Council of Administration Meeting
March 11 , 2006
Milwaukee , WI
The Council of Administration meeting was opened by Commander-in-Chief Donald Darby at approximately 8:30 AM with an opening prayer by National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by National Patriotic Instructor Bruce Butgereit. After the roll call of officers, the following were recorded present:
Commander-in-Chief Donald E. Darby
Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief James B. Pahl
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Charles Kuhn
National Secretary Michael S. Bennett
National Treasurer Max L. Newman
National Quartermaster Danny L. Wheeler
Council Member David Stephen
Council Member Leo Kennedy
Council Member Daniel Murray
Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief Stephen Michaels
Additional Past Commanders-in-Chief present included Alan R. Loomis.
Guests of the Council of Administration were: National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski, Executive Director Lee F. Walters, National Patriotic Instructor Bruce Butgereit, and SUVCW Charitable Foundation Board Member Robert Petrovic.
Council Member D. Brad Schall, Council Member James Hanby and National Counselor Robert E. Grim were excused.
To begin the meeting, Commander-in-Chief Darby noted that National Chief of Staff Shaw had assembled all of the National Officer and Committee reports submitted, and that they were available for review by any members of the Council who had not yet received them. C-in-C Darby then directed the Council’s attention to the report of the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, and his recommendations. JVC-in-C Kuhn elaborated on his observations regarding delays that take place between the time an applicant submits an internet application, and when he receives confirmation of being accepted as a member in a Department and Camp. Some Camps and Departments are able to do this quickly. Others are taking many months to complete the process. JVC-in-C Kuhn’s recommendation is that the internet application process be altered to enable a member’s application to be submitted online, be accepted by the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief,
be processed, and be forwarded directly to the National Executive Director so that the new member may begin to receive the Banner as soon as possible, as well as to the Department, if applicable, where the new Brother lives. SVC-in-C Jim Pahl expressed concerns that this proposal would require amendment to the National Constitution and Regulations. A lengthy discussion then took place concerning the acceptance of online payments, the ways in which applicants could be registered with the National Organization and then made available for transfer to Departments and Camps, and the changes to our Constitution that may be required in order to implement JVC-in-C Kuhn’s plan. If a Department, at its Encampment, approves and sponsors JVC-in-C’s proposal, it can be brought to the floor of the National Encampment for ratification. Council Member Stephen agreed to bring this matter before the Department of Iowa’s Encampment for their consideration.
JVC-in-C Kuhn then unveiled his advertising program, consisting of audio CDs containing public service announcements about the SUVCW which he would like to produce and distribute to each Camp in our Order. Brother Kuhn played a 60 second and 30 second version of the announcements he created, with professional voice-over and music, which were very well received by the Council. The cost for producing these will be very low, as CD media is quite inexpensive, and the only other expense would be the postage to send them to our Camps. Brother Kuhn also noted that our current print advertising is not seeing much result, and that the internet is currently our biggest avenue of recruiting. Commander-in-Chief Darby suggested that perhaps the 30 second spot could be played when a visitor first logs onto the National website, or at least available to be played by a first time visitor if desired.
National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler was then asked to give his report on changes in shipping expenses, explaining how the costs of envelopes and packing materials are calculated, as well as how the shipping costs to our members are derived. He further noted that orders consisting entirely of paper materials can be mailed book-rate, which will help even more to keep postage costs down.
C-in-C Darby then directed the Council’s attention to Chaplain Kowalski’s report which describes a seminar or study piece he is now preparing. Having received many requests for assistance, his is now preparing a guide to serving as a chaplain. It was suggested that the guide, when completed, could be made available both in print, as well as on the National website.
C-in-C Darby then pointed out National Counselor Bob Grim’s work since the last COA meeting, which resulted in rendering decisions on nine different issues. C-in-C Darby pointed out that many of these requests are a result of Camp and Department Officers not being familiar with the SUVCW Constitution and Regulations, in which many of the answers sought can be found.
