Council of Administration Meeting
April 16, 2005
The National Council of Administration meeting was held at the Grace Lutheran Church in Springfield, IL on April 16, 2005. Voting Council Members present were: C-in-C Stephen A. Michaels, SVC-in-C Donald E. Darby, JVC-in-C James B. Pahl, National Secretary Michael S. Bennett, National Treasurer Max L. Newman, National Quartermaster Danny L. Wheeler, Council Of Administration Members Robert B. Petrovic, Charles E. Kuhn, Jr., D. Brad Schall, and PC-in-C Kent Armstrong. Council Members David Stephen and Leo Kennedy were excused. Past Commanders-in-Chief present were PC-in-C Al Loomis and PC-in-C Edward J. Krieser. Also present were Chief of Staff Donald D. Palmer, Jr., Executive Director Lee F. Walters, National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski, and National Patriotic Instructor Bruce Butgereit.
As he called the meeting to order, C-in-C Michaels asked for a moment of silence to pause and ask for God to extend His blessings on Brothers in distress, including PC-in-C Keith Harrison, whose mother passed away about a week ago, and for Brother Frank Tucker of Massachusetts who recently lost his wife. National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski then offered a moving and thought provoking invocation. Those assembled then recited the Pledge of Allegiance, led by C-in-C Michaels. National Quartermaster Wheeler, noted that all Council Members not wearing their membership badge were required to pay a penalty of one dollar, as per the decision of the previous Council Meeting. Secretary Bennett dutifully paid his dollar and then called the roll of Council of Administration Members, and noted the Past Commanders-in-Chief and guests who were present.
Chief of Staff Palmer distributed the National Officer and Committee reports, and offered his appreciation for the dramatic improvement in the number of reports received for this meeting over the last meeting. He expressed his belief that with more reports received, the Council will have a better view and understanding of the state of our Order. Brother Palmer noted several staff changes, and commented on the reports he felt required special attention, identifying the reports of the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, the Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, the National Civil War Memorials Officer, the National Graves Registration Officer, the Liaison to the Cathedral of the Pines, National Webmaster, the Committee on Legislation, the Remembrance Day Committee, and the Ebay Committee as possibly containing issues which need to be addressed at this time.
Officers present who wished to give a verbal report were then given an opportunity to do so. This was done by the National Secretary, the Patriotic Instructor and Chairman of the Committee on Americanization and Education, the National Quartermaster, the Chairman of the Committee on Lincoln Tomb Observance, and the Co-Chairman of the National Committee on Civil War Heritage Defense Fund.
C-in-C Michaels then asked for a report on Communications. National Secretary Bennett reported on, and turned over to the National Treasurer, a check from the US Grant Camp 101 in Detroit, MI for a replacement Charter, an Application for Permission to Form a Camp of the SUVCW from the Pvt. Silas Gore Camp 141 of Towanda, PA, Department of Pennsylvania, Brother Steven Hall, Camp Organizer, and a request for permission to waive National per capita for a Brother from the William B. Keith Camp 12, Department of California & Pacific, currently serving in a combat zone. C-in-C Michaels reported on a communication he received via our Executive Director from the Citizens Flag Alliance, who provided us with a SuperTracker report of our Congressional Representatives and their positions on a Flag Amendment, or other legislation to protect the flag from desecration. PC-in-C Krieser noted that a National Encampment has already voted to support a flag protection amendment.
The Council was then directed to a listing of all Department Encampments and other events which might require or invite a visitation from our Commander-in-Chief or other National Officer. C-in-C Michaels noted that there were four events still not covered, and asked for volunteers from the Council. Treasurer Newman noted that Council Members representing the Commander-in-Chief at any of these events must submit an expense report, with their receipts, to the C-in-C for his approval, prior to reimbursement. Secretary Bennett volunteered to attend the Department of Connecticut Encampment on May 21, 2005. Brother Kuhn reported he will check his schedule to see if he can attend one of the other uncovered events.
