Winter 1995

Letter from the President's Desk

Dear Friends and Scouters,

Old Colony Council currently faces a serious financial and managerial crisis. In early December, our Scout Executive, Marc Posner received a letter from a certified public accountant hired to review Council's books and financial status. The accountant stated that, in his professional opinion, "The Old Colony Council is currently insolvent, a form of bankruptcy. This insolvency results in a growing concern issue. a belief that this Council may not be able to continue as an operating entity without making substantial changes in its operations, or selling of (sic) some or all of its assets."

Clearly, Council is in dire financial straits and, although Council has had a large debt for a number of years, it is equally clear that Scout Executive Marc Posner, Council President Donald Mangum and Council Vice-President, Robert Downey (hereinafter referred to as the"Officers") have done nothing in the past nine months but acerbate and accelerate this financial crisis. In fact, they promised to balance the budget and decrease the deficit, but have done just the opposite and placed the Council in worse financial danger than it was merely one year ago. No doubt the Officers will claim that the financial problems existed long before the arrival of Marc Posner. They will also claim that former staff members and other extremely concerned volunteers, who warned that their short-sighted approach was a serious mistake, are somehow responsible for this current crisis. They will attempt to blame anyone other than those most accountable for the current fiasco, themselves.

Do not be deceived by their claims because it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that our current Officers are largely, if not entirely, responsible for the crisis facing Council. They believed that reducing camp budgets would solve the problem. They were wrong. They believed that removing long-time employees and alienating long-time Council volunteers would not hurt the Council. They were wrong. They believed that they could ignore the need for increased and intensified fundraising efforts to help resolve the Council debt. They were wrong. They believed that by operating in secret and surrounding themselves with like minded individuals, they would not be held accountable for their actions. They were wrong.

Very briefly, in the very short time he has held his position, Mr. Posner has increased the Council debt, been responsible for a decrease in Council fundraising, cut budgets, staff and programs at summer camp, continued to focus on the sale of Camp Child as a quick fix to Council problems, been personally responsible for the resignation of some very dedicated camp personnel and staff with invaluable knowledge about camp operations, and refused to provide financial and other data requested by concerned members of Council. There is no greater example of gross mismanagement than the actions of our Scout Executive over the past nine months.

In order to cover his failings, the Scout Executive formed a Special Asset Committee whose very name indicates its objective; create a plan to sell a Council camp to cover the increasing debt. Not surprisingly, the Committee created a plan which states that Council will put Camp Child up for sale in its entirety on February 1, 1995. The Special Assets Committee claimed that Council would collapse unless they could borrow additional monies from new lenders and that no institutions would lend money to Council in its current state. Who could blame the lenders?

Unfortunately, Council really is in tough shape and members of the Executive Board could not find any quick alternative to implementing this plan. Therefore, at their meeting on the morning of January 5, 1995, they voted in favor of implementing the plan by a vote of twenty-four to one with one abstention. The die has been cast.

While there may be limited options at this point, we must not ignore that Marc Posner, Don Mangum and Bob Downey are responsible for this sad state of affairs. Since they are responsible for accelerating our problems, it is painfully clear that they are not capable of guiding Council through its current crisis. We need to enhance and protect the future of our Council and we must act now.
The CSAA Board of Trustees, with input from many of its members and other concerned volunteers, believes that three things must happen immediately to protect our Council, provide for the long-term survival of our camps and reestablish the ideals of the Scout Oath and Scout Law into Council operations. We must:

1) Immediately demand the resignations or removal of Marc Posner as Scout Executive, Don Mangum as President, and Bob Downey as Vice President for Old Colony Council.
2) Immediately demand that Council cease and desist from any and all asset sales particularly any involving Camp Squanto or Camp Child,
3) Immediately demand that Council open its books and financial records for the past five years for review and investigation by an independent Certified Public Accountant and any concerned member of Council.

More specific details of Marc Posner's gross mismanagement are delineated in a letter from Mr. Hyman to Mr. Posner, parts of which are included in this newsletter.

Since it is apparent that the current Officers will not take these actions of their own accord, and that the Board of Directors will more than likely stand by the Officers, we must accomplish these three vital objectives by some other means. Therefore, the CSAA, in conjunction with Camp Child Alumni and other concerned members of Council, will be working toward our goals via two methods.