As previously requested by the Council of Administration, Business Rules for the Graves Registration Database were provided in the report of Graves Registration Officer Bob Lowe. These rules, as well as specifics of data entry, were discussed by the Council. JVC-in-C Kuhn moved that the Graves Registration Database Business Rules proposed by Brother Lowe be accepted, so that a Database Administrator may be appointed and the Graves Registration Committee can begin communications with software providers. The motion was seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler, and passed unanimously.
A report from National Webmaster Ken Freshley confirmed that the domain names approved for purchase by the COA have been acquired. They include suvcw.net, suvcw.biz, suvcw.us and suvcw.info. The addresses are now set up so that anyone who links to those sites, will be redirected to our suvcw.org website. Brother Freshley is still working to obtain the suvcw.com domain, which is being held by a domain squatter.
The report from Washington D.C. Representative Andrew Johnson, suggested that the SUVCW resolution regarding the protection of war memorials should be rewritten and resubmitted to the American Legion and other veterans groups. It was moved by SVC-in-C Pahl, and seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn, that as no one knows what PC-in-C Johnson thinks should be included in this resolution in order to gain the support of other organizations better than he, Brother Johnson should be requested to submit a rewritten resolution that he feels would be appropriate for our Order, and submit it electronically to the Council for consideration. The motion passed unanimously.
The Executive Director’s report made two requests. The first relates to an excess of Banner issues currently on hand at the National Headquarters in Harrisburg . While each issue typically has press overruns, there are boxes of extras left over from a few recent issues, and Executive Director Lee Walters feels the space could be better used. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn that the excess issues be destroyed. SVC-in-C Pahl offered a friendly amendment to indicate that the Executive Director could dispose of them as he sees fit – with discussion including the possibility of making them available to the membership at the upcoming National Encampment in Harrisburg . Brother Kuhn withdrew his motion to allow Brother Pahl’s amendment to stand as a motion on its own. The motion was duly seconded and passed unanimously.
Additionally, Executive Director Walters requested the purchase of one additional four drawer steel file cabinet as well as an additional steel storage cabinet, both to match cabinets currently in use at the National Headquarters. A motion to approve that request was made by Council Member Leo Kennedy, and was seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn. The motion passed with one lighthearted vote in opposition from SVC-in-C Pahl.
During the course of the preceding discussion, JVC-in-C Kuhn was asked to pay the required $1 fine for failing to wear his SUVCW membership badge, which he did willingly, with apologies for the oversight.
The report submitted by National Memorials Officer Todd Shillington was then discussed, with extensive conversation and debate regarding the recent vandalism to monuments at the Gettysburg National Military Park and actions the SUVCW could or should take. JVC-in-C Kuhn suggested that we separate the discussion into two different issues, the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the damage, and the repair of the damage itself. Brother Kuhn further suggested that the SUVCW not add to the current fund to be used as a reward, noting that thirty six or thirty seven thousand dollars has already been raised for that purpose, and any additional funds donated from the SUVCW for that puprose would hardly be noticed, and would likely not have a significant effect on a positive outcome being derived from that money. He therefore moved that the SUVCW contribute no money to the reward. This motion was seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler and passed unanimously. Brother Kuhn then moved that the SUVCW contribute $5000 to the Gettysburg National Military Park towards repair of the three damaged monuments. SVC-in-C Pahl offered a second. C-in-C Darby asked where the funds would come from, the General Reserve Fund being discussed as one possibility. National Quartermaster Wheeler suggested that the money come from funds to be raised at the annual Remembrance Day Ball. SVC-in-C Pahl expressed his opinion that the funds should not come from the Ball, as the event is advertised as a function from which proceeds will be given to the National Military Park , to be spent wherever the Park deems them to be the most needed. While these vandalized