C-in-C Michaels then asked the Council to determine what the further duties of Nathan Orr will be with regard to the Graves Registration database, now that the database is up and running online. Discussion followed, concluding with a decision to locate and review the original contract and see how and if the subject of future maintenance is addressed, and if a payment is currently owed to Brother Nathan for his work. The possibility of the Graves Registration Database software being adapted for use with the Civil War Memorials Database was briefly discussed, noting that the National Civil War Memorials Officer would indicate when he was ready to move in that direction. Secretary Bennett expressed his concern that experiments in using the database have, on some occasions, found information that was so incorrect that it made one question whether the data was input correctly, or whether fields may have shifted resulting in soldier data aligning with different individuals. Other Council Members expressed concern over outside individuals, or even multiple individuals within our own organization, being given authority to enter data and make changes. C-in-C Michaels agreed to bring these concerns to the attention of National Graves Registration Officer Bob Lowe. The Council's conclusion was that all of these problems or concerns would be addressed, now that the database is finally online.
Treasurer Newman noted one correction to his Treasurer's Report. He then answered questions or offered clarification where requested regarding the remainder of his report. Treasurer Newman then announced that he would provide the Council with copies of the budget with blank lines next to each item so that Council Members could indicate if there are any expenses or line items which need to be adjusted. National Quartermaster Wheeler then commented on the manner in which he will change the way shipping and other supplies for the Quartermaster will be purchased and accounted for. Senior Vice C-in-C Darby noted, and confirmed with Treasurer Newman, that we would be approximately $400 over budget on publication of The Banner. SVC-in-C Darby then asked if a motion was needed in order to increase the budget to cover this expense. National Counselor James Pahl indicated that this could be handled at the Pre-Encampment Council Meeting as necessary. Treasurer Newman then announced that he will not be resigning his position as National Treasurer, after resolving his health issues. He received a round of applause, and much support from those assembled.
National Patriotic Instructor Butgereit then asked what the procedure was for ordering a new supply of ROTC medals. It was noted that this is the duty of the National Quartermaster, and National Quartermaster Wheeler informed the Council that he would place the order the following day. The possibility of "drop shipping" these medals directly to Brother Butgereit was then discussed and Brother Wheeler agreed to explore that possibility.
Treasurer Newman then asked the Council to let him know if there was any additional information that they needed in understanding the finances of our Order, and also offered to print additional reports, or different reports, if they would be helpful. He also noted how the auditors equate each member paying dues, whether for a full year, half year, or quarter of the year, with a full year's dues of $18, thereby creating a disparity between our records, and the auditors' calculations. Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Pahl noted that regardless of the auditors' inability to understand the workings of our Order, Treasurer Newman is doing a far superior job to our previous National Treasurer (Brother Pahl).
SVC-in-C Darby asked about the Certificates of Deposit owned by the Sons, including some in Pennsylvania that are earning very low rates of interest. It was also noted that several of our smaller accounts or investments might be combined to create larger sums earning higher rates. A motion was made by PC-in-C Armstrong, seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler, to authorize Treasurer Newman to re-invest funds that are coming due in June and August at a higher rate. Council Member Kuhn asked for the adoption of a friendly amendment to consolidate other funds, even CDs not yet due and even if small penalties are incurred, in order to gain higher interest rates. The amendment was adopted and the motion was approved unanimously.
C-in-C Michaels then brought up the subject of travel allowances, and the possibility of increasing these allowances in light of rising costs of fuel and transportation. Specifically, C-in-C Michaels noted that Executive Director Walters easily spends far more than his allotted amount of $1000 per year in attending the annual National Encampment and Council Meetings. Brother Walters confirmed that he regularly spends more in travel expenses than he is reimbursed for. JVC-in-C Pahl moved that the Executive Director's travel allowance be increased by $1000. The motion was seconded by Treasurer Newman. SVC-in-C Darby offered a friendly amendment to increase the allowance by $2000. This amendment was accepted by Brothers Pahl and Newman. The motion passed unanimously and Counselor Pahl will draft an amended contract for the Executive Director that reflects this increase.
