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Cburkhardt

Positive Council Changes during Financial Reorganization

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Good Council Executive Boards result from finding good people and recruiting them, not changing election or voting systems.  Financial restructuring will provide an opportunity to recast ineffective boards.  Start now to recruit and promote outstanding candidates.

We have a representative republican for of government whereby we select people to represent us and repose in them the ability to make decisions and govern.  It is an imperfect system but seems to work for our society.  Having regular society-wide votes on policy matters would have an occasional advantage -- but for the most part that system of governance is really problematic.  Our Council Executive Boards play a similar role.  The COR's elect them and delegate the responsibility and authority to govern.  If the EB gets entirely out of line, the CORs can effectively recall them at the next annual business meeting and install a replacement Board.  That has happened  several times.  Before it gets to that point CORs and their similarly-minded volunteers can usually take effective action if they are factually accurate, thoughtful, economic in approach and persuasive. 

Many of the suggestions seem to be calculated to limit the influence of dominant SEs.  The route to address this problem is to be direct and assure adequate COR representation on the nominating committee.  I have been a nominating committee chair several times.  The challenge in that position is … follow me here …. a lack of credible suggested new board members!  After all of the disappointments expressed about voting systems, current boards and members, the complaining folks rarely had great people to suggest as new board members.  The suggestions tended to include very upset people who were dug-in on a narrow issue (often a sub-issue about a camp facility or camp program), or others who had deep personal disagreements with certain staff or volunteer officers.  These people disqualify themselves for failing to satisfy the basic qualification of board membership (see Parkman's many suggested criteria, above).  

To the issue of Bankruptcy and financial tightening -- This will provide wholesale opportunities to replace ineffective Board members.  My belief is that if you want to be an effective part of recasting your local Council Executive Board, do a service for your Council and begin now to think of names of who would be effective members.  Think about those Scouters who are the finest, selfless individuals.  Think of business leaders who are well-regarded and know how to operate sophisticated enterprises.  Think about a few people that are role models for our youth and ourselves -- whether they have Scouting experience or not.  Think of principal economic leaders who are good-hearted, active in promoting civic life and capable of helping the BSA restore its financial health.  When the annual meeting approaches, contact the nominating committee chair and ask to be on that committee.  Or, ask to present a number of your candidate suggestions to the committee - live and in-person. 

Building a better Council Executive Board is not about figuring out how the election voting process can be recalculated to favor one type of voter or another.  It is all about finding the very best people to serve Scouting recruiting them to our Boards.

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

Good Council Executive Boards result from finding good people and recruiting them, not changing election or voting systems.  Financial restructuring will provide an opportunity to recast ineffective boards.  Start now to recruit and promote outstanding candidates.

Agree

1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

We have a representative republican for of government whereby we select people to represent us and repose in them the ability to make decisions and govern.  It is an imperfect system but seems to work for our society.  Having regular society-wide votes on policy matters would have an occasional advantage -- but for the most part that system of governance is really problematic.  Our Council Executive Boards play a similar role.  The COR's elect them and delegate the responsibility and authority to govern.  If the EB gets entirely out of line, the CORs can effectively recall them at the next annual business meeting and install a replacement Board.  That has happened  several times.  Before it gets to that point CORs and their similarly-minded volunteers can usually take effective action if they are factually accurate, thoughtful, economic in approach and persuasive. 

The problem with COR's is that unless the council puts a lot of effort in educating the COs of their responsibilities, the COR's aren't typical of understanding (or caring) about the Executive Board. The SE needs to develop a relationship with the COs and teach (sell) them the vision and the value of the vision for the youth.

