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FScouter

Committee Votes

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There was some discussion in another thread about who is and is not allowed to vote in the unit committee. If the troop is boy-led, then the Patrol Leaders Council does the voting. The committee would then assist the PLC in carrying out the things the PLC voted on. What kinds of things do typical committees actually vote on?

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The PLC comes up with themes, events, and things that they want to participate in. The SM and/or SPL present these to the committee for the resourcing and practicality of the idea. Some ideas the committee votes on are: How/where to get troop T-shirts, Fundraisers, Budget, Transportation, Membership, Equipment buying, and community service opportunities. The PLC and the committee do not compete. Good communication between the scouts and the committee set the troop up for success. Get the committee to come to troop meetings to see their resourcing in action.

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FScouter,

In response to your question...different committees vote on different things. The important thing to know is that they don't need to vote on anything at all.

 

nowhere in the troop committeee operations guide or in the training materials for troop and pack committees does it say that a committee operates by majority rule.

 

The recommended method of operation is that the committee chair (through cooperation with the Cubmaster or Scoutmaster) makes assignments to committee members who complete the tasks and report back at the monthly committee meetings.

 

As you correctly point out, in a troop situation decisions are made by the Patrol Leaders Council, the responsibility of the committee is to help support those decisions.

 

Individual committees can choose to wade through parlimentary procedures,, but it is far less efficient and creates longer meetings.

 

Bob White

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Bob White, Good Call! I never realized that the committee was not a voting body. But I guess voting is just a way of getting a concensus. As an ASM I knew that I was not a member of the Committee and I always assumed that meant I did not have a vote. Its going to be a real eye opener when the committee learns that they don't either. Sometimes the committee thinks it's role is a governing body.

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Every unit committee in which I have participated operated by consensus without formal votes. In twelve years as an adult volunteer I have seen only one formal vote taken and that was to resolve real differences of opinion. For the narrow issues that a unit committee normally deals with, treating the committee less formally will be more efficient.

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I wish I had thought of this a little while back. However, it does make sense. I'm going to work more on getting more decisions to the PLC (without having the committee to officially ok them). Also, our committee meetings are dreadfully long (1 1/2 hours plus) because instead of giving reports, every single item is discussed or taken care of right there. I've seen times where we've sat and waited for five minutes while someone fills out certain paperwork before we move on. Back when I was committee chair, our meetings lasted 45-60 minutes and we got a lot more done. I delegated most everything to be done and assumed it would be completed without having the committee review it time and again. I need to reed the committee guidebook again.

 

One question. When it comes to disbursing funds for purchases, who does the approval for that?

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I am not aware of a great deal of specific guidance about who approves disbursements. Here is my take on things.

 

Budgets and expenses for specific outings are the joint responsibility of the PLC and the adults in charge of the outing, if the outing is supposed to be self supporting.

 

Units ideally should have an annual budgeting process that estimates revenues from various sources and disbursements for various needs. Committees are obliged to review budgets and approve expenditures. It probably is not feasible for committees to review and approve every expense or check to be written. In my mind the most effective way to operate is to set limits on overall expense within a category and possibly the size of individual checks requiring committee approval.

 

For example, if a unit has an equipment purchase budget, once that is established, the Quartermaster (scout) and Equipment Coordinator (adult on committee) should have the latitude to expend funds with no further approval. If the QM and EC want to spend significant funds for something outside the budget, they should come back for approval.

 

Likewise the SM and CC should probably have separate budgets for purely administrative expenses such as postage and reproduction. It doesn't make sense to have the SM come back for approval for every postage stamp.

 

Our troop chooses to fund all training expenses except mileage to and from training events. The committee approves individuals going to different training events and the rest is automatic.

 

Receipts for all outlays should be routinely required for all reimbursements, even if they are within budget.

 

So, to answer the question more broadly, if a unit has a sensible budgeting process in place, individual reimbursements should not normally come to the attention of the committee, but should be handled routinely by the treasurer.

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eisely

My understanding on Troop expenditures is as follows: For outing the Patrol members give their fees in cash to the Quartermaster (Grubmaster) who then purchases the food. The Scoutmaster has a petty cash fund (approved by the committee) to handle the small items. According to the Committee Book the Scoutmaster recommends payment and the Committee approves the expenditures.

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The guidelines for spending unit funds are outlined in the Pack Leaders Handbook and the Troop committee Guidebook. In the Troop Committee guide book pg.15 it says under duties for Treasurer: "Handle all troop funds. Pay bills on the recommendation of the Scoutmaster and authorization of the troop committee."