The subject of the C-in-C and his designees, and their travel allowances, was then discussed. PC-in-C Armstrong moved that the current amount of up to $300 per travel available to Council Members representing the Commander-in-Chief specifically at Department Encampments be increased to $500, with his authorization and approval of submitted receipts. This was seconded by Brother Wheeler and passed unanimously. Brother Wheeler cautioned the Council to remember that we do the things we do, including travel, for the Boys in Blue, and that sometimes these expenses must come out of our own pockets. All were in agreement. Brother Wheeler then suggested that, in line with the motion just passed, the Commander-in-Chief's budget for travel should also be increased to help cover the many expenses incurred by Commanders-in-Chief. PC-in-C Armstrong moved that the C-in-C's budget be increased from $5000 to $6000. Council Member Schall suggested that this might not be enough, and offered a friendly amendment to increase this amount to $7500. Treasurer Newman offered the amendment that the increase be 60%, raising the amount to $8000. Following discussion, including opposition to that large an increase by some members, PC-in-C Wheeler moved that there be an increase of $1000. This was seconded by PC-in-C Armstrong. Council Member Schall offered a formal amendment that this increase be raised to $2500, which was seconded by Brother Kuhn. The vote on the amendment passed unanimously, and the amended motion passed unanimously as well, with Brothers Darby and Pahl abstaining. Brother Wheeler then moved that the $2500 increase just approved be extended to include the current Commander-in-Chief. This was seconded by SVC-in-C Darby, and approved unanimously.
Commander-in-Chief Michaels then reported that the Presidents of the Allied Orders, specifically the Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans and the Ladies of the G.A.R., had been contacted in writing regarding the need for an increase in the contribution made each year towards our National Encampment. C-in-C Michaels specified a need for an additional $150. The Auxiliary has indicated that they will agree and are prepared to offer payment. The Ladies of the G.A.R. have not yet responded. Some discussion then ensued as to where and to whom the Auxiliary should send their payment, and it was agreed that the payment should be sent to the Host Department, and will be reflected on their report to the COA. A lengthy discussion ensued, regarding Allied Orders, contributions, exactly what is included with an attendee's registration fee, and what might be covered by additional fees. It was agreed that no further action will be taken with regard to the Sons' request for an increased contribution from the Auxiliary and LGAR towards Encampment expenses. Should the contributions be made, they will be accepted with appreciation. And if not, then that decision will be accepted as well. Furthermore, in the interest of increasing the fraternity and harmony within our Allied Orders, it was agreed that all attendees will continue to be treated equally and will be provided with the same materials, including badges, as the Sons.
The Commander-in-Chief then called a short recess.
Upon continuation of the meeting, Secretary Bennett asked for clarification on certain information that was requested on the recently revised Annual Report Forms 27/27a and 35/35a as well as the monthly Camp Status Report Form 30, and the procedures for filing each of these reports. After much discussion, the Council came to agreement on exactly which information was required on the different forms, and exactly when the different forms are to be used. Secretary Bennett will create instructions for each of these forms. It was noted that the revised Camp Annual Report Form does not ask for the date of death of deceased members being reported for the first time with that report, as do the Department Annual Report and the Camp Status Reports. Also, where the reports ask for changes in membership numbers or information since last report, it is unclear if that refers to last Annual Report or last Status Report. In some instances it is one, and in other places it is the other. C-in-C Michaels asked SVC-in-C Darby and the Program & Policy Committee to look into and clarify this on the forms. It was further confirmed that following the possible submission of a Camp Status Report noting December changes to a Camp's membership, no Camp Status Reports are to be submitted in January, February or March. Following the Camp Annual Report which reflects the status of the Camp on March 31st, and may show changes that have occurred during the first quarter, changes are once again reported using Camp Status Reports in May though December.