monuments may end up being the area of greatest need, that should be the decision of the Military Park . Wherever the money comes from, SVC-in-C Pahl expressed his belief that the SUVCW should do this, noting that this is the reason we are here. Much support was expressed for those sentiments. Council Member Kennedy then pointed out that the SUVCW already has a working venue through which funds are made available for monument restoration and repair: the Civil War Memorial Grant program. And while this situation certainly merits attention and some action, there are vandalized memorials back in Brother Kennedy’s home state of Rhode Island that are equally in need of financial assistance. He further added that if the SUVCW is going to give additional funds, outside of the Memorials Grant Program, to assist with the repair of the Gettysburg Monuments, a project for which other funding is clearly being made available by other organizations and entities, then one might also request that additional funding be made for damaged memorials in Rhode Island, or elsewhere across the country, especially noting that the same additional funding by other groups will likely not be as forthcoming for those. While not Gettysburg , the monuments in Rhode Island are just as important, if not more so, to the people of Rhode Island . Council Member Dave Stephen expressed his agreement that the monuments at Gettysburg , while so very important, are no more important than those in his home state of Iowa . It was then suggested that the Gettysburg Camp and Department of Pennsylvania could request, through the existing Memorials Grant program, $500 for each of the vandalized Gettysburg memorials, which could be supplemented by additional funds from the Memorials Grant fund if money exists at the end of the year. It was agreed that, while all would like to see the Gettysburg Monuments repaired, having funds come from the SUVCW Memorial Grant program would likely be the best and fairest way to contribute. Brother Kuhn withdrew his original motion, and Brother Pahl withdrew his second. JVC-in-C Kuhn was asked to speak with members of the Gettysburg Camp to ensure that they would complete the appropriate paperwork in order to request funds from the Memorials Grant program.
National Treasurer Max Newman brought forward for discussion the matter of Camps or Departments that requested money from the Memorials Grant fund either for the solicitation of estimates, or architectural surveys. After discussion, the Council agreed that the money in the Memorials Grant fund are to be awarded for actual physical work on memorials: cleaning, repair, construction, etc. It was noted that there are specific rules for this fund which would prohibit grants for surveys and estimates. National Secretary Bennett noted that no rules of that nature are provided on the Grant Application, and suggested that if there are additional rules and guidelines for this program, they should be published along with the application for the benefit of Camps and Departments which may consider applying for grants. C-in-C Darby noted that there were specific rules drafted for this program, approved by the Council, which have not yet been included on or with the Grant Application Form. SVC-in-C Pahl noted that this is Committee work which should be handled by the Memorials Committee.
Sandy Folaron, Vice President of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home Foundation, was then introduced to the Council, and given the opportunity to address the group about the good works taking place to restore and preserve the buildings on the grounds of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home. In response, a Memorial Grant applied for by the C. K. Pier Badger Camp of Milwaukee was presented to Ms. Folaron to assist the Foundation in their work.
A return to Brother Shillington’s report from the Memorials Committee explored his recommendation that the Council adopt a policy outlining the Order’s position on the movement of Civil War memorials, adding that memorials should only be moved when in imminent or certain danger of theft or destruction, and not moved from the location selected by the Civil War veterans, or the local citizens, merely for the sake of convenience. Council Member Stephen expressed his opinion that there may be times when there are good reasons for such a move, other than imminent danger, and that a move could improve a monument’s visibility, safety, accessibility, etc. Council Member Kennedy suggested that wording might be included to indicate that any move of a memorial should maintain the reverence connected with the memorial’s original placement. Rather than vote on the policy recommended by Brother Shillington, a motion was made by SVC-in-C Pahl to refer the matter back to the Memorials Committee, indicating the Council’s concerns, and asking that they draft a new policy for the Council’s review. The motion was seconded by Council Member Kennedy, and passed unanimously.
C-in-C Darby addressed the matter of the SUVCW’s cooperation with the U.S. Army’s current investigation to determine what items became property of the Sons through the Deed of Conveyance, and what items were specifically itemized as being turned over to the Smithsonian following the final Encampment of the G.A.R. in 1949.
The report of the National Encampment Site Committee was then examined, noting proposals for 2008 from the Departments of Iowa and Massachusetts . As this was only the second occasion in recent memory in which more than one Department had made a legitimate proposal for the same year, the Council then discussed the matter of how the decision is to be made. After review of the Constitution and Regulations and the official Job Descriptions of SUVCW Officers and Committees, Commander-in-Chief Darby observed that a conflict exists between the current National Regulations and the Job Description for the Encampment Site Committee approved in 1994, and ruled that wherever such conflicts may exist between these two documents, the Regulations supersede or override the Job Descriptions. With that clarified, the Encampment Site Committee’s recommendation of Boston , Massachusetts as the site for the 2008 National Encampment was accepted by the Council as our Order’s decision.
