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SammyT

Advice on Treasury Related Conflict

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Hi, all!

Background: I'm new to the forum, but not to scouting.  I was a Life Scout and I've been a Cub Scout Pack Master for the last year or so.  In all honesty, I reluctantly accepted the position as my job and long commute keeps me quite busy, but there was a number of vacancies that needed to be filled if the pack was going to survive.  This "transition of power" was a rather volatile moment that led to some political posturing.  During this volatile time, the treasurer, who then also became a Den Leader asked for a volunteer to take over the treasurer duties because it was otherwise "too much for one person to handle".  A volunteer stepped forward, but several months have passed and the "new treasurer" has yet to receive any turnover.  Many families have left the pack and I am certain in at least two separate instances it is because of the "incumbent treasurer" and the way she handles herself.  In addition, the Webelos Den Leader and the treasurer are like oil and vinegar in terms of personalities, but they've seem to manage to keep things professional.  As I am sure it with many other units, there has been little training for the leaders so we're all just flying by the seat of our pants and "doing our best."

Current issue: Several months ago, the Webelos Den Leader took on the responsibility to raise funds through wreath sales and recently turned in the proceeds (approx. $700) to our treasurer during our annual Blue and Gold banquet.  Included with the funds, was a complete record of all transactions and how the funds would be distributed to each scout's account.  At that same time, the Webelos Den Leader also turned in receipts (approx. $75) for an official Webelos activity pursuant to an art related achievement attended by the boys, the Den Leader, the "New Treasurer" and myself.  In turning the receipts, the Webelos Den Leader deducted the $75 from the $700 and turned in only $625.  The incumbent treasurer e-mailed the Webelos Den Leader yesterday informing her that the deduction was inappropriate without approval from the parent committee and suggested that the Webelos Den Leader "commingled" funds.  The incumbent treasurer went on to say that this matter would be discussed at the next parent meeting.  When this matter was brought to my attention by the Webelos Den Leader, I asked the incumbent treasurer in e-mail to give me a call to discuss this matter further, but she responded back only to the Webelos Den Leader and the response suggested that she has no intention in discussing this with me until the next parent meeting while also strangely acknowledging that activity did qualify for reimbursement.

My dilemma: Had the Webelos Den Leader turned in the full amount of raised funds ($700) with receipts, the treasurer would have reimbursed the Webelos Den Leader anyway so I fail to see the need to reprimand the Webelos Den Leader.  If I was treasurer, I would simply record the credit of $700 and the debit of $75 in my ledger and deposit the $625 and the ledger and account balance would reconcile.  My instincts tell me that the treasurer is taking this opportunity to bully someone in the pack she doesn't like, but I'd like some objective opinions on what is considered appropriate in terms of handling the unit funds.  If the Webelos Den Leader is in the wrong, I have no problem telling her so and I am quite sure she would accept the correction from me in good spirits.  However, if the treasurer is making a "mountain out of a molehill", then I'm inclined to propose at the parent meeting that the incumbent treasurer relinquish her job once and for all and hand over the duties to new treasure who is willing and eager to take on the responsibility.

Your input is very much appreciated.  Cheers!

Edited by SammyT

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Welcome! And thanks for all that you do for the youth.

I used to pull stuff like this on my crew treasurer all the time. It really irritated her. Oddly, what didn't irritate her was when I left her in pitch dark in a cavern. (To my credit, I came back as soon as I realized I had misplaced her.:cool:)

Tell your WDL: respect whoever's doing the work. Treasury issue, treasurer's rules. If it keeps pack $ safe, support it. Have the CC doc 5% from his end-of-year bonus.

Tell your treasurer: it's scary being left in pitch dark in a cavern. :p If she actually deposited the funds, she is complicit in all that "co-mingling", such as it is. Have the CC doc 5% from her end-of-year bonus.

Instruct her next time to return the deposit with a check for the WDL's expenses, asking him to sign it back to the unit along with his deposit. Ask him to do it as a favor to her to help make reconciling the checkbook and any future audits straightforward.

Remind everyone that you work for smiles. And your WDL and Treasurer your year-end bonus better be the two of them together with their boys ... the lot of them with ear-to-ear grins. Payment in advance always welcome. :D

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First of all, thank you for stepping up to serve the youth.  What I see missing here is TRAINING.  Everyone needs to get Basic and Position Specific training for their respective positions ASAP.  The Pack Committee (including Treasurer) works for the Committee Chair (CC).  The Cubmaster ("Pack Master") recruits and leads the efforts of the Den Leaders.  Everyone serves at the pleasure of the Chartered Organization (CO), normally delegated to the Chartered Organization Representative (COR).  While this incident may not itself be a "big deal", a set of groundrules needs to be put in place as to how the Pack funds are approved  and expended.  No DL should be expending Pack funds without pre-approval, or set an amount that can be reimbursed without pre-approval.  The fact that she held a $700 fundraiser (without approval?) is a separate issue.  All unit fundraising efforts require the pre-approval of council and your CO via the Unit Fundraising application form.  It is, after all the CO's funds.

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It seems to me the main issue the Treasurer has is incurring and reimbur5sement a $75 expense that may not have had prior approval.  It is not at all unreasonable in any organization for an expense in excess of petty cash to be approved before payment/deduction/reimbursement.  

"Whats done is done", so I would report the $75 to the Committee, but not discuss it.  But... with the transition between Treasurers...  the Committee discussion should be what the expense policy & procedure is and communicate it to the Den and Pack leaders.

If the Treasurer's duties are "too much for one person to handle"... for many reasons give consideration to eliminating "scout's account(s)"

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My personal take is

no harm in what was done. 