National Quartermaster Wheeler remarked that some Camps were concerned by the requirement that they provide bank account information on the Camp Annual Report forms and the possibility of identity theft.
Council Member Petrovic then reported on the status of work on the 2005 National Encampment, including the purchase of ribbons, and proposals for photographic services. Specific requirements for photography were discussed, including the use of 35 mm film instead of digital, the use of archival albums, and specific numbering protocols for proofs. Brother Petrovic suggested that two sets of prints be produced, with one set for National and the second set as a gift to the outgoing C-in-C. Products and packages, a list of specific pictures to be taken, and prices were discussed, resulting in a motion by JVC-in-C Pahl, seconded by SVC-in-C Darby to adopt to following photography package:
- $50 per roll of film + developing (4 or 5 rolls provided by Encampment)
- Double Prints and a CD-Rom disk to be produced
- 1 set to National in an archival album
- CD-Rom with index for National to use in creating duplicate prints
- 1 set to the outgoing C-in-C in an archival album
- The Encampment Host Committee selects and retains the photographer
The motion passed with only Brother Pahl in opposition, out of old habit.
In part to cover increasing costs of the National Encampment, including the aforementioned photography package, and also to attempt to enable those responsible for the Encampment to have better information on the expected number of attendees, it was proposed that the Encampment registration fee be raised to $10 for advance registrations, and $15 at the door. This was moved by SVC-in-C Darby, and seconded by PC-in-C Armstrong. The motion passed unanimously.
PC-in-C Krieser reported that the 2004 Encampment Proceedings are completed and in print. Copies will be mailed to members of the Council who have not received them, and they will also be available at the Encampment in New Hampshire. Brother Krieser also noted that PC-in-C Richard Orr has reported that Brother Glenn Knight is finished with his, which will make three sets of Proceedings to be mailed out this year. Brother Krieser and Brother Darby both spoke of the high quality product that we are now producing with the assistance of the new stenographer. It was noted that, as a Congressionally Chartered organization, copies of our Proceedings are provided, and must be provided, to the Library of Congress.
C-in-C Michaels then called upon PC-in-C Al Loomis to report on the Lincoln Bicentennial. Brother Loomis passed around a packet of information that included a proposed letter to the Federal Lincoln Bicentennial Commission asking for permission to produce a Lincoln Bicentennial medallion - much as the Grand Army of the Republic produced for the Centennial celebration. Brother Loomis went through and explained the Federal Commission's application, and then showed a sketch of the potential medallion design. The Council discussed the designs, and whether the item should be a medallion or a coin. Brother Kuhn moved that the Council approve the presented medallion design, and that it be produced as a bronze medallion. Other metals and appearances were briefly discussed. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. PC-in-C Loomis requested approval of the Council to send his letter and application to the Federal Commission. This was moved, seconded and unanimously passed as well. Brother Loomis noted that there are State Commissions created in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and that he has been given a position on the Indiana Taskforce.
