks dedicating their life, only to get shafted when they retire.

And DE , DD, and FD pay is ridiculously low. I knew a DD who qualified for government aid.

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If there is any question about BSA’s financial status I think this answers it.  The combination of cutting a pension benefit, huge increase in annual membership fee and  admitting girls seems to point to a cash concern.  I think the 2017 annual report will be an interesting read (2016 looked like a disaster).   I expect massive council consolidation (similar to Michigan) as the cost cutting continues.   I hope BSA finds a way to financial health soon.

I’m impressed with my DE and the amount of time he works.  Sad to see this benefit go away.

 

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Pensions are going away all over the place.  In the sense of being thrifty, the BSA must look at its operation costs and keep it lean.   The BSA will need to have good enough compensation to attract and retain talented staff,  and if the pay and benefits are not good enough, they will fail to get the best people.  Organizations and individuals all need to look for the best deal they can get.  

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Posted (edited)

I worked all my life and never qualified for any pension plans.  I did my own 401k and investments on my own and was forced to do Social Security.  My paltry SS benefit for what I put in is a sham.  My 401k and investments, however, allowed me to retire quite comfortably as I wanted to.  

I am 5 years older than my wife.  I turned 65 and retired and I didn't want to spend the first five years of my retirement with the wife working.  I took all my finances down to a financial investment service and had them crunch the numbers and determine when the wife could retire.  After a week I get a call that says she can retire yesterday.  I made her quit the job she hated and we do just fine.

Don't rely on your employers, don't rely on the government, do your own retirement plan and pay cash for everything.  I hate the idea of paying interest expense on any thing.  I put that money into investment instead.  I never earned more than $45,000/per year in my whole life and retired a millionaire.  I have a zero credit rating.  I own 5 cars, 3 of which have more than 100,000 miles, 2 of which are over 200,000 miles.  It's a life lesson I learned form my Dad who lived through the Great Depression.  It works. People who worry about such things should be taking the Personal Finance MB!  :)

 

Edited by Stosh
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A scout is Thrifty!  Without a doubt, pensions are becoming a rare benefit.  That said, I don’t believe DE’s salaries are high (based upon previous forum threads) and the loss of this benefit won’t help.  Yes, one can live off low salaries but not everyone is willing to work for $30-$40-$50k less per year.  My wife is a volunteer president of a food pantry.   The salary and benefits they offer their employees is minimal.  The issue they are running into is finding great leaders willing to work for such low salary and benefits, so they settle for suboptimal performance.     

My concern is that by cutting benefits on already low salary you are on a race to the bottom.  You’ll see jobs not being filled or filled by individuals that may not have the best performance.  I’m sure there are great leaders that are willing to sacrifice further, but it is definitely not good news for attracting top talent.  

 

 

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7 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

Our council already has been unable for months to fill  the council ToO, even as it tells us we are about to play upset the basket again with a drastic reorganization that eliminates districts in favor of service  "pods" -- a plan which requires a significant  increase in "professional" employees over the current ToO. 

Our council has just completed (effective last week) a year-long reorganization of the professional staff, and the org. chart (at least that part of it) seems to now be fully staffed.  This seems to have resulted in an increase in professional staff. The council has six districts.  Previously I believe we had two field service directors and (usually) one DE (or DD or SDE) per district.  Now we still have two field directors (they seem to have removed the word "service" from the title) but each one now oversees a "service area" consisting of three of the districts.  Each service area has four executives, each of whom covers a separate subject-area for all three of the districts.  Those areas are unit service, program, membership and development.  These executives report to the field directors. So we have gone from six district-executive-types to eight.

 Each district still has its own volunteer structure, its own events, etc. etc. How long that is going to last is anyone's guess, but I think there would be a great deal of commotion if they tried to merge the districts any more than they have been merged in the past.

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4 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

If there is any question about BSA’s financial status I think this answers it.  The combination of cutting a pension benefit, huge increase in annual membership fee and  admitting girls seems to point to a cash concern.  I think the 2017 annual report will be an interesting read (2016 looked like a disaster).   I expect massive council consolidation (similar to Michigan) as the cost cutting continues.   I hope BSA finds a way to financial health soon.

I’m impressed with my DE and the amount of time he works.  Sad to see this benefit go away.

 

Well....when you spend heewge sums of cash on the giant white elephant know as Summit, eventually the poor decisions will come back to haunt you.  Literally the National BSA has mortgaged it's future on SBR.  Not sure what tea leaves were read that there was massive unfulfilled desire for justifying the development.  Curious what attendance figures would be needed to even break even on the debt service.

The real amount spent was likely north of $500MM to $750MM (that's cash american).  Also there is a large bond payment of hundreds of millions looming out there in the next several years.  Couple that with steep rises in liability insurance, untold minions on the BSA National (not to be confused with the local councils) payroll and it is a recipe for disaster.  