A brief discussion was then held regarding the SUVCW’s efforts to have Memorial Day returned to May 30 th, noting that the petition being assembled by Brother Alan Peterson of the Department of California & Pacific continues to grow, but does not yet contain signatures from many of our members.
Past Commander-in-Chief Loomis then addressed the Council regarding the Lincoln Tomb Observance being held April 15, 2006 , and the other associated activities and events taking place that weekend. The medallion for Lincoln ’s Birthday was also mentioned, PC-in-C Loomis noting that PC-in-C Ed Krieser has taken that project over on behalf of the Charitable Foundation.
A report from the Committee on Real Sons & Daughters requested additional certificates to present to Real Sons and Real Daughters at ceremonies. A certificate originally created by PC-in-C Kent Armstrong and used by PC-in-C Michaels will be made available for this purpose and can be passed from Commander-in-Chief to Commander-in-Chief to be used for various recognitions such as this.
National Treasurer Max Newman was then given the floor to lead the Council through his lengthy financial report, with special emphasis given to our budget, the Permanent Fund, and the Life Member program.
National Secretary Bennett then offered his report. The first item noted was a listing of merchandising licenses. Most licenses are due to expire at this year’s National Encampment, and Secretary Bennett will be contacting the Camps and Departments holding licenses to invite them to reapply if desired. The Charitable Foundation, also, needs to reapply for the licenses granted it to produce and sell SUVCW items. A roster of the COA, and a listing of all Electronic Boardroom votes for the year were then distributed for the review of the Council. C-in-C Darby encouraged all Council Members to visit the Electronic Boardroom and cast their votes in a more timely manner, preferably within 7 days, to expedite the work of the Order. Secretary Bennett then listed the several Camps that currently have authorization from their Departments and our C-in-C to form, and are hopefully working towards being able to apply for a Charter. It was noted that the LeValley-Heusted Camp 255, Department of Michigan, recently had their Charter Application approved. Five issues were then addressed by Secretary Bennett as requiring attention. The first was that of circulation difficulties with The Banner, where delivery of the newsletter is inconsistent in some areas –noting that in some cases entire Camps or Departments have not received an issue. This prompted discussion of the US Postal Service’s different delivery methods, such as bulk-rate vs. second class periodical-rate. Brother Pahl said he would inquire of his USPS contact to determine what the difference in rates would be. It was also suggested that a date be included on the outside of the wrapper, which may have an impact on its timely delivery. A second issue dealt with corrections and updates required on our annual reporting forms, noting that the forms have not yet been altered to reflect changes approved by last year’s National Encampment, and would benefit from other changes as well. Secretary Bennett was asked to send his suggestions to SVC-in-C Pahl, so that this can be addressed by the Programs and Policy Committee. Brother Bennett then suggested that additional information and instructions need to be included on the National website wherever a membership application is provided, to clearly explain when the Internet Application is appropriate to use, and when the Standard Application Form 3 should be used. The forms are being used incorrectly by some of our Camps and Departments, with the Internet Application often used in place of the Standard Application Form 3. In response to inquires coming from the membership, and the need for information contained on old Charter Application paperwork and other documents, Brother Bennett expressed a need for our Order to locate, retain, and better organize, our National records. Several possible individuals and entities were suggested as currently in possession of such materials. Brother Bennett agreed to research some, SVC-in-C Pahl volunteered to look into another. Executive Director Walters said that he would itemize the materials currently stored at our National Headquarters. He also noted that an additional, small storage space can be leased from the National Civil War Museum to add to our National Headquarters should the space be needed. Following a lengthy discussion, Commander-in-Chief Darby suggested that at the end of each year, immediately following the National Encampment, all the records, documents and materials of completed work accumulated during the previous administration be turned over to the Executive Director for archiving. A motion to that effect was then made by National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler, and seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn. The motion passed with three votes in opposition. Lastly, Secretary Bennett mentioned his own intention to rework and update the instructions for forming a new Camp and applying for a Charter. To do so, he asked clarification concerning when a newly forming Camp is first required to submit reports and pay per capita fees to a Department or National. While entitled to conduct business and recruit members, SVC-in-C Pahl expressed his opinion that until a Camp is Chartered, having received approval by the Commander-in-Chief of their Charter Application Form 55, they are not yet a Camp and it would not be appropriate for them to submit reports or payments. The Council concurred.
