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On 6/27/2021 at 2:49 PM, ALongWalk said:

I don’t know the answer on how to get there but somehow the focus of field staff has to get away from fundraising to program. DE’s and FD’s should be intently focused on program but they are more focused on finance….again, I don’t know how to get there but I really believe that is the ultimate answer.

I disagree. This is where we go off the rails. We volunteers should be intently focused on program. DE's need to make sure the paperwork/e-submission goes smoothly, and they should find us CO's and donors to help us do what we do.

This is no small order. The scoutbook MBC list is a moving target, and getting my adults on it has been such a hassle. Registration/recharter is fraught with pitfalls. (E.g., they lost my '02 training records for SM basics.)

When the SE's are on the ball, they are filling camps, applying for grants, and getting donors. Then, there is every accident and CSA -- all of which are going straight to them (ideally after the police have been notified). Then, they will take point on camp sales. If they are successful in finding top-dollar buyers, expect the LC boards to increase their salary.

Anyway, there's a load that these guys have to execute ... program is not one of them.

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It would be interesting to see, by council, the amount of money they're putting into the sexual abuse fund compared to their annual salary budget. 

The problem with ideas like this along with Defund The Police is that proposals without details come off as emotional venting. What are the staffing positions? What are their responsibilities? How muc

We have far too many councils given our numbers.  GSUSA has more scouts and half the number of councils.  What to reduce overhead costs… merge councils.  Keep districts relatively untouched.  I would

Council staff does seem excessive. The few interactions I've had at the Council office left me feeling like there is a lot of bloat. That and they seem to not mind the appearance of being a high-cost operation. The office dress code seems to be semi-formal, suit and tie. Which for a Scouting organization strikes me as very odd and out of place.

I was there once when the entire staff was headed to the conference room for a big lunch, I'm sure on the Council's dime. No one was brown-nagging it, they had ordered a ton of food from somewhere. The building was recently renovated, fancy new lobby, all modern and high-end, wall-mounted TVs, exposed log beams to make it look like a luxury cabin. 

And then when they say they'll pay for something for scouts, like the trophies we were promised for the District PWD, instead they give the kids plastic Harry Potter cups that they probably got for free somewhere.

When I was trying to get some lawn signs to promote the Pack around town, I had to go through 3 different people to get them. How many people are involved with marketing over there?

50 people on salary and the only guy I ever see come out to anything local is the FOS guy looking for donations.

It's all run like a fancy corporate office, and I'm not sure how much of that is needed to truly function but I suspect they could do without a fair amount of it.

Other that the person who files our charter paperwork each year and a few other folks, I'm honestly not sure what most of the rest of them do.

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It would be interesting to see, by council, the amount of money they're putting into the sexual abuse fund compared to their annual salary budget. 

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3 hours ago, qwazse said:

I disagree. This is where we go off the rails. We volunteers should be intently focused on program. DE's need to make sure the paperwork/e-submission goes smoothly, and they should find us CO's and donors to help us do what we do.

This is no small order. The scoutbook MBC list is a moving target, and getting my adults on it has been such a hassle. Registration/recharter is fraught with pitfalls. (E.g., they lost my '02 training records for SM basics.)

When the SE's are on the ball, they are filling camps, applying for grants, and getting donors. Then, there is every accident and CSA -- all of which are going straight to them (ideally after the police have been notified). Then, they will take point on camp sales. If they are successful in finding top-dollar buyers, expect the LC boards to increase their salary.

Anyway, there's a load that these guys have to execute ... program is not one of them.

That's the way it has been. But maybe it needs to change. Top leadership being completed disconnected from program has been, in my opinion, a slow building disaster for BSA. I think senior leadership needs to have program on their dashboard so that they can better provide support to volunteers in the field. Focusing on fundraising totally detaches them from what scouts is all about. It hasn't been working. At all. 

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It is my hope with the national bankruptcy and LC contribution to the settlement as well as decreased number of scouts it will cause LC's to realize that really very few staff are needed. Have a great web site with all info/forms/scout shop items and you are golden. Very lean staff needed=less fees and fundraising. 

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6 minutes ago, 1980Scouter said:

Have a great web site with all info/forms/scout shop items and you are golden. Very lean staff needed=less fees and fundraising. 

One of my jobs as an engineer in an manufacture/ industrial plant is drive what you describe. We can drive productivity by studying the process, giving people the tools, systems, etc to literally do more with less. Don’t cut willy-nilly. Study the work process, determine what is needed, and find the needs with the staffing reduction. We do a 5 year pay out. Automate with the budget being about a 20% rate of return. This stops a lot of “pie in the sky” since we have a budget. It also stops “just lay off the people a d so more with less”. Do more, fewer people, but have great supporting systems. 

I’d love to take it on.  

Real world ideas - no paper forms allowed, Scoutbook that is integrated with all of the other systems, etc. I’d buy BlackPug and really integrate it. Boom! It would be paid for by the savings. 

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4 hours ago, qwazse said:

I disagree. This is where we go off the rails. We volunteers should be intently focused on program. DE's need to make sure the paperwork/e-submission goes smoothly, and they should find us CO's and donors to help us do what we do.

This is no small order. The scoutbook MBC list is a moving target, and getting my adults on it has been such a hassle. Registration/recharter is fraught with pitfalls. (E.g., they lost my '02 training records for SM basics.)

When the SE's are on the ball, they are filling camps, applying for grants, and getting donors. Then, there is every accident and CSA -- all of which are going straight to them (ideally after the police have been notified). Then, they will take point on camp sales. If they are successful in finding top-dollar buyers, expect the LC boards to increase their salary.