As treasurer I would mention it to the committee so that it's open and on record what happened

and I would request that all future business be handled in the more linear fashion, just so the books are in line and clean.  Personally I agree that this simple approach is cleaner and better, although I really don't think anything inappropriate was done the other way either....

the real grey area in my thinking, is the situation of the $75 expense....is it the sort of thing that needs prior approval by the committee in your unit before reimbursements are made?  that internal rule should be reiterated for future reference.

Honestly, I'm of the opinion that reasonable expenses should be reimbursed immediately.  That volunteer is also volunteering their own money.  Don't make them wait.  report it at the next committee meeting for discussion, but that's what I'd do....

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Hi, all!

I apologize for posting and running, but as I mentioned my work is quite demanding.  I will send the treasurer a note thanking her for the work she does while respectfully disagreeing with the conclusion of that funds were "commingled" then wait to see how it plays out at the next parent meeting.  I sincerely appreciate all the input as it helped me get some perspective on the matter.  Cheers! 

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A different perspective...

It's the treasurer's job to manage the cash flow in the pack.  The committee/parents establish spending policy - i.e. can den leaders get reimbursed without prior approval.  But the treasurer ought to have the freedom to establish accounting rules.

So, in your scenario

- the treasurer is free to push back on "comingleing".

- the den leader is free to ask for a policy decision on reimbursements from the Committee

- if you think the treasurer is being punitive or arbitrary - as Cubmaster call her on it.  But avoid getting dragged into a discussion on comingleing - it's not you job to get mixed up in that.

 

 

 

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On 2/28/2018 at 4:43 AM, scoutldr said:

The fact that she held a $700 fundraiser (without approval?) is a separate issue.

Thanks for your input.   To be clear, the WDL was selected by the committee to raise the funds. 

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On ‎2‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 6:43 AM, scoutldr said:

The Pack Committee (including Treasurer) works for the Committee Chair (CC). 

I agree. SammyT should let the CC handle it.

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11 hours ago, SammyT said:

Hi, all!

I apologize for posting and running, but as I mentioned my work is quite demanding.  I will send the treasurer a note thanking her for the work she does while respectfully disagreeing with the conclusion of that funds were "commingled" then wait to see how it plays out at the next parent meeting.  I sincerely appreciate all the input as it helped me get some perspective on the matter.  Cheers! 

I think the next point in your approach should be supporting the treasurer moving forward in the method they are wanting to push.

as Parkman suggested.

8 hours ago, ParkMan said:

A different perspective...

It's the treasurer's job to manage the cash flow in the pack.  The committee/parents establish spending policy - i.e. can den leaders get reimbursed without prior approval.  But the treasurer ought to have the freedom to establish accounting rules.

So, in your scenario

- the treasurer is free to push back on "comingleing".

- the den leader is free to ask for a policy decision on reimbursements from the Committee

- if you think the treasurer is being punitive or arbitrary - as Cubmaster call her on it.  But avoid getting dragged into a discussion on comingleing - it's not you job to get mixed up in that.

 

 

 

agreed. not your job....and wise to avoid... except I would support them as the figurehead (just a word of support then step out of it).

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The Pack committee decides what process to use for handling funds and it is the treasurer’s job to enforce the policy.  They should not invent hurdles for your already overburdened den leaders.  I disagree with the treasurer regarding the mixing of money, unless that is Pack policy.  We have done this frequently (for example a leader to puts a $1k deposit for a camp then deducts that from his sons camp charge to only ask $800 in credit).   The treasurer should be able to handle this easily in their ledger.  Our treasurer, who is also a den leader and a senior executive  at his Corp, has never felt the role was that difficult or time consuming even while working efficiently with our den leaders.

If the treasurer is not happy with the policy they should take that up with the committee.  All of this should be done with a good attitude.  You are all volunteers and systematic conflicts within leadership can destroy a Pack.  It sounds like your CC needs to step in to help mediate the situation.

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more to add....

It seems that most of us, or at least many, think the treasurer is wrong.

But I'll submit that the treasurer might want to keep the books more linear for transparency and for CYA.  I know that I was that way as Treasurer.  I wanted everything to be clean and easily understood by anyone that cared to look.  Money can be a very sticky wicket and I always tried to keep that in mind....

So, while it's true that this sort of "commingling of funds" can be easily shown in the books and really there's no hard done in what happened.... it's still ugly on the books and any key position scouter should support what that treasurer wants to do here moving forward.

As an example, in principle I took it to the extreme that if I received some cash on behalf of the troop, I never commingled that cash with my own personal money.  It would have been easy enough to put that $1 bill or whatever into my wallet, then the next time I was at the bank just deposited $1 into the troop account.... or even write a personal check to cover it... but I would instead deposit that very same $1 bill that i was given...& I would do it ASAP. 

I wanted anyone looking to be able to see everything very cleanly and easily.  No questions and no fuzzy dotted lines to connect.

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The cash part is always a fun thing.  We rarely deal with cash, mainly checks and paypal.

That being said I have had someone pay for summer camp at the last week in cash before, advise SM and Treasurer, then had the cash at the house.  After camp we settled up with a documentation of the cash.  Received XXX for camp.  Paid YYY out of pocket expenses at summer camp.  Here is the remainder (or still need ZZZ)

We are all volunteers.  Document things clearly, but don't be a czar and bang your shoe on the desk, need to make it easy to do the business of the unit. 

 

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48 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

We are all volunteers.  Document things clearly, but don't be a czar and bang your shoe on the desk, need to make it easy to do the business of the unit. 

 

I agree with that, but you are mixing your Russian historical figure metaphors.  :)

 

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