Executive Director Walters was then asked to present the new National Headquarters lease agreement offered by the National Civil War Museum. The changes from the previous lease agreement are a reduction in the length of the lease from five to two years, and an increase in rent from $200 to $250 per month. A motion was made by SVC-in-C Pahl to accept and sign the lease agreement. The motion was seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler and passed unanimously. To have all information which may be needed in the future, Brother Walters was asked to inquire as to the additional cost of adding the supplemental storage room discussed earlier.
The subject of ROTC/JROTC medals was then addressed and discussed at length. With recent publicity of the program, there has been a significant increase in requests for this award. One single school district in Philadelphia , PA , for example, has made requests for 17 medals. Similar difficulties have arisen in other parts of the country as well. With the response to the program currently much greater than anticipated, many Camps and Departments are finding themselves unable to absorb the cost of providing these medals to every unit that requests one. Options were discussed including developing a less expensive medal, or replacing the medal with a simpler ribbon and certificate. National Patriotic Instructor Bruce Butgereit gave his recommendation that a two-part program be implemented in which a medal may be presented when a Camp or Department is willing and able to purchase it, but a less expensive ribbon with certificate can be provided upon any request, with the cost being covered by the National Organization. A revised application form will have to be created if the program is to be changed, and Brother Butgereit provided a sample to show how the form could be altered to serve our needs. It was also noted that more info on the award needs to be included on the National website, and a suggested new ROTC/JROTC Award section was provided by Brother Butgereit. SVC-in-C Pahl moved that the present program be continued as it is currently configured, and that the National Patriotic Instructor be asked to submit his report and proposal to the National Encampment for their review. The motion was seconded by PC-in-C Michaels, and passed with the opposing vote of National Quartermaster Wheeler.
JVC-in-C Pahl then announced that the next issue of The Banner would be coming soon, and showed the cover featuring Father Corby at Gettysburg . Brother Pahl also noted that the Camp in Detroit , MI had their legal action against the City of Detroit over the GAR property removed to the United States Federal District Court . The City’s attempt to have the case put back into the City’s Court failed. There have been RFPs for an outside entity to purchase the property, restore it and erect a memorial or plaque to identify it as a GAR building. Members of the Sons and Daughters are being permitted to serve on the Committee to review the proposals as they come in. The contents of the building had been removed and transferred to Historic Fort Wayne. While the City denies knowledge of that, it is believed that it can be proven that such was the case, and a motion for summary judgment is currently being pursued.
National Quartermaster Wheeler suggested that an article in The Banner might be helpful to our membership in explaining the differences between the War Medal and the Military Service Medal, as well as how the medals are to be applied for. SVC-in-C Pahl agreed to print whatever Brother Wheeler submits. Brother Wheeler then asked if it would be possible to obtain a complete roster of our National membership, so that he can confirm those ordering certain merchandise are, in fact, Brothers in Good Standing. With authorization from Commander-in-Chief Darby, Executive Director Walters is able to provide that information. Brother Wheeler then asked about progress with updated Rituals, noting that a new printing will be required soon. It is hoped that the Committee headed by PC-in-C George Powell will have completed Rituals ready by the National Encampment so that a printing can be done soon thereafter.
Executive Director Walters presented three magnetic ribbons, as are typically placed on vehicles, which the Griffin Camp 8 in Scranton , PA intends to produce and offer for sale at $5 each. The Charitable Foundation has a right of first refusal on this item, and declined to exercise any claim to it at this time. Two of the ribbons feature the Sons name and or logo, and therefore require a license from the National Organization in order to be produced and sold. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn and seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler that the license be granted. SVC-in-C Pahl amended the motion to indicate that the license would expire two years from the 2006 National Encampment. Brother Kuhn amended his motion to indicate that this license, as well as the license already granted to the Davis * Camp for the creation and sale of a postage stamp, will expire at the National Encampment in 2008. Brother Wheeler attached his second to the new motion, which passed unanimously.
