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Uncovering financial issues


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#1 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 08:53 AM

Hello all, I've been gobbling up all your advice from my previous posts and trying to implement it.  Now I'm afraid I've uncovered an even more serious situation, and would welcome more advice.  I'll try and keep it brief and drama free.

It appears our accounts are short by a little less than a thousand dollars.

I know some of this money has been spent inappropriately by the CM I have now replaced.

I was not aware of how much it was, where it came from, what it was spent on, or that the decision to disburse it was made only by him until yesterday... a day after I officially took over as the new CM.

 

I feel I am now on the hook for this, as the new, incoming CM.  I think the right thing to do is the bring the records I have, the information I'm sure of, and my suspicions about the rest to our council, with our committee chair in tow and see where it goes.  And I think if the CC disagrees r refuses, I should resign and go to council anyway.  Someone needs to be made aware of these missing funds, and aware of how at least some of them were spent and by who.

I know that's not a lot of detail, but I'd appreciate your advice.

 

 


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#2 RememberSchiff

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 08:58 AM

Where is the Committee Chairman? Pack Treasurer? Where is the Charter Organization Representative?

 

If none of those care, I doubt Council would.

 

Start looking for another Pack for your son.

 

My $0.02


Edited by RememberSchiff, 02 May 2017 - 09:03 AM.

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#3 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:09 AM

The charter org is and has been very hands off.  The COR is an elderly vet with health issues who really hasn't done more than sign off on applications that I'm aware of.  I've only met him, very briefly, once, at our Charter organizations facility.  At this point, I think he is house bound.

The current committee chair was our cubmaster previous to the one I was replacing.  He took the CC position after turning over CM to the guy I am now replacing.  As CC he was very hands off, almost no involvement until I had the blowout I detailed in a previous post.  At that point he stepped back in/up, and I've been pressuring him about dues and financial stuff ever since.  The CC and the CM I'm replacing have a relationship outside scouts, but I'm really hoping that isn't affecting his decision making... They are in a fraternal organization together.

 

Edit- The pack treasurer is also brand new.  She is the one who first brought the discrepancies to my attention.

 


Edited by Tiger Foot, 02 May 2017 - 09:12 AM.

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#4 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:18 AM

Time for the chartered organization to get hands-on. It's their money. They own the Pack.

Your council won't get involved because this is between the Pack, your former Cubmaster, and the chartered organization.

 

I agree with RememberSchiff--time to find a new Pack.


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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:32 AM

I think a lot depends on the details here.  There is inappropriate spending and then there is inappropriate spending.  If the CM spent hundreds of dollars on camping equipment for the pack without going through whatever approval process the pack uses, that's one kind of inappropriate spending.  If the CM used the money to make his own car payments or to buy groceries for his family, that's a different kind of inappropriate spending, and in that case it is also known as "stealing."  In one case the pack has tents it may not want or need or be able to afford, but at least the tents are there and can be sold or whatever.  In the other case the money has been stolen and the pack has to decide how far it wants to go to try to get it back.  And those are not the only two possible scenarios.

 

I also think it makes a difference how much was "spent inappropriately" (which means you know how it was spent) and how much is "missing" (which means you don't know how it was spent.)


Edited by NJCubScouter, 02 May 2017 - 09:37 AM.

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#6 qwazse

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:34 AM

A lot of folks are gonna cringe when they read this:

 

In the grand scheme of things, 900 bucks ain't that much. You might be thinking it is lots of kegs of beer, when it is a few kid's summer camp fees. This isn't a council problem. If your CoR is ambivalent, it isn't even a CO problem. If the CC and CO don't want to go after the former CM for the coin, it's on them, not you.

 

At your committee meeting, report that X dollars was given to the last CM, and only X-minus-unaccounted dollars had receipts or was otherwise approved expenditures as recorded in last year's committee's minutes. No judgments. Just letting everyone know on record in one sentence how things were done in the past by way of explaining the starting balance in the treasury. It's just a footnote in a year-end financial report.

 

But even if it were $90, your problem is nobody has in writing what it was, so the pack can't make better decisions going forward.

 

Then, make clear that you want people to expect more accountability from CM while you're holding the patch. That means the committee should decide a budget, decide how much they want to be discretionary on the part of the CM, and decide on a Treasurer who they trust to hold you accountable. Your underlying principle: parents ought to know what they're spending their money on.