1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

Many of the suggestions seem to be calculated to limit the influence of dominant SEs.  The route to address this problem is to be direct and assure adequate COR representation on the nominating committee.  I have been a nominating committee chair several times.  The challenge in that position is … follow me here …. a lack of credible suggested new board members!  After all of the disappointments expressed about voting systems, current boards and members, the complaining folks rarely had great people to suggest as new board members.  The suggestions tended to include very upset people who were dug-in on a narrow issue (often a sub-issue about a camp facility or camp program), or others who had deep personal disagreements with certain staff or volunteer officers.  These people disqualify themselves for failing to satisfy the basic qualification of board membership (see Parkman's many suggested criteria, above).  

Yep, the lack of credible suggestions is the whole of the problem both at the Council and district level. In fact it's common unit problem too. This goes back to if the Council is serious about building a performing board, they have to start at the base and educate the COs. THEN, the nominating board needs to do research to find candidates with the qualifications they are looking for. Too often nominating committees wait for names to come to them from where ever. The nominating committee needs to be led by a dynamic person who knows how to seek out proactive committee members with the talent for using resources to seek and research candidates. The committee must be proactive.

1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

To the issue of Bankruptcy and financial tightening -- This will provide wholesale opportunities to replace ineffective Board membersMy belief is that if you want to be an effective part of recasting your local Council Executive Board, do a service for your Council and begin now to think of names of who would be effective members.  Think about those Scouters who are the finest, selfless individuals.  Think of business leaders who are well-regarded and know how to operate sophisticated enterprises.  Think about a few people that are role models for our youth and ourselves -- whether they have Scouting experience or not.  Think of principal economic leaders who are good-hearted, active in promoting civic life and capable of helping the BSA restore its financial health.  When the annual meeting approaches, contact the nominating committee chair and ask to be on that committee.  Or, ask to present a number of your candidate suggestions to the committee - live and in-person. 

Yes, here is the struggle. One thing to say, go out and find these candidates, but it's another thing to find the right nominating committee to seek out the the right candidates. How are they going to get the word out? Who can they personally call, or even visit. It's very much who you know, so who does the committee know, and who do they know, and on and on. The passion of the candidates for the Executive Board is usually reflective of the nominating committee. So, the committee needs to be well respected high performers.

1. know and understand the vision.

2. Train and build a relationship with the COs and teach them the values of the vision.

3. Find the right person who believes in the vision, and knows how to build teams to lead the nominating committee.

4. Build a high qualified and productive nominating committee to search candidates that fit the vision.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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I think it is clear that the powers that be will never step down from their control of BSA.  Positive council changes can only occur if a bankruptcy process forces them out.  I hope it happens soon.

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48 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

1. know and understand the vision.

I agree in that what a council really needs is just one person with a vision. One of two people needs that vision. Either the council president or the SE. If they don't, as in my council's case, I'm not sure how any of the changes discussed can happen. My council is broke and the board is just another income stream. That's all it does.

7 minutes ago, David CO said:

I think it is clear that the powers that be will never step down from their control of BSA.  Positive council changes can only occur if a bankruptcy process forces them out.  I hope it happens soon.

But bankruptcy will likely not change anything with the councils. If anything, there will be less oversight. I'm not sure how there could be less, though.

@David CO, I will add one thing, though. I like your idea of getting the CO's more interested. Every CO I know of is interested in helping kids and in particular, kids that need more help. Their input would be very valuable. And the goodwill between CO's and the council would help the local scouting scene.

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The Executive Council needs good people but guided with sound rules to effectively serve and oversee council operations.   Some thoughts

1. Post on Council website the names of all Executive Board Members (not all Councils do) , the Board Bylaws., meeting minutes, ...

2. Key 3 and Board of Directors  may attend meetings but  they are not members, have no vote, and cannot  chair or otherwise control meetings.

3. Quorum is 50% of all Executive Board members (not 50% of all those present). Members may assign proxies or send votes electronically.

Board should be representative, transparent, independent.

My $0.01

Edited by RememberSchiff
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1 hour ago, RememberSchiff said:

The Executive Council needs good people but guided with sound rules to effectively serve and oversee council operations.   Some thoughts

1. Post on Council website the names of all Executive Board Members (not all Councils do) , the Board Bylaws., meeting minutes, ...

