Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1998: Re: Jere Ratcliffe's salary
Re: Jere Ratcliffe's salary
Thu, 24 Sep 1998 12:30:13 -0500
Bruce Major wrote:
I'm sorry you felt this was a personal attack. I did not mean it to be. You
are welcome to believe that National is doing everything they can to cut costs
and deliver a high quality program to the boys. I personally don't see that
happening, and the high salaries - in my opinion - are unwarranted.
If as you stated all the local/unit and program issues are up to the local
units/Districts/Councils to plan and deliver - then what big bucks skills are
required in the position of CSE? I'd love to know the rationalization behind
this level of compensation. My company is a $2B company competing in the high
tech world on an international bases. Our CEO does not make that kind of money
- he's well short of it.
You can't have your 4-million-boys-in-Scouting cake and eat it too. I can find
very little that I need from National to run a quality program at the unit
level, and not much more at the Council level. Certainly not enough to justify
the high costs of the program. Try to get any information from the National
offices these days. The headaches are mountainous.
When I said "spend my money," yes I mean my registration fee. If there are 4
million registered adults, at $7 a head, that $28M is not chump change. I also
mean the money that the BSA pulls in from businesses via direct donations that
these businesses believe are going into the local programs when these moneys
are not. We at the unit level have our hands tied when it comes to raising
money, because National and Council reserve the right to solicit direct
Many businesses in my area donate heavily to Scouting - and none of them know
that this money does virtually nothing at the unit level. We are not allowed
to go to these businesses and ask for their assistance. Yes we can sell them
popcorn (60% goes to Council) or tickets to a Scout show, or bean supper, but
we cannot let them help us outfit new troops, or send less fortunate kids to
summer camp, or sponsor a unit to Philmont - we are units are not allowed,
under National policy, to solicit donations, or even to let someone know you
can use their financial help. We would be infringing on the right of Council
and National to go to these same businesses and solicit "gifts" themselves. In
that way, yes it's my money. And your money. You should be just as concerned
as I am that it's being spent wisely on behalf of the boys.
And yes to your other point I do buy clothing - high quality clothing -
regularly. I have three kids in school and they are just as interested in
clothes as all kids are. However I also just outfitted a soccer team with high
quality, name brand shirts for $12 a piece. These shirts are much better
quality than the BSA "Class B" red collared shirts, and we have decided to put
a BSA/Troop logo on them for our own Class B's as a result. The prices charged
by the BSA for clothing are outrageous. We can do better and should do better.
National should be looking out for the boys here, not gouging them.
I don't know if it's true or not, but I hear that the profits from the sale of
clothing is what pays the retirement salaries of our professionals.
> Well, gosh, I am glad you are willing to allow me my opinion, even if you
> have to stoop to implicit insults to do so. I suppose anyone without your
> vaunted perspicacity is blind and ignorant, eh?
Never said that. Never would. You are welcome to your opinion, and I expect
you to voice it. If your opinion is that we should not care what National
spends on anything, that their spending should not be monitored closely or
that we should simply expect it because "they have a tough job," that's fine.
You are welcome to it. I simply don't share it.
We are the check that keeps National in balance and I won't ever forget it. Do
I believe we could put a CSE in place for much less money, yes I do. There are
many more companies running in this country with CEOs who earn less than $250k
a year than those making $450K+.
As Scouters, we give and give and give to make the program work for our
Scouts. I would only expect the same from the professionals in Scouting. I
don't see it now, and see a trend away from it more and more as time passes.
Every year there is another professional staff position created at the Council
or National level, and they take more and more responsibility away from the
volunteers. I think that we need to reverse that trend. I am often bother by
the simple statement that someone is able to make a living - a good living -
as a Scouting Professional. Perhaps it's time to move back to more volunteers
and less paid positions, period.
> Then let me share an observation with you, my friend. Perhaps the reason for
> your rancor is that no one believes your work is worth 400K a year. Could
> that be the issue?
Nope. I am highly compensated for my skills in my for-profit life. I am paid
well for the job that I do, and my value to the company is easily measured. I
don't have any salary envy here at all - it never entered my mind.
I am more concerned that Scouting at the professional level is getting more
and more tied to the "business" end of Scouting, and moving further and
further from the boys that need the program. Perhaps it's just a matter of
better communication needed, but I am not convinced that the best program we
can provide to the boys is being supported by our National policies and practices.
Tim Hewitt, Scoutmaster
Troop 350, Old Orchard Beach, Maine