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#7 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:46 AM

I'm sorry to be vague.

About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.

There are no committee meeting notes from last year and there really was no committee last year.

That doesn't account for everything that's missing, but it is a large chunk of it.


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#8 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:02 AM

About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.

There are no committee meeting notes from last year and there really was no committee last year.

That doesn't account for everything that's missing, but it is a large chunk of it.

 

This is called cronyism. 

 

If it were me I wouldn't waste my time if the CO, COR, Pack Chair and other families in the pack don't care. I'd let them know I was leaving, thank them for the job but let them know once you got in the front door you realized this role wasn't for you. Find a new pack and enjoy your time with your son and family.

 

Life is too short to fix someone else's problem. They stole from the pack (and yes, paying for your kid only to attend something when others are left out is stealing) and the CO and COR are the one's that need to address this.


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#9 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:06 AM

I don't know if that meets anyone's definition of stealing, but it certainly doesn't seem right.

It would be one thing if the leadership had come together and said hey, we're going to sponsor some kids to go to camp.  But nothing remotely close to that happened.  

Instead the CM used pack funds to send his own sons to camp, and the sons of his friend to camp, completely on his own.

If parents did know that was how their money was being spent, I don't think they would be happy.  I'm sure many of their boys could have used some financial help to attend camp as well.

 


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:07 AM

About $200 of the missing funds was spent on resident camp fees for the outgoing cub masters two sons last summer.  Another $520 was spent on resident camp fees for the AOL den leaders two sons to go to resident camp last summer.


Hmm. Were there other kids in the pack who went to camp with the parents paying? Were there kids who wanted to go and would have gone if the pack was paying, but didn't go because of the cost?

What you have here is that most of money in question was spent on a Scouting activity that benefited members of the pack, which in and of itself is a good thing. The problem, of course, is that depending on the answers to my latest round of questions, the beneficiaries of the funds may have been determined through favoritism.
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#11 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:39 AM

Yes, we had 16 kids attend camp last year, and 4 leaders.  Yes, other scouts would have attended if the pack had offset some or all of the cost.  No, that option was not made available to the whole pack.


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#12 fred johnson

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:56 AM

..., but it certainly doesn't seem right.

 

Yeah.  I've seen things like this before.  People can justify many actions.  A leader could have the opinion that they put in so much work that their own son should get to go to camp for free.  Or, a den leaders could have helped raise so much money that they have the opinion they have a right to spend more of the money.  I know one unit leader that had the opinion they had the right to spend the funds they raised for the unit to the tune of thousands of dollars and high adventures for the dad and kids.  Essentially, almost 100% raised went to family and almost zero to the unit  It nearly killed the unit.  But leaders changed and now it's one of the best units in our area.  .... There are many ways to justify what you have described.  

 

Your case seems like a failure of leadership and process and not necessarily a misuse of money.  Leadership and the process to spend the money should have been better thought out and executed.  The idea and decision should have been shared with the committee.  The treasurer should have spotted the issue too.  Maybe everyone would have arrived at the same opinion.  Maybe everyone would have been accepting if communicated right. 

 

It's best to do as earlier advised.  State the current funds available to the pack and track it to the best of your ability.  The past is the past and you weren't the CM then.  Be responsible for your time as CM, not his.  Onward, help the pack account for the funds.  

 

As for your future with the unit, can you just move on from this?  Can you leave this be?  Do you build relationships and trust with the current leaders?  If not, it is best to move on.


Edited by fred johnson, 02 May 2017 - 10:57 AM.

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#13 NJCubScouter

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:11 AM

Yes, we had 16 kids attend camp last year, and 4 leaders.  Yes, other scouts would have attended if the pack had offset some or all of the cost.  No, that option was not made available to the whole pack.


Ok, I was trying to see whether there could be any justification for just "letting it go", but based on your answers, I guess there really isn't.

 

Have you actually spoken with the CC about this yet?  You express some concerns about what his attitude may be.  But have you actually given him a chance to do something about it?


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#14 qwazse

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:33 AM

TF, you seem sure about how the $ went out. Are you equally sure about how they went in? In other words, are you sure that the former CM/DL's didn't put in, say, $700 the year before?

 

Either way, that issue is not yours to resolve or reconcile. Either way the past lack of accountability stinks.