2. Key 3 and Board of Directors  may attend meetings but  they are not members, have no vote, and cannot  chair or otherwise control meetings.

3. Quorum is 50% of all Executive Board members (not 50% of all those present). Members may assign proxies or send votes electronically.

Board should be representative, transparent, independent.

My $0.01

Absolutely spot on.  I'd like to add an additional call for meeting minutes.  I've been a volunteer off/on since the mid '80s and have yet to see EB minutes posted, distributed, or even discussed. 

Edited by desertrat77
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4. After National Annual Meeting, Executive Council should, at their next meeting, receive a written report from Council attendees. Report would reveal NAM announcements,  policy and rules changes, elections, votes taken (and their votes),  ...and be entered into minutes.

Edited by RememberSchiff
clarity
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Saw a letter from a council saying they were closing two scout shops, one national and one council run. Mentions there is a list at national with 18 stores plannned for closure due to the pending bankruptcy.

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NotNot sure this was discussed and it covers a couple of these threads, but there's an important question that needs addressing. If the BSA membership drops to between .5M and1M, what will the program and structure look like? I'm not saying it will go that way but it could get ugly. And even if it doesn't get that bad it would certainly help make the BSA stronger if it could deliver a good program with fewer resources and fewer people.

Random thought spewage: Fewer DE's covering the same territory. Fewer units will be near each other. All those units in rural areas will be typical. Neighborhood patrols? Roundtables stretched even thinner. How do you make training work?  At the council level, there will be a lot fewer paid staff. How about several DE's and one Senior DE? Everyone works with units. I've already mentioned my feelings about scout stores.

It always gets back to spend less money so you can focus on your true purpose.

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Random thought spewage: Fewer DE's covering the same territory. Fewer units will be near each other. All those units in rural areas will be typical. Neighborhood patrols? Roundtables stretched even thinner. How do you make training work?  At the council level, there will be a lot fewer paid staff. How about several DE's and one Senior DE? Everyone works with units. I've already mentioned my feelings about scout stores.

What about no DEs to work with units?

No offense to our DE friends - but just a hypthetical.  What would it look like if just about all unit support was done by volunteers?  Pros were there just for the really unusual or serious issues like YPT.

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3 minutes ago, MattR said:

Another idea: What would it look like if the DE's could do what they thought was right, what they hired in to do, rather than chase numbers? I've met really great people that were destroyed by the get-money-or-die directives.

Matt, you just described a DE who was my mentor when I was a camp staffer and OA vice lodge chief back in the '70s.  A great scouter, gentleman, humorist.  When he first become a DE, he was given the leeway to do what he thought was right, as you said.  Camporees, waterfront director at summer camp, OA, you name it, he was there and enjoying life.  He mixed well with the scouts and scouters and was respected by all.  Then the council got a new SE and things changed.  We didn't see the DE except at council meetings.  When I'd stop by the council office to type up and publish the lodge newsletter, he was always in his office surrounded by paperwork, looking a bit glum.  He resigned shortly thereafter and became a highly respected educator.  He continued in scouting at the unit level, with his sons. 

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4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

What about no DEs to work with units?

No offense to our DE friends - but just a hypthetical.  What would it look like if just about all unit support was done by volunteers?  Pros were there just for the really unusual or serious issues like YPT.

Last week, I posted about a hypothetical, alternate Scouting universe along these lines in the District Changes thread:

On 2/14/2020 at 1:07 AM, dkurtenbach said:

So, suppose that you've got ten or so troops within your local area.  That might be a three mile radius in a suburban area or a forty mile radius in a rural area.  You have maybe 25 youth in  your troop.  You know a couple of dozen good camping areas within an hour's drive, plus plenty of hiking and cycling trails, parks, lakes, natural areas, and other interesting places to go.  You're acquainted with most of the Scout leaders in your area because you get together for a barbecue every quarter, you organize an area camporee every spring, you visit each others' Eagle Scout Courts of Honor, and you see them at your council summer camp every year.  You register new Scouts and new leaders online and do a lot of training online. You get your uniforms and insignia and badges from ScoutStuff.org or when your Committee Chair makes a monthly run to the Scout Shop at council headquarters.  At least once a year you and your other unit adults spend a weekend at the council camp for training.  If you have a question about an administrative issue, you call or email Marie at council headquarters.

