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Voting Rights on Troop Committee

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Officially No.. You are the program, not the committee.


That said. Some units allow SM & ASM in any way, but it is up to them.


Even without a vote, SM & ASM opinion should hold ALOT of wait as how a committee will vote. They are the program, therefore their view of how things work will give the committee ideas on when a policy is not working to change it.


Plus the SM can take alot of those policies away from the committee, by making sure their PLC is doing alot of the policy rules..


OK, they still don't get to vote with the PLC.. But, they can at guide at least to the point of "What can we do to make sure what happened on the last camping trip does not happen again."


If PLC is making policy on the program, committee then only focuses policy on financial, paperwork, adult relations and things of that nature.

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"The Scoutmaster is not actually a member of the Committee, and has no vote" Page 33 of the 1998 edition of the Troop Committee Guidebook.

However as a SM I vote on the Committee and in fact they look to me for guidance on many issues.


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A SM doesn't need to vote on the Committee. If he/she doesn't like the direction the Committee wishes to have the program take, he/she just moves on down the road. If the Committee decides to veer off from the accepted BSA program then it's probably not such a bad idea to be heading for the door anyway.


I was a crew adviser (NL) and the Committee made some decisions I couldn't go along with and so when they announced their plans, I announced mine as well.


When one has only so many hours in the day to dedicate to helping youth, one has to be careful so as to not waste them.


Your mileage may vary,




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My sons SM is at it again. He now has voting rights(!), and all members, boys included, have to agree to and sign the new Committee policy bylaws form where he's granted voting authority on the Comm. Agreement to follow the policy as written is mandatory for membership in the troop.

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In a perfect world...


The Scoutmaster gives his report on the program, to include upcoming events.


The Committee takes his report, breaks it down into elements, such as transportation for the next campout, buying awards for the next COH, deciding if the COH will be snacks or a potluck dinner, and so on...


And then, BY CONSENSUS, the Committee resources the program.


Again, in a perfect world...


When the SM has a program event that may be a tad too far away for the current price of gas, he brings it to the CC with plenty of lead time. If the Committee tells the SM to take that back to the PLC and have another go at it, it's not a deal-breaker.


Two-way, friendly, communication ... the SM and the CC having each others' back.


In this particular case, option 1) do it, option 2) have a long, dispassionate, not emotionally invested talk with the Chartered Organization Rep, or 3) transfer. It's apparent the SM in question has already got an accomplished fact with the CC, so there is not much wiggle room left.

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The actual section from the "TROOP COMMITTEE GUIDEBOOK"


Troop Committee Meetings



The committee meeting is attended by all committee members and the Scoutmaster. Occasionally you may want to invite guests such as your chartered organization representative and unit commissioner.


The Scoutmaster is not actually a member of the troop committee, and has no vote. The committee should not forget that its primary responsibility is supporting the troop program. The importance of mutual cooperation between the two groups of leaders is critical for the smooth and successful operation of the troop.


The support and administration of an active troop requires the participation of every committee member. Every member should have a working assignment. This will not only help the troop to operate effectively, but will assure team spirit and their attendance at meetings. When people feel that it doesn't matter if they attend or not, often they will choose to do something else.


I actually do not understand why the SM would want a vote unless it is a small committee and there have been issues. He would speak to the committee and "sell" his program but as noted, he should not be voting. If you take issue with his voting then get a copy of the book and talk to the CC and COR.


Now, having written that, I really think it depends on the Troop and the situation. In our Troop, a parent from every family has a vote. We are not so big that it is an issue and our bylaws note that a quorum is anything over 50% of the participants present. We register an adult from each family and so each has a vote and I would not exclude the SM as he is also an active parent. Other units will have other reasons pro or con. The fact that our CO is so heavily involved in our unit means that nothing is going to happen that shouldn't and no individuals will ever force something that the majority does not support. I guess time will tell and maybe down the road when we have a larger membership we will address things differently but at this point we are successful and pleased with the way the unit operates. I will also note that the SM is an Eagle, came up though a great program that was run well (properly?) and is a firm believer in boy led units. When he speaks we all listen and rather intently, he is very good at what he does and we can't imagine not supporting him. JMO

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Yah, E-Mtns, it just depends, eh?


Like Hawkrod says, if da committee is an open one made up of all da parents in the troop, then it's pretty natural that the SM would have a vote just like any other parent, eh? I can't see why you'd disenfranchise the fellow just because he's doing more work than anybody else!


