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District Assistant Position

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I know with the last round of Federal labor law changes we saw some changes to what professional Scouters can serve a district, e.g. the district associate position being added as a non-exempt alternative to the traditional district executive position. However, did anyone hear anything about a new position called a district assistant?

I stopped by my council service center today and noticed they were clearing out a couple old offices that had been used as storage for a while now. I asked my DE about what the was reasoning for the early-spring cleaning, and he said the council was planning on hiring two to three district assistants to basically perform the office functions of all unit-serving professionals. He said the goal was push all district executives and field directors out into the communities more. They're supposedly going to be part-time jobs in our council.

I'm honestly in favor of this change, but I'm curious if anyone else has seen this position in practice. Anyone have any experiences to share?

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Yes, I have seen several part-time professional jobs crop up. Though not all of them are office jobs, in fact, many have been in the field supporting DE's or special activities. Most I have seen have been filled by very active volunteer Scouters and/or retirees. Which I like, because they have a feel for what volunteers pain points are.

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One of CSE Surbaughs' big pushes during his tenure was to basically stop young DE's from completely hating their jobs/life and leaving the profession by the dozens. He's been coming up with a few new initiatives to help out the professional folks, I believe this is one of them. 

 The  DA position is simply to relieve some of the stress faced by DE's, while helping them achieve the overall goals of the job.

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Is throwing bodies at the problem the answer? Or do they listen to DEs as to what their issues are and, maybe, make organizational changes to alleviate the problems?

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In late 2016 or early 2017, my council announced they would be phasing in a new structure for district professionals.  Instead of one DE (or SDE or DD) per district, the council's six districts would be divided into two regions.  For each region, there would be four professionals, assigned to a single subject area (Unit Service, Program, Membership and Development), who would report to a Field Director.  (The volunteer structures in each district would remain separate and each district would still have its own activities.)  At the time, someone in this forum had recently discovered and announced the creation of the new "District Associate" position, and I suspected that the District Associate title (at lower salaries than an "Executive") would be used for these four-per-region positions.

But last month, when the "phase in" was completed and the council announced who was in what position, I learned that my suspicion appears to have been incorrect.  The positions are called "Unit Service Executive", "Program Executive", etc.  I know four of the eight "executives" and, while one seems to have been hired straight into the "Membership Executive" position after the "phase in" started, the other three are (former, I guess) DE's, SDE's or DD's.  One of those has been around for a few years, but the other two have been around for much more than a few years.  (In fact, one of them was the first DE I encountered when I was a Cub Scout leader, about 18 years ago.)

So the District Associate and District Assistant positions may exist, and have patches, but they do not seem to be used in our council.  I am puzzled as to why that is.

(On another note, when they put the new org. chart on their web site, they show the District Chairs and Commissioners, and some district committees, dealing directly with the Field Director (as if he were their "District Executive") and not with any of the new positions.  Why all of this is "better," I'm not sure.)

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20 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

Is throwing bodies at the problem the answer? Or do they listen to DEs as to what their issues are and, maybe, make organizational changes to alleviate the problems?

Actually I think it is a possible solution. DE's are spread way to thin, and less volunteers are stepping up. I think DA's are a good thing, However, it's just a temporary band-aid to a much larger ideology issue coming from national. Until that's fixed, DE's are still going to hate their jobs/lives and leave. 

Edited by carebear3895

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22 hours ago, Col. Flagg said:

Is throwing bodies at the problem the answer? Or do they listen to DEs as to what their issues are and, maybe, make organizational changes to alleviate the problems?

I think this does fall under the dia of organizational change. And the professional I have spoken with love the help they are getting. 

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2 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I think this does fall under the dia of organizational change. And the professional I have spoken with love the help they are getting. 

No, that's not organizational change. That's staff augmentation and they are different animals. 

Organizational change analyzes how the work is done (people, process, technology) and how things can be streamlined to be more efficient. 

Staff augmentation is throwing bodies at a problem without doing above analysis.

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