Your troop sells Christmas wreaths and has a pancake breakfast and bake sale as their main fundraisers.  Your troop holds a community Bike Rodeo for kids on July 4, runs a community food drive in the fall, holds Scout Sunday events, and leads a community stream cleanup in the spring.  Non-Scout friends are invited to every campout and event.

You introduce new parents and adult leaders to outdoor skills at a special campout in the fall and little training sessions at every campout.  You have the Handbook (as well as previous handbooks for the last forty years), plus the Fieldbook, and lots of other books on outdoor skills, plus Boys' Life and Scouting magazines.  Jenny subscribes to Backpacker magazine and gives a little presentation on the latest gear or techniques at every monthly troop leaders meeting.  You know several folks in the community with particular skills or expertise, and they come out to a campout or meeting from time to time to share what they know with the Scouts.  And you have a long list of YouTube videos on outdoor skills.  Your parents and leaders are encouraged to get training and certification in things like firearms and watercraft and first aid.

Every troop you know about is pretty much like yours, because those are the expectations set by the Scouting culture and training.

And you don't have a district, a district committee, a district executive, or commissioners.  Why would you?

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2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

Last week, I posted about a hypothetical, alternate Scouting universe along these lines in the District Changes thread:

I do remember reading that one.

 

2 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

And you don't have a district, a district committee, a district executive, or commissioners.  Why would you?

My thought wasn't even as radical as what you're suggesting.  As a name - I don't love the idea of a district committee.  I think it's too heavy handed a name.  But, I do think there is a role for some kind of "Scouting Community" at what approximates a district level.  I've been involved in a couple of districts in my time.  What I generally see in the functioning ones is that there is a core community of Scouters who form the backbone of what happens in that area.  Most have some sort of district role - but others might be in roles like a long time Scoutmaster or ASM. 

What I can easily see is something like a district committee existing.  A group of volunteers who get together to do a little city/county wide volunteering - perhaps setting up a camporee or regular trainings.  These people  are not necessarily tied to a specific unit anymore - but are there to volunteer at this broader level.  Yes, Scouting is about the Scouts - but there are some people who like to organize camporees and other larger events.  This community of folks isn't all that worried about JTE scores or FOS presentations or fundraising numbers.  But, they do care about regional programming and they do care about seeing healthy units.  Call it what you will, but it seems a lot like the programming, commissioner, and membership functions of what we currently call the district committee.  

But, noticeably absent is the district executive.  There's no paid person who's chasing FOS presentations, popcorn sales, membership numbers, budgets, whatever.  It's just volunteers helping volunteers.  To your point @MattR - they could hire a paid person to do some of that.  I do worry that as soon as that happens, now you've got to have money to pay for them.

At the council level, there's a few paid folks who hold down the fort.  Someone to process membership stuff - though it's pretty easy because 99% is online now.  Someone to man the small Scout store to sell uniforms, patches, books, etc.  The Scout Store isn't trying to sell camping gear or other add ons in order to drive up sales.  Maybe a few people who do fundraising from big donors.  It's a goal now to have a Camp with an endowment that keeps it solvent and pays for upgrades forever.  No more chasing people for money to keep camp open - you don't have to because Camp is already paid for.

Edited by ParkMan
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@ParkMan one function of a well run council or district needs to survive... new leader training. Done well. Considering many units at the Boy Scout level fail to properly run the program as things are currently(boring program, little youth leadership, advancement driven, that would only get worse in a more decentralized Boy Scouts. The strong units would continue to thrive, the weak units would get weaker. 

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