To say the 2016 annual report looked like a disaster is an understatement.  You really had to read all the way to the details to get the full story.

But hey, there are girls entering the program, so bingo, new revenue stream and everything will work out...no need to address the real issues.

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I mean just look at this group. There is so much Scouting knowledge and experience in this forums membership, and with a few exceptions, none of us have worked for the BSA as a professional. You can make more money and get better benefits in government, academia (which is really saying something) or the private sector. 

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New hires in my sector, Illinois Higher Ed, now have to work longer than I. I can retire at 55 in December 2018. Less than a year left!! The pension will not be great, but we have saved the last 20 years and have no debt. I have served with 4 DE's in the last 5 years. We just lost #4 to the railroad. BNSF. They pay entry-level transportation management trainees more than my council pays trained DE's .

Our Asst. SE left to work as a sales rep for a glass company.

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Posted (edited)

Some of the finest people and Scouters I have encountered have been, are or were council employees.

The impressive council employees have been, were, and are a distinct minority of all council employees.  This have been true here at least since 1981.  

The impressive council employees tend to leave for better-paying jobs with shorter hours and less frustration.  Even the "lifer" types tend to be gone in under three years.   This have been true here at least since 1981.  In other words, the ones you want to keep leave.

Those who stay until ? are usually the "otherwise unemployable."  They joined intending to get a "better" job and could not. 

I once "lost" three DE's from my district in such short order that I never met the one in the middle.  She was hired on Thursday and had quit by Monday night.  No. 3 came on board on Wednesday and was gone in two months.  Not unusual here.  One of our districts (large) had no DE last year for five months.

A council employee communicated to us today that she was "shocked" that out museum had a display of "weapons" (couple dozen  examples of official BSA knives from 1910 -2018).  She felt it was a "terrible example for the kids."  One can hope for addition by subtraction.

Scouting, the unincorporated association of volunteers and Scouts,  needs to save itself even as BSA, the 502(C)(3) corporation,  declines.  I am reminded that I joined a troop that existed without BSA from 1908-1926, when BSA finally arrived in Orange County, California and that ninety-nine troops greeted BSA when it arrived in Cleveland in 1912 (five claiming the right to be "Troop 1").  My Scouting friends in other nations cannot understand our massive payroll.

I think that this situation is going to get more and more Darwinian.  Expenditure needs to be linked to value added.

 

 

 

Edited by TAHAWK
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I interviewed for a position in our local council, was offered the position of DE and in the mean time I was offered a job in the business sector for twice the pay.  I took a pass on the Scouting job.

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Does anyone have an rough org chart of BSA?  I’m curious what exists above the council level.  What could be saved at various levels to put more money at those directly working with scouters?   I don’t know if there is waste but I would be interested in the details.  I’ve worked at companies where large amount of cash was spent in HQ vs out in the field where it would have been more effective.  

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I'm one of the few former pros. I had friends leave the profession and make double, and in one case triple, his DE salary. But you have a few dedicated Pros out there. I found out my old boss, who left the profession before I did and continued on as a Scouter, is now back. He was successful, but there is something that makes you feel good working for the BSA. Mostly the volunteers and seeing the Scouts at activities in my case.

But the pension changes affect those already in the system, and retirees. Benefits promised, and pros contributed to were being cut.

 

9 hours ago, Stosh said:

I worked all my life and never qualified for any pension plans.  I did my own 401k and investments on my own and was forced to do Social Security.  My paltry SS benefit for what I put in is a sham.  My 401k and investments, however, allowed me to retire quite comfortably as I wanted to.  

What is this thing called Social Security? ;)

9 hours ago, Stosh said:

Don't rely on your employers, don't rely on the government, do your own retirement plan and pay cash for everything.  I hate the idea of paying interest expense on any thing. 

Agreed. Social Security will never pay me what I have and will continue to pay into it. And companies can change pension plans, like the BSA, in a heartbeat.

 

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25 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I'm one of the few former pros. I had friends leave the profession and make double, and in one case triple, his DE salary. But you have a few dedicated Pros out there. I found out my old boss, who left the profession before I did and continued on as a Scouter, is now back. He was successful, but there is something that makes you feel good working for the BSA. Mostly the volunteers and seeing the Scouts at activities in my case.

But the pension changes affect those already in the system, and retirees. Benefits promised, and pros contributed to were being cut.

 

What is this thing called Social Security? ;)

Agreed. Social Security will never pay me what I have and will continue to pay into it. And companies can change pension plans, like the BSA, in a heartbeat.

 

At least you may get some of your money out of the pyramid scheme that is Social Security. Without changes to it, I fear I'll spend a whole lifetime paying into it and get nothing in return. I won't be retiring till 2055-2060. 

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