 

What matters is if everybody is willing to go forward differently once you ask for more transparency and accountability.


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:37 AM

I'd still pop smoke and take the evac on this one. No reason to stay and fix this mess. Life is too short. Let the CO and COR handle this. It's their job...though it seems they don't know it.


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#16 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 11:43 AM

Ok, I was trying to see whether there could be any justification for just "letting it go", but based on your answers, I guess there really isn't.

 

Have you actually spoken with the CC about this yet?  You express some concerns about what his attitude may be.  But have you actually given him a chance to do something about it?

 

 

Yes, I've spoken with him on numerous occasions... phone, email, facebook chats, face to face, and we've held several meetings of the new pack committee.

'Concerns' might be too strong a word.  I think he is a really good guy and has been working very hard to try and recoup at least some of this money and solve this issue.  But I also seem to be getting information piecemeal from him... each new answer comes in an email that also reveals a new issue.

So, yes, I'm confident he's trying to fix it, but I'm not confident I'm getting all the details, and if that's the case I would guess it's because he's trying to preserve his relationship with the old CM, which I understand.  Just makes me wonder how many more landmines are waiting to be discovered I guess.


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#17 Tiger Foot

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:02 PM

TF, you seem sure about how the $ went out. Are you equally sure about how they went in? In other words, are you sure that the former CM/DL's didn't put in, say, $700 the year before?

 

Either way, that issue is not yours to resolve or reconcile. Either way the past lack of accountability stinks.

 

What matters is if everybody is willing to go forward differently once you ask for more transparency and accountability.

 

As sure as I can be I guess.

We've been able to reconcile all the large deposits with fundraising activities.

I would think if there was an extra $700 or whatever in the account, we'd be over not short- we'd be asking, hey, where did this extra $700 come from, not why are we short money.

I also think the old CM would have informed me or the CC of that when I started pushing about these financial issues and it was revealed that he spent pack money sending his own sons and his friends sons to camp, right?


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#18 fred johnson

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:10 PM

I think he is a really good guy and has been working very hard to try and recoup at least some of this money and solve this issue.  

 

Sounds positive.  Not necessarily perfect, but perhaps you have a chance to continue in this unit..  


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#19 T2Eagle

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:42 PM

I'm with those who say look forward not backward.  There is nothing here that you or anyone else can "fix".  Money was spent on a scouting activity by someone who apparently had the authority to spend it.  Maybe they shouldn't have spent it that way, maybe the authority wasn't so much authority as lack of any oversight that would have curtailed that authority.  Whatever the case, the pack is not going to get that money back.  No one is going to be able to rewrite what happened.  Your Pack has the money it has in the account today.  Set up a good structure for both accountability and transparency going forward.  

 

Every bit of energy you spend on what happened is going to be energy you cannot spend on the boys.  You might be able to show to someone that your view of what happened --- that there was some sort of either mal- or mis- feasance --- is what happened, but that will not change a bloody thing, and at the end of the process you won't feel any better about it than you do now.

 

Council cannot and will not get involved in this; likely your COR will not want to expend any energy on this.  Most COR s want first and foremost for their units to not cause them problems, make too big a fuss and they might drop the unit as being too much trouble.  If you can't let this go turn it over to someone who can, no good will come of your worrying it.


Edited by T2Eagle, 02 May 2017 - 01:43 PM.

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#20 fred johnson

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:14 PM

I'm with those who say look forward not backward.  ...

 

Every bit of energy you spend on what happened is going to be energy you cannot spend on the boys.  You might be able to show to someone that your view of what happened --- that there was some sort of either mal- or mis- feasance --- is what happened, but that will not change a bloody thing, and at the end of the process you won't feel any better about it than you do now.

 

Council cannot and will not get involved in this; likely your COR will not want to expend any energy on this.  Most COR s want first and foremost for their units to not cause them problems, make too big a fuss and they might drop the unit as being too much trouble.  If you can't let this go turn it over to someone who can, no good will come of your worrying it.

 

Fully agree.  Also by pursuing it, you will create negative experiences for the adults that absolutely will trickle down and affect the scouts.  Positive vibe and healthy adult-to-adult relationships are more important than trying to recover funds.   Focus on future.  Providing good experiences.   And, providing good financial future decisions.


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