Should of a chartered organization rep have access to the Packs bank account? Should they have a debit card? Are they a view only member?
A charter can demand that the COR is the Treasurer of a unit. So yes they can have those things
Like Donovan, do they need or want access? Do they need or want a debit card? If they want access, it is their program, so they should get access. If they need or want a debit card, that is something they can require the unit to give them. That doesn’t stop them from being required to substantiate any withdrawals.
When you say “view only member”, do you mean with respect to Scoutbook? Committee members aren’t really involved with advancement, so they may not need that (even if they want it).
Remember your COR is the Spokesperson for the sponsor. They are one of the Key 3 (and the first among equals as they have authority to sign off on the troop leadership).
Fiscal Policies and Procedures for BSA Units
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is responsible for the finances of the unit?
The unit committee is responsible, but the assets belong to the chartered organization.
I’m not aware that the BSA has any policy answering your specific questions. I think there’s room for some variation, depending on the size of the unit, the exact nature and policies of the Chartered Organization, and the experience-level of the leaders.
On the one hand, the unit’s policies should minimize both the actual risk of theft or waste and the appearance of impropriety; but it’s also important to reduce the paperwork and compliance load on presumably well-meaning volunteers.
When I had a POR in a couple of LDS units, the unit did not have its own checking account; all expenses were reimbursed by the Chartered Organization. There was no “debit card”. The IH/COR (the Bishop) was a signer on the CO’s checking account, but it required two signatures; the other signers were his counselors, the Ward Clerk, and the Assistant Clerk - Financial. I suggested that the Assistant Clerk - Financial should take YPT and register as Treasurer in each unit, but he never got around to it before the charter ended.
The units my kids are in right now each have a checking account separate from the CO. At least in the Troop, there is a debit card; it seems like the Activities Coordinator and SM pass it back and forth as needed, so that the Activities Coordinator can use it to make reservations for outings and the SM can use it to make incidental purchases during outings. It may be that the COR or Treasurer keeps possession of it otherwise; I’ve never actually seen it yet myself.
Can I ask the question “Why shouldn’t the COR have this level of access?”
Fundamentally, the COR is the top of the food chain for most units…
And the corollary, which might be "Is the chartering organization asking for this access, or is the chartering organization representative asking for the COR to have this access? Those are not, sadly, always the same thing.
I know that our COR, SM, and CC, as well as our Treasurer, have all had signature authority on our two-signature account in the past. We intentionally do not have a debit card to avoid one-party withdrawls.
Technically speaking the Chartered org. owns the pack and all of its assets so yes, if they ask for access, they should be granted access. If I remember correctly BSA policy states that the units bank account must have two different persons signatures to make withdrawals.
I think its BSA policy that you require two signatures. I also thought units weren’t supposed to have a debit/credit card for the very reason of needing the two signatures.
Yeah, the unit policy in our case predates my time with the troop, but that sounds like what I recall regarding the BSA policy. Of course, I had it pointed out to me recently on another thread that my recollection isn’t always consistent with the most recent BSA rules & regs. So, if the OP plans to push-back on the debit card idea based on the policy, they should make sure it still states that clearly.
I believe both of these are recommendations, not requirements.
Maybe Scoutreach units aside, the COR is at the top of the food chain. They approve ALL unit adult leaders and the unit adult leaders serve at their pleasure. If the COR wants access, they can get it. Now, this doesn’t foster a good relationship, but if the the CC, or CM, or any committee member would “refuse” to give them access it is within the COR’s “power” to remove any and all individuals that they believe no longer should be members of the unit. So, would that be a very bad situation if it came to it… yes! I don’t like the term “own”, but the unit is a program “run and managed” by the CO with the COR being the person in charge. If anyone didn’t like it, they could go to the CO’s CEO/IH and ask for a different direction. That is about it, though - no appeal outside of the CO.
As others have touched on the debit card or any method of withdrawal or payment that does or can bypass a two party oversight process is probably not a good practice. Think of it as Two Deep leadership for the unit’s finances…
If you eliminate that issue, having the COR as one of the signers/cosigners should be pretty reasonable as it is quite typically the Key 3 plus the Treasurer as the authorized signers.
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