First, as allowed for in the Bylaws for Old Colony Council we are asking all Chartered Partner Representatives (previously referred to and known in the Bylaws as Scouting Coordinators) to request a special meeting to be held for the purpose of implementing the three goals. Pursuant to Section 3, Clause 3 of the Bylaws, if at least 1/5 of the Chartered Partner Representatives request a meeting, council must call such a meeting within sixty days. We will be sending a letter to every CPR asking for their support in saving our camps and Council.

Second, we are distributing a petition calling for immediate action on the three points of concern. A detachable copy of this petition accompanies this newsletter and may be returned to the CSAA at our mailing address.

The present leadership of Old Colony Council is leading this Council to its demise and is about to sell one of the most valuable assets of our Council to cover their failings and mismanagement. We must not allow this to happen. The future is in your hands and we hope that you will join those of us who believe it is important to honor the traditions of our past as we plan and work for the future.

In our spirit of honesty and openness, if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us. I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our efforts to affect change in this Council so that it will once again operate under the principles of the Scout Oath and Law and be a humane operation instead of one intent on diminishing the services provided to our youth and crushing the spirit of our volunteers. I am fearful of the future if we do not make the necessary changes immediately

Very truly yours,
Thomas J O'Brien
President

Membership

During the difficult times ahead, it is more important than ever to increase our membership. The more voices we have the better our chances are for being heard. If there is anyone you know of who wants to be involved with the CSAA please forward their name and address to our mailing committee.

Social Calendar

Its been a very busy Fall for the CSAA in more ways than one! First, some congratulations to some of our members on a great membership drive ... to the maternity ward that is.

Tom and Betsy OBrien
Daughter Sarah Elisabeth

Todd & Chun Ae May
Daughter Sonya A

Jim & Jeanette Kippenhan
Daughter Beverly Katherine

And the Wedding Bells are ringing for

Nat and Kathy Sides

A rather full itinerary for the past 3 months we think.

Submissions

We welcome original submissions for articles. Articles should pertain to Camp Squanto or the Camp Squanto Alumni Association in general. Articles should be typed.

If you have questions or would like more information about the newsletter, please call Mike Warner, Newsletter Editor.

Buisness Space Available

There is always advertising space available in the Alumni News. All proceeds from advertising space will go towards the printing and mailing expenses of this newsletter. Please support those who advertise in the Alumni News, remember that these are the businesses of fellow Association members.

If you are interested in advertising, please contact Mike Warner as to available space and rates.

Letters

here have been several newspaper articles written recently about the sale of Camp Child and the other issues with Council. The Patriot Ledger, Boston Globe, Brockton Enterprise and others have all run articles that have quotes and counter-quotes. Several of the people quoted in these article are well known to the members of the CSAA.

Arnold Briggs; "After 26 years of going to camp, all I could see was my blood, sweat and tears, everything I worked for, going down the drain."

Joe Piche; "It's like the kids paying for the adults" when asked about the discrepancy of the profitability of the camps and the salaries imposed at the Council.

Bonnie Showstack; "If they (meaning the 'dissidents') would take all that energy and put it into a program they believed in, they would raise a lot of money."

Good idea, lets raise money to pay for the salaries of people who raise no money to promote the program. How about we raise money to burn, same result.

Among the many statements made there are an amazing number of discrepancies. Some of the more obvious "data errors" are:

The debt owed changes from $340,000 to $700,000
They will sell, then will not sell parts of Camp Squanto
There are only 14 "dissidents" who oppose the actions of Council

Hmmm ... I personally know a lot more than 13 other people who are more than a little upset with the prospects offered this Council from its "leaders". The article that really throws numbers around in an extraordinary way is from the Enterprise. A Scouter who diligently raises funds for the FOS fund claims she raised $100,000 last year. Hooray! That doesn't even pay for Mr Posner's salary and benefits, quoted in the same article as $80,000 plus $30,000 in benefits. That, by the way, is a significant increase from last years salary, the Legislature isn't alone in raising their own salaries.