Of course, the BSA guidebooks presuppose a different committee arrangement, one where committee members are carefully recruited and selected, eh? In that arrangement, the committee does not consist of all parents, but only those selected (either by the committee with da CO's approval, or by the CO more directly). That's a more typical board of directors approach, and in that setup the SM usually sits as a (non-voting) ex officio member.


Then there are lots of other ways to skin da cat. ;)


So why don't yeh give us a bit more background, and maybe we can give yeh a bit more guidance. You say the SM is "at it again". What's the "it" exactly?


Many units will expect new members to agree to da unit's rules/bylaws/whatever up front. Just like the BSA on its applications. Being clear up front about things like how money and fundraising is handled is important to avoid problems later.


At da same time, most of us here aren't hugely fond of adding lots of nonsense and falderol to unit bylaws and such. Properly speaking, yeh want adults to play nice with each other and work together by consensus for the benefit of the boys, as John-in-KC says. Scout troops are usually small enough that doin' a whole bunch of procedural rules and such doesn't make much sense. A few are OK, but more than that and folks start to focus on that stuff rather than on the kids.


So tell us, what's really goin' on?




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The unit I am currently involved with has had both models of committee memberships. When my father was committee chair back in the day, it was developed into a properly functioning troop committee that was more or less by the book and conformed to the ideal rather more closely than is perhaps typical. Then after him it degenerated into a "parents committee" where none of the members had any real responsibilities and it was rather seriously dysfunctional because no one saw themself as a Scout leader, only just a parent. The troop spirraled into being a fine youth club with only a vague gloss of being a Scout troop, plenty of good times were had, and even some Eagles were minted, but it had little to do with anyone at all's ideal notion of Scouting.


Currently we have no committee at all, if I am honest about it. In theory we have 3 or 4 names on the charter, but the committee does not exist in reality. The Scoutmaster runs the the program and the troop. Maybe down the road some of the parents can be brought in to staff the committee, but at the moment that isn't likely. Truth be told I would rather have only a nominal troop committee than a committee of parental busy bodies unwilling to buy into the program.


Your SM should always take part in advising the committee and should express his opinions to the extent those are welcome. In point of fact the majority of decisions are either made on the fly by the SM or are made by the SM and then approved by committee in most troops. Yet I can think of no good reason for the SM to be a voting member. That makes as little sense as the SM doing BOR.

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I should have noted that our Troop is relatively new and fairly small. At this point we are probably lucky if we can get 6 people to a meeting on a regular basis! LOL If everybody (actual positions) actually showed up I am sure the CC would have a heart attack and fall dead on the spot!

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A wise Committee Chair recognizes the fact that nobody gets to vote on the committee. They will try to lead by consensus.


But yes, a Scoutmaster is not a committee member nor a BOR member (for his troop). Yes, some troop may make squirrels committee members, non-registered parents of Scouts or even Scoutmasters but that doesn't mean they are supposed to.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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One thing about Scouting is that if you don't like the way things are done in one troop for a buck you can move to another!


I'm wondering what "it" is that your SM is doing?

Does he work with a group of boys mentoring them and trying to help them through the program?

Is he spending countless hours taking the boys camping and attending meetings?

Does he spend his own money for transportation, equipment, and supplies?


You say that all Scouts have to agree with the new bylaws. Well no they don't, they can easily go somewhere else.

You say these bylaws were approved by the committee, apparently they agreed or they would not have passed new bylaws.


What type of committee does your troop have? Is it an open committee with all parents voting or a appointed committee where only actual committee members attend and vote? (I know what the book says but the title says "Troop Committee GUIDELINES" and thus IMO it can be treated as a guide not a steadfast rule).

Are you part of the committee?

Inquiring minds want to know ;)

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"A wise Committee Chair recognizes the fact that nobody gets to vote on the committee. They will try to lead by consensus. "


I've sat in on many committee meetings, and the only time I saw a real vote take place was in regards to a large expenditure for a new trailer. I say real vote, because one unit committee always comes to a concensus but then for some reason takes a vote. I've never actually seen a nay vote on anything.

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Not a troop committee, but an OA exec board. When I was an officer, we always, stress ALWAYS, had one member who would vote "No" when it would be a unanimous decision, even if he was the one who proposed the motion or seconded, b/c he believed that there shold never be a unanimous vote, there should always be discussion and a vote of dissent to prove that there was discussion. at least that was his rationale.

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