Anyway, there's a load that these guys have to execute ... program is not one of them.

I didn’t write my post very well. I agree with you. I guess what I am trying to say is that raising funds for FOS should not be the focus. Doing what they can do to help unit leaders provide best program possible is what they should be doing. 

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14 hours ago, ALongWalk said:

I didn’t write my post very well. I agree with you. I guess what I am trying to say is that raising funds for FOS should not be the focus. Doing what they can do to help unit leaders provide best program possible is what they should be doing. 

In our council, volunteers, not professionals, raise funds for FOS.

The more that we've gone electronic, the more manpower we've needed. Part of the problem is that we're tracking too  much. Part of it is because we believe that we can increase accountability for training requirements. It's creating a lot more things to key in when before a slip of paper would do.

I want my DE's (and SE's) doing what you couldn't pay me to do.  And since I don't come cheap, I figure they're earning their keep. That said, I know the pay gap causes no small amount of consternation among entry-level pros. One always wonders if one could have a more productive organization by cutting individual compensation at the top by 1/4 and quadrupling the number of pros.

@mrjohns2, their IT group has an E-mail. Send them your credentials. Enjoy listening to the crickets.

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22 hours ago, 1980Scouter said:

Wow that must be a well funded LC. The SE salary is crazy!!!!!

We have said the same thing

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19 hours ago, yknot said:

That's the way it has been. But maybe it needs to change. Top leadership being completed disconnected from program has been, in my opinion, a slow building disaster for BSA. I think senior leadership needs to have program on their dashboard so that they can better provide support to volunteers in the field. Focusing on fundraising totally detaches them from what scouts is all about. It hasn't been working. At all. 

When my family was brand new to scouting, my husband and I went to a council event because there was a contest to name the new district and we were told my husband's submission was in the finals so we should come for the announcement. It was one of our earliest interactions with anything above just our pack. Before the announcement of the winner, a council employee passed out bracelets that had the acronym SIFTS on it and went on to explain that we should wear these to remind ourselves that: Scouting, It's For The Scouts or SIFTS. He talked about how as scouters, our focus will tend to wander toward other things, but he wants to remind us why we are really here... My husband and I were looking at each other with total confusion. What else could it possibly be for? Why would we go through all this, wear these silly uniforms, do this annoying online training, why would we do ANY of it except for to pour into the lives of these kids? It blew my mind that that was something that needed to ever be said... and now we're years into this scouting life and it all makes so much sense. I think that MANY of the people that are not volunteering on a local level and actually getting to know scouts are scouting for a whole list of other reasons. Power trips, arrested development, it's a place they fit in, or they just love "bug juice", I really don't know but I think that way, way too often the scouts and their experience are not even part of the consideration.

An aside: my husband did not win the naming contest, which is fine, but someone employed by the council did and whispered conversation I heard led me to believe no other name had been entertained. So wish they hadn't played games and invited us to the dinner or we maybe could have started our relationship with council with a better taste in our mouths. 

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Be careful what you wish for. My council is down to 1 Professional and the office staff. 2 consultants, retired pros, are currently running things on a temporary basis until we hire a SE. I can tell you right now, it is a mess.

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We have far too many councils given our numbers.  GSUSA has more scouts and half the number of councils.  What to reduce overhead costs… merge councils.  Keep districts relatively untouched.  I would love to see a 1 to 15 or 1 to 25 ratio between SEs and DEs.  Right now it seems like we have too many SEs and not enough DEs. 

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41 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

We have far too many councils given our numbers.  GSUSA has more scouts and half the number of councils.  What to reduce overhead costs… merge councils.  Keep districts relatively untouched.  I would love to see a 1 to 15 or 1 to 25 ratio between SEs and DEs.  Right now it seems like we have too many SEs and not enough DEs. 

This is all true. This will allow removal of many redundancies. It should be the next re-architecture after bankruptcy. 

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I’ve held Council, District and Unit volunteer positions in an urban Council of relatively small geographic size.  If I was the guy in charge… I would eliminate District Executives.  Never made sense to me to have a revolving entry level person as the point of contact for Units, donors, potential CO’s, etc.  Examples:  In my District during the last 35 years, I recall only one new traditional unit that a DE started that lasted longer than 1 to 3 years.  School ‘talks’ typically not productive.  Fund raising by a DE… not worth the time for dollars received.    

In lieu of DE, I would have an experienced Council professional(s) in charge of ‘sales’, ie deal with Institutional Heads to start new Units and work with capable District volunteer to save the troubled ones.  An office-based Customer Service staff to handle Unit administrative issues like  registration, Eagle application, etc.  And of course...  the fund raiser concentrating on businesses and foundations

To free up staff time I would …  Eliminate District Committees such as membership, camping and advancement (except the Eagle Board representative) because they require staff support and accomplish little.  Remaining Committees members and Commissioners consolidated where possible and meet 3 to 6 times a year, not monthly.  Fewer and better Round-tables (aka training opportunities).   Fewer meetings amongst the the professionals in the office... My Council staff has spent an inordinate amount of time in “meetings”...  I can’t imagine what’s new or different every week.

I worked for two companies thru Chapter 11 and in both cases, it made management decide… what is really important to accomplish the ‘mission’ with the budget available.  All those extraneous duties, meetings, reports and expenditures when times were good…  no more.   (And salary cuts for the higher paid executives)

I hope the BSA and Councils take this time to reorganize well

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