Brother Kreiser reported that the Charitable Foundation is actively working on By-Laws, and should have a draft ready for review in a couple of months. Also, new products will be made available for sale by the National Encampment in New Hampshire. Discussion was then held regarding the availability of advertising space in The Banner for the Foundation. While some members of the Council expressed their belief that it had previously been decided that 2 issues per year of The Banner would feature free space to the Foundation, PC-in-C Krieser noted that the minutes from the Post-Encampment COA Meeting report that space would be provided in every issue. Secretary Bennett agreed to review the audio recordings from that meeting to ensure the accuracy of the minutes. Brother Darby noted that the Quartermaster and the Foundation will be utilizing four pages out of each issue. National Quartermaster Wheeler suggested that neither entity requires two pages per issue, as a page of photographs is not needed in each and every issue. Brother Petrovic noted that it is difficult for Brothers to identify items either from the written description or from photographs alone. Brother Darby added that our new printer provided four extra color pages at no additional cost, without which, some of our color pages, perhaps the photo pages under discussion, would have been in black and white. On behalf of the Foundation, Brother Petrovic asked if a website page could be provided for providing information about the purpose of the Foundation, as well as for photographs of merchandise available for sale and an order form. JVC-in-C Pahl noted that Departments are asked to pay $60 per year for hosting a site within the National website, and suggested that the Foundation should be required to do the same. Secretary Bennett reported his belief that advertising is prohibited within the National website, at least on Camp and Department sites within the National site. Brother Petrovic then asked if the Foundation could produce copies of The Banner for sale on CD-Rom. A motion was made by PC-in-C Armstrong, and seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler to proceed with the sale of The Banner on CD. A friendly amendment was made by Brother Pahl to follow the suggestion of PC-in-C Richard Orr to authorize the Foundation to act as an agent of the SUVCW in manufacturing these CDs, and then license them as an exclusive distributor. The motion passed with the abstentions of Brothers Schall and Pahl.
C-in-C Michaels reported on the inquiry from PC-in-C Powell regarding the availability of suvcw.org vanity e-mail addresses. Brother Darby suggested that, if addresses were to be made available for a price, a full year's payment should be required up front, rather than paying month to month. The subject was tabled until more detailed availability and pricing information can be obtained. It was further discussed that domain names similar to suvcw.org are available, such as suvcw.com, suvcw.info, suvcw.net, etc. and that other entities could obtain them. These domains could be acquired by those with animosity towards our Order, with opposing views to our own, or even simply by other organizations or individuals we might not want to be associated with, and might cause confusion or negative public opinion about the SUVCW. National Quartermaster Wheeler moved that we purchase all "suvcw" sites available. Brother Pahl suggested that we find out how many sites we are talking about before taking that action. The subject was tabled until investigation could take place into how much money this would cost annually, based on the number of domain names to be registered.
Patriotic Instructor Butgereit was then given the floor to present some of the projects and publications he has been working on this year: a flyer on U.S. Flag facts, a flyer with information on an adopt-a-school program for use within the SUVCW, a mourning or death certificate, and a Patriotic Instructor's Handbook. All of these were created with the intention that they be placed on the National website, free to all of our members and also available to the general public. All were very well received by the members of the Council. C-in-C Michaels directed that the certificate be forwarded to the Program & Policy Committee for their review, and that the approved form be made available through the National Quartermaster. Brother Pahl indicated his work towards creating a new SUVCW "Redbook" that would be on CD-Rom and would feature all SUVCW forms and publications. He estimated that it should be completed by the 2006 National Encampment, and that Brother Butgereit's publications should be included. Brother Darby moved that until such a "Redbook" is created, all of these pamphlets should be placed on the National website. The motion was supported by Brother Pahl and seconded by Brother Wheeler. C-in-C Michaels offered the friendly amendment that even after a "Redbook" is created, these items should remain on the website. The motion passed unanimously.