On Pg 23 under Troop Bank Account it says among other tings " An account that requires two signatures on each check, those of the committee Treasurer and Scoutmaster, is recommended. Two sebtences later it says "Disbursements are made on the recommendation of the Scoutmaster and authorization of the troop committee."

 

I hope this helps. If I have misrepresented the facts in any way I apologize.

 

Sheepishly and with great humility,

Bob White

 

 

 

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I am not disagreeing with Bob, since his citations are correct. I don't see that a well functioning committee needs to approve every check when a reasonable budgeting procedure is in place. I can't think of any organization, private or governmental, where the management committee, board of directors, or legislature approves every check once a budget is established.

 

The kinds of procedures I have described are consistent with the guidelines Bob cites. They are merely elaborations to facilitate action.

 

Scouter Paul,

 

There is no over riding requirement that I can think of that requires outings to be funded in any particular way. The steps you describe are consistent with outings being self funding. There also is no requirement that a petty cash fund be established, although the guidelines envision that as a possibility. Personally I would recommend against a petty cash fund, unless the scoutmaster has a lot of ongoing expenses. Accounting for petty cash properly is another accounting exercise that can be avoided if there is not petty cash fund.

 

I do recommend that all outing funds be passed through the troop treasury. This imposes an additional accounting burden on the treasurer, but I think it goes with the territory. When you have multiple outings with different adults and scouts involved, having all funds paid into and disbursed back by the treasurer adds an additional layer of responsibility. In those threads where questions of financial controls came up as an issue, all the money was always under the control of a single individual. Control of money represents power and some people get on power trips. Better to establish reasonable simple procedures to avoid all suspicion of chicanery or mismanagement.

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Caution: If the treasurer and SM are in the same household, you may want to get someone other than the SM for signature. This way you don't have a conflict between committee and who authorized. This is also sensitive like having the committee chairman and SM in the same household.

 

My CO requires a monthly budget report and a plan for the money. Whether it is fund raising or donations. A budget is needed. After the planning session of the PLC and the plan is approved by the committee, this should start your budget planning. That way you know how much you will need to cover their program.

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Thanks eisely. Our Troop and Pack have found the record keeping hassels of a petty cash fund to be easier than writing numerous small checks. An example would be if one of the Leaders had a propane tank filled up on the way to an outing. It would be easier for the SM to reimburse him the $10.00 than to have the Treasurer write him a check and get a second signature. There is a certain amount of Trust with the SM and the Committee regarding the funds.

 

Regarding Committee Authorization of payment we have authorized the SM or Committee chair to authorize any payments up to $50.00. Any amount larger needs committee approval. This seems to work well for us.

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The idea of setting a threshold where committee approval is required is a sound one. One could carry it a step further and say that the SM is limited to one such check per month or some such, assuming the committee meets monthly.

 

The observation that the SM and treasurer should be from separate households is also sound. The guidelines recommend, but do not require, a dual signature checking account. I advise that dual signatures be required on all checks. If you have a dual signature account, then you really need three people on the signature card, the treasurer and most likely the SM and the CC.

 

I am glad that ScouterPaul has found the idea of a petty cash fund to be useful. This is a matter of local preference. I have never been in a unit that used a petty cash fund.

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So this may not belong in "The Patrol Method" and my deserve a new thread, but as long as we're on the subject of the rules governing the committee and such, perhaps you can help me out.

 

Over the past several years, the ASMs in our troop (I'm one of them) have been accepted into committee meetings and the lines between the two positions blurred. While the ASMs realized we were not part of the committee, we attended meetings and voiced our opinions on what came up. In short, what was originally a "committee" meeting became more of a "leaders" meeting.

 

A few months ago, a former SM returned to the area and became a member of the Troop committee. In an attempt to return the troop to going "by the book," the chain of command was gone over at summer camp and those present (I was not one of them) agreed on the roles of each position. A few weeks later when we gathered for a "committee" meeting, there was an incident at summer camp that needed to be discussed by the committee. Now I'm the biggest fan the chain of command has, and I agree with what the other leaders decided. However, as soon as this particular incident came up, the former SM stated that the ASMs would have to leave. This upset just about all of us, as we felt we had a right to voice our opinion on the matter.

 

Do the ASMs have a voice in the troop? If not, what do we have that CMs lack? The lines have blurred and I don't know where it should be drawn.

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captin kirk:

 

Whenever I attended at committee mtg I considered myself as a guest and that I would make sure that the committee chair knew that I had something to present prior to the meeting.

I would think (and Bob please correct if I'm wrong) but I would bring my concerns to the S.M. let him address the committee. Currently the ASM's in our troop have seperate meetings aside from committee mtgs.

As far as your summer camp incident it should be dealt by the S.M.'s unless or course it something pretty serious.

 

 

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