PC-in-C Michaels expressed the Auxiliary’s appreciation to the Council for patronizing their luncheon, and also noted that a Soldiers Home Gift Shop is located right outside the meeting room which the Council Members should feel free to visit and patronize as well.
JVC-in-C Kuhn presented two questions to the Council. The first was an inquiry as to when the Department of Pennsylvania would get funds from National for use towards the 2006 Encampment. The short answer was “when it is requested.” National Treasurer Newman noted that as soon as a letter is received, he will disburse the funds. Brother Kuhn’s second issue was to ask why our Order makes a profit on the membership badge, suggesting that the basic membership badge of our Order should be made available to any member who wants one at cost, plus shipping. It was reported, however, that even at the current price, which includes some modest profit to the Order, the National Quartermaster has difficulty in keeping enough on hand to fill all of the many orders he receives.
Council Member Dave Stephen brought up the question which had arisen regarding a work-study program and the need for workers compensation insurance. C-in-C Darby noted that if a Camp wanted to assume the liability of insurance on their own, they were welcome to do so. This may permit a contract to be entered into between a school and a Camp, but not between a school and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Brother Stephen then informed the Council of an Iowa battle flag belonging to a Cedar Rapids Masonic Lodge which, with the help of a local carpenters union, was sealed in a case and is now on display at the Masonic Library and Museum in Cedar Rapids . Brother Stephen recommended the Grand Lodge of Iowa for consideration for the Founders Award. It was noted that, as of this date, no other recommendations for this award have been received. C-in-C Darby announced that April 15 th will be the cut-off date, after which the Council will make a decision on the recipient(s) for this award. Lastly, Brother Stephen asked if the requirement that a copy of a soldier’s discharge be provided with an application to the SUVCW is necessary in this day of information so readily available via the internet and other sources. It was agreed that a discharge is not necessary, but the proof should be from a primary source such as National Archives records or an Adjutant General’s reports. An internet citing of those sources would, technically, not be sufficient.
National Secretary Bennett provided the answer to a question plaguing the Counsel for almost a year and a half, stemming from a discussion and subsequent vote regarding advertising space to be provided to the National Quartermaster and the Charitable Foundation in The Banner. Brother Bennett explained that the difficulty arose when a motion was made, but further discussion changed the course of the Council’s thinking, so that when the vote was finally taken, votes were likely cast for a decision other than the specific wording of the original motion. To eliminate the confusion, National Quartermaster Wheeler restated his original motion, that Foundation Advertising should be included in every issue of The Banner. The motion was seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn. SVC-in-C Pahl expressed his feeling that in this case, as with most matters concerning the content of The Banner, the decision should be left to the discretion of the Editor. The motion was defeated. Brother Kuhn moved that Foundation advertising should be included in The Banner, free of charge, at the discretion of the Editor. The motion was seconded by Council Member Dan Murray, and passed with a somewhat jokingly opposing vote from SVC-in-C (and Banner Editor) Pahl. Brother Kuhn then moved that a National Quartermaster advertisement be included in every issue of The Banner, free of charge. This too was seconded by Council Member Murray. SVC-in-C Pahl offered a friendly amendment that the free advertising space be provided at the discretion of the Editor, rather than mandating that it be provided in every issue. The amendment was accepted, and the motion passed unanimously.
SVC-in-C Pahl moved that the Council of Administration meeting be adjourned. This was seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn and, as it was noted that this was the longest COA meeting in recent memory, the motion passed unanimously.
With no further business to come before the Council, Chaplain Kowalski was asked to offer a closing prayer.
The meeting was closed by Commander-in-Chief Darby at approximately 1:30 PM .
Respectfully Submitted in Fraternity, Charity, & Loyalty,
Michael S. Bennett, PDC
National Secretary, SUVCW
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