Brother Kuhn then reported on Remembrance Day, beginning a discussion on the location to be used for the SUVCW ceremony. Brother Kuhn reported that since the ceremony was moved to The Angle several years ago, attendance at the ceremony has decreased. He added that some Confederate re-enactors have viewed the SUVCW's move to that site as in intrusion on their own ceremony. Many Union units and SUVCW Brothers also agree that the move was a mistake which detracts from our original purpose. On behalf of the Remembrance Day Committee, Brother Kuhn expressed their belief that it would be desirable to move the ceremony from The Angle back to the GAR Monument and made a motion to that affect. This was seconded by Brother Wheeler. Brother Darby noted that the move to The Angle first took place in response to both the Confederate and Union re-enactors bypassing the ceremonies at the GAR Monument. Brother Darby asked for a definition of what Remembrance Day, and our event, is about. Brother Kuhn offered that the day likely means something different to everyone. He further noted that the 19th of November is the day of the dedication of the National Cemetery and Lincoln's address, and that this was the reason the parade was first started. C-in-C Michaels expressed his belief that all arguments had now been heard. Brother Pahl moved the previous question. Further discussion ensued, and Brother Darby repeated his belief that the Sons need to define what the purpose of the event is, and the rest will become evident. The motion to return the SUVCW ceremony to the GAR Monument passed unanimously. Brother Darby moved that the Order define the reason for the ceremony and put it in writing. Brother Pahl moved that this matter be referred to the Remembrance Day Committee. This motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Brother Kuhn then moved that the parade be held at 1:30 PM instead of 1:00 PM this year, and this year only, to accommodate the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania's event this year. This motion was seconded by Brother Wheeler and passed unanimously. Brother Kuhn continued to note that information has to be disseminated quickly through press releases in publications such as the Civil War News to spread the word about the change of time, the newly defined reason for the event, and that there are rules for the event including attire and conduct.
C-in-C Michaels then asked Secretary Bennett to report on a recent update from National Civil War Memorials Officer Todd Shillington regarding the theft of cannon from Kendall, NY. Brother Bennett reported that the cannon illegally sold by the Town and Town Supervisor of Kendall, NY to Kenneth Watterson are being returned. While admitting no wrong-doing, Mr. Watterson has stated that, noting the trouble the Kendall Town Supervisor seems to have gotten himself into, the matter is not worth a man losing his job. Despite our apparent victory in this matter, progress continues in other New York cannon theft investigations, and it is hoped that prosecutions will take place. Meanwhile, in Trinidad, CO, the TACOM office and Department of Defense are going after cannon removed from Kit Carson Park. C-in-C Michaels then asked for the Council to vote on the Resolution drafted by PC-in-C Johnson, asking for the support of the American Legion in our "saving cannon strategy." Brother Armstrong moved, and Brother Darby seconded a motion to approve the Resolution. The motion passed unanimously.
National Quartermaster Wheeler brought up a request he has received to provide samples of SUVCW medals, specifically the War and Military Service medal, for display in a museum. JVC-in-C Pahl reported that he has had a similar request from another institution. After discussion, it was agreed that the medals are only to be made available for purchase by individual Brothers for their own use.
C-in-C Steve Michaels then reported on a request from the Department of Kansas Camp located in Beloit, KS, which has recently undergone a re-organization and would like permission from the Council to conduct Camp Officer elections no later than the end of May, 2005. Brother Darby moved and Brother Pahl seconded that permission be given to the Camp for this extension.
Brother Kuhn reports that the National Organization has been asked to provide and present a wreath at a ceremony held at Pt. Lookout, Maryland in October. C-in-C Michaels noted that he will be attending the Department of Maryland Encampment next week and will make inquiries there about this event. Brother Kuhn then asked if the name "Sons of Union Veterans" can be used on a medal to be struck for use at an event to be held by the Department of Pennsylvania at the site of Andersonville Prison. When informed that permission of the Council would be required, Brother Kuhn made that request. A motion was made by Brother Armstrong, and duly seconded by Brother Wheeler, that permission be granted. The vote was unanimous.
Executive Director Walters then showed a sample of the SUVCW license plate being offered for sale by the Hartranft Camp, under license from the Sons of Union Veterans.
SVC-in-C Darby mentioned that PCin-C Johnson and others would like to see the War Medal, Military Service Medal and Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR) Medal created in miniature. Counselor Pahl indicated that the Constitution provides for a palm to be worn on the miniature Membership Medal to signify the War Medal. To create a new miniature medal would require amending the Constitution and Regulations.
Secretary Bennett discussed updates and changes he believes are needed to Form 50, Instructions for Forming a Camp. C-in-C Michaