settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 10:40:17 -0500
Sorry for the late response, Brother Randy....I'm still trying to move stuff
in and try to arrange for future work, as well as Jamboree and other plans.
Brother Randy asked about the BSA's restriction on the Rules and Regulations
and the Charter and Bylaws publications (and other publications) to Council
Executive discretion only:
>Why this is to BSA's advantage?
Two ways, the most important of which is that it keeps their "core
documents" out of the reach of those that would tend to do "harm to the BSA"
and allows them to update the documents without having to print entire new
editions to the field.
To which he later responded and asked:
>Reason #2 makes some sense to me. Especially if the R&R are updated >more
than once a year.
It doesn't make sense to me, because most of the policies are not updated
for at least two years....most are discussed and ratified during the
biannual National Council Meetings. A lot of "policies" are not "rules" nor
"regulations", but rather "this is the way we're going to handle this",
which doesn't belong in the R&R but rather in sets of other BSA booklets and
documents which are for the most part shared between National staffers and
local Council Executives, whom have the responsibility for explaining it to
their employees, ignoring the policy, or developing their own "coping plans"
for dealing with the problem or issue.
>However I'm still not that sure I understand the reasoning behind Reason
>#1. The sense I get from that is that a perfect example of a person who
>would do "harm to the BSA" would be (overblown example here :) "The
>president of the San Francisco ACLU who is trying to sue to get BSA to
>accept a lesbian atheist as a scout leader and her niece as a cub scout".
>(Yes I know the ACLU is organized on the state level rather than the city
>level) How is this person's life make more difficult by this limitation
>on the Charter and Bylaws?
Mainly because it limits access to those that the BSA gives access to.
Let's use your example. If the President of the San Francisco ACLU wants
copies of the BSA's Rules and Regulations as well as a copy of the Charter
and Bylaws, they would have to write the local Council Executive, whom would
request the appropriate booklets from Risk Management at National and at the
same time, "tip off" the reason for the request by stating specifically (as
the policy is now in place) WHO would get the documents and FOR WHAT REASON
are they requesting them.
What a lot of Councils are doing are simply requesting one copy of each for
the Council President, and photocopying it on their end for additional
Council officers instead of sending specific requests to National asking for
copies for each of their Council officers. That's their call...the folks
from National is simply trying to restrict access to those documents (and
others) to those that have a specific need to have them and to reduce the
number of "excess copies" hanging around somewhere while the rule or
regulation has changed meanwhile.
I later wrote:
The BSA has long held that it's publications and materials are not things
that can be "passed around" in the public domain, and this is a step toward
tightening who *specificially, by name* has copies of those documents and
who *should have access* to the same.
>I just hope BSA doesn't end up in the type of lawsuits that Scientology
>did over publication of some of this over the web.
One of the many things that the BSA has been looking at is publishing copies
of the Rules and Regulations as well as the Charter and Bylaws through their
website. There's lots of legalities involved in doing that, but I see it
coming. There's simply too many people out there that need access to the
publications on a REAL LIFE basis to warrant them to either drop the
"restrictive access policy" (which, as I've explained earlier, doesn't
really work because a Council employee can make photocopies of the booklets
and distribute them) or provide a way for the "general public" to get copies
without going through "hoops" to get it.
At the same time, the publications of the BSA are properties of the BSA,
Inc., and as such, the National Council can decide what if, and how they
will be used.
>I presume this would contain guidelines for Council executives on what
>exactly constitutes reasons for removal as a scout leader. (convicted of
>speeding, no; convicted of rape, yes. Admitting to homosexual >experiences
during college before they found God and got happily >married for 20 years,
who knows, but probably explained in the GfMQL.)
Nope. The guidelines are more liberal than that. A Council Scout Executive
can basically remove anyone at his or her discretion, for basically anything
dealing with his or her interpretation of not following the Scout Oath
and/or Law. For instance, a Scout Executive can remove a person from
membership for merely being accused of "creating a situation which is not
condusive to the furtherment of Scouting in" a particular community. This
goes back to the Scout Law point of Loyal, which some Council Executives
have "expanded" to include "being loyal to the Scouting program of this
Council". As far as I'm aware, Randy, there's no
"checklist" of "offenses" which would merit the Letter of Removal of
Membership being issued to a Scout or Scouter.
Now of course, those letters can be appealed, and there's also a procedure
in the current Rules and Regulations which explains the appeal process and
how the Region and Councils must respond, who must respond and final appeals
to the Chief Scout Executive.
Now, will many Council Scout Executives abuse that power and start removing
people right and left?? No, not if they expect to hang around there for
longer than a couple of years. The current Chief Scout Executive has been
reviewing a lot of those earlier "removals" and have reinstated a lot of
"removed Scouters" from the Love era and have told Council Executives that
if you remove someone, you'd better be prepared to defend the removal at
risk of your own position. That's one of the reasons why the previous
"restricted to professionals" booklet has been incorporated into the Rules
and Regulations, to allow senior volunteers to have some sort of oversight
over who gets "canned" and why.
Finally, Randy states:
>In short I understand some of the reasons given. Reprinting costs makes
>sense for rapidly changing documents, and documents directly giving
>guidance on legal situations that might arise from removing (or not
>removing) a leader probably should be private, but having the charter >and
by-laws in that category just doesn't seem right...
The Charter and Bylaws explain who is in authority in a local Council, how
they are appointed or elected and what procedure should be performed to
accomphish this. This has been a sore point among lots of volunteers
because when the Charter was changed to allow for an increase in the
Chartered Organizational Representatives and to give them more
responsibility for "hiring" and "firing" volunteers (to approve and remove
leaders from within their units), they were not "allowed to view the
changes" and lots of Council professionals told them that "you don't have
any business knowing".
Looking at this from the BSA's point of view, if you as volunteers asked us
to manage the program, then you're going to have to let us manage it in the
best way possible. Doing so, there's going to have to be some changes to
allow us to streamline ourselves and to protect ourselves from lawsuits
arising from volunteers getting mad because we've "streamlined them" out of
a volunteer position. By not publically providing the way we're going to do
it gives us some protection and also allows us to get rid of that "dead
weight" that you've been saying that we have but you can't do anything about
it. Now, we can.
One of the results, as I've stated several times in the past, when we as
volunteers "take our hands" off of the program because we got too lazy to do
it ourselves and gave it to our professional team members to "handle it".
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://www.vhm.com/~uscardnl/
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