The supporters of the Council's plans are quoted in each article with deadly accuracy. Too bad they couldn't remember what they said to the previous interviewer.

There was one statement made that rings true, "This is not what scouting is all about." I was taught its about the Oath and Law.

Resignation

The following are excerpts from the resignation letter of Gary Hyman. Gary has been on the Camp Staff for 13 years and was last year's Activities Director.

I am writing this letter for a multitude of reasons. I have seen first hand the type of program you wish to implement at Camp Squanto. I wish no part in that type of program. My services and experiences will not be available to you this season.
In nine months the current council administration has accomplished what I thought could never be: the almost entire annihilation of the spirit of the greatest camping operation in the East. When you came to us early last March, many of the leaders in this Council were hopeful that you could help us reduce our debt as well as further advance our youth programs, not only at summer camp, but our year round operations. Instead, what has been accomplished under your stewardship has made matters much worse:

I attended the first of many meetings between yourself, members of the executive board, and camp administration. I distinctly recall you promising Mr. Palladino that there would be no cuts in camp program or staff. This, sir, turned out to be a lie. Eleven senior staff positions were slotted for termination and/or reassignment. I might also mention that you displaced the cook in the guise of saving money with another gentleman whose salary was at least twice that of the previous cook. How much did we save there, Marc?

As far as no program cuts, this promise was kept worse than a politician's after re-election. If you had no intention of keeping things cost effective, instead of cutting food selection and portions, you would have done better to say so. Twenty items were cut off the previous menu and food portions were reduced ludicrously. The previous year, we spent $2.65/person this past season's $1.25/person turned out as sheer starvation.

Also under the guise of saving money, there has been gross negligence of ongoing projects:

Stewardship Forest Program = loss of $10,000;
Youth Advocacy Division, = loss $70,000 - $120,000;
Environmental Education Center = loss of $20,000 - $25,000;

Modular Units originally we were to get $225,000 for these. Why was the price brought down to $180,000? And where did the funds go?

The new latrine still awaits further work, neither camp has its new winter lodges, a new training facility or even an upgrade? What about retro-fitting all camp facilities for the handicapped?

Ed Christopher's Staff Village, why has this project been put on hold? The money from this one has come from a donator. Perhaps, this money as well went to other uses.

The sale of Camp Child was a fiasco I am sure you would like us to forget. Especially, after a comment from Mr. Mangum to the effects of "we'll wait a year until things cool down and then sell the camp anyways."

What about the Mass Patriots Award Dinner? Isn't this a $25,000 budget item? What happened to it? Why has there not been any new funds generated this year?

Budget cutting can only go so far. Probably your most famous saying this summer must have been, "Change is pain." Let's take a close look at this one, Marc. As Scout Executive, you have the highest salary in the history of OCC: $85,000 + $25 - 30,000 in benefits. Under your original plan, you also want additions to your professional staff for a total of 8 professionals and 4 secretaries? Obviously, this "change is pain" adage is directed to all non-professionals in this Council.

There is a message here for you, Marc, if you care to see it. Camp Squanto has (or had) one of the highest staff return rate probably in the country. Since this past season you have seen the forced resignations of a Camp Director who had promised himself for a ten year commitment; a Ranger of 23 years who together with the Supervisor of Camps, was the backbone and spirit of Camp Squanto; a Provisional Scoutmaster with over 20 years experience in camp; the Leading Scout Director with several years experience; a Senior Commissioner with over 20 years of service; a veteran Camp Director with over 25 years of service, and a COPE Director/ Ecology/ Conservation Director with 13 years of devotion. On top of this is the eviction of the Alumni Association Museum dedicated to the life of one of the charter members of Camp Squanto.

Many of us feel that the only way out of this mess is the resignation of yourself, Bob Downey, and Donald Mangum. Anyone who could accomplish so much in the short time you have been here has my vote of no confidence. I urge the members of the Executive Board and Committee to listen to the volunteer leaders of this council and relieve ineffective leaders of their duties.

Gary S. Hyman
Camp Squanto Staff Veteran
Assistant Scoutmaster T-23

Maintained by John Mileris.
Copyright Camp Squanto Alumni Association. All rights reserved.