Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Thu, 17 Feb 1994 22:47:10 CST
Olan Watkins a while back mentioned that there were 10 District Executives
in their District over a six year period, and that he wanted to know if
this was "a trend" or "a concern". He noted that this has causes a lot
of turmoil because in each case, they have to "break the pro in".
Kathie mentioned that perhaps that District was being used as a "stepping
stone" District, in which good professionals are sent their enroute to a
Senior District Executive, District Director or Field Director position.
Let me place my old Paraprofessional hat on and explain what could have
happened here and to answer the three leading questions....
1. "Why don't they stay longer?": First, understand that the new District
Executive is there for a provisional 90 day period. This gives the local
Council time to fully look at the person before allowing him or her to
continue in that District or any other. It *could be* that after looking
at this person during this time, there was not a "match" which would
ensure success at the District program level and the Director of Field Services
or the Scout Executive simply reassigned him or her to a District where his
success would be assured. Second, many DEs are disppointed that the BSA's
District Executive position is *NOT* a position that deals with youth members
as opposed to serving as a volunteer. Many folks getting into the profession
find themselves resolved to dealing with "adults that they wouldn't associate
with otherwise" instead of the "camporee work, the going to the unit and
helping the kids" that they expected professional work to be...a "fulltime
Scoutmaster". Third, understand that many of the professionals we are getting
have NO or LITTLE Scouting background and the immersion of those folks
into "the world of Scouting" is too great and many "freak out". Finally,
it could be that this person (or persons) found a BETTER job in the
"real world" and merely used the DE's position to find out whose hiring and
(who's hiring)...and who's not. Many "District Scout Executives" do just
that, and leave before their first year is up.
I have steered clear from the monetary aspects of the job, because they
know going into the job that Scouting is NOT a money maker, and they KNOW
what they earning before they sign the contract.
2. "So why don't we get someone that KNOWS Scouting?" : Up until the early
70s, the BSA wanted former Scouts and Explorers (and in particular, Eagle
Scouts) to serve as professionals (there was an unwritten "rule" that
the first priorities for vacancies in local Councils went to Eagle Scouts).
After then, the BSA started on their "money kick", and started employing
professionals with marketing, finance and accounting backgrounds because
"That's where the money to be had is". The BSA downplayed the idea of
the Eagle Scout, because they were cranking them out in higher numbers and
the number of professional positions were not cranking out in proportion.
Later on, the BSA used a new method of hiring, a scientific way to "weed out
those that are not fully committed to the program" (in other words, not
smart enough to understand and pass the test) and we got a lot of professionals
that have a sociology or philosophy/religion background instead. Many of
these folks were between jobs, so that the DE's position became a "way
station" between more important jobs.
If you GET SOMEONE with a significant Scouting background, most Districts
do all they can to retain that person as long as possible. Note that unless the
Executive really LOVES the area, they *will* have to choose and move onward
and upward AT LEAST every three years.
3. "Does he (she) HAFTA go??" : No. The District you are in is ranked by
that local Council just like Councils are ranked. The Professional, at the
end of his third year, sits with his Field Director and the Area Director and
decides as part of the National Executive Institute's NEI III program:
-- to STAY in his present position until a position comes up
in the SAME TYPE of District in his Region
-- to STAY in his present position until a Field Director or
similar position comes open in his LOCAL COUNCIL (typically,
within another three or four years)
-- to LEAVE his present position for another position in the
SAME TYPE or BETTER District either in the SAME or ANOTHER
-- to LEAVE the profession for another job and agree to return
to the profession in the same Region (after the three year
to five year period, the person attains a type of "tenure"
which allows them to leave the profession briefly and to
later return. Many professionals do this, as a form of
The professional may agree to stay in the District where he'd been serving
(and there are plenty of DEs that do just that, either because they love the
area or the people or both....), but if he does NOT accept a third position
offered to him by the Region, he CAN be removed from professional service
at the option of the Region and the Council's Scout Executive.
Many professionals in that role, either have "worked themselves up" to this
District, and decides to retire there; or wants to stay there no matter what
and are doing a great job. And yes (*taking hat off*), there are some
District volunteers that have "insured the retention" of the professional
Using the above, here's what I think happened in your District's case.
This is based on what happened in a District where I used to live at because
natually, I don't know EXACTLY what happened there in your District:
In '88, you had a great DE and he got promoted to Field Director. The
Region got three new applicants and your Council received one of them.
This person, an accounting major, stayed with the local Council for the
first year, and then accepted a position with the leading bank in the District
(which, by the way, was the bank that your District Chair serves as President
In '89, you *finally* got a new DE. He stayed all of two months. Nobody
knows where he went to. You then went for almost four months before you got
a new DE, whom was shuttled off to another District right before the start of
the new program year. In October, you got another person, and in December,
at the conclusion of the District's banquet, he announces that he is leaving
In '90, you get a new DE just in time to do the SME campaign. After the
campaign, he resigns and serves as the Executive Director of the American
Heart Association chapter. In the meantime, your Field Director (the former
DE of your District) reluctantly agrees to serve as interim DE until one
can be hired. One was hired in August (hey, the selection process takes a
LONG time, believe me!).
In '91, this guy was recalled to active duty for Desert Storm (the BSA lost
28 Executives this way!), and was replaced in two months by another guy.
This guy was suddenly removed for no reason (there were rumors, but nobody
would say for sure why he left), and another guy served for nine months.
At the December, 1991 Recognition Banquet, it was announced that Shelia,
a former Exploring Executive in the Council, is going to take this guy's
place as DE come January.
After the fall roundup, Shelia leaves your Council for a neigboring Council
and you get another guy. He stays until after he comes back from NEI I,
in which he announces during a District Meeting that he's quitting. The
District Chair and Commissioner tries to keep him there, but he's history.
You get another person and he stays for the end of the year and most of '93.
This is the situation you are in presently, whereby a neighboring District
Executive is serving as "District Executive, multiple person" (DE/mp).
This person lives almost fifty miles away, and only can come to your
District for key District events because he's running a District of his own
So, it is quite possible to have 10 or more District-level Executives withi
a six year period of time. As you can see here, it doesn't have to be
a negative situation, but it CERTAINLY isn't the BEST possible situation
for professionals. We want to stay in a District for _at_least_ three or
four years (or at least in the same Council), but circumstances don't always
(*hat off*) We need to pay our professionals what they are worth, we
need to keep their collective feet to the fire, make them more responsive
to us volunteers, and finally, we need to recognize them when they do well
for us....and FIRE THEM when they don't!!!
In those ways, the professional cadre of the BSA will once again be something
that we look up to and respect instead of looking down at and despise.
Sorry you're having problems out there, Olan....be assured that your Region
and the local Council are NOT taking the attitude that "hey, that's _their_
problem!", because it IS their problem....your District's NOT producing, and
that's NOT good for the local Council NOR the BSA!
(nor the volunteers and the youth in that District that are suffering as
a lack of "expertise".)
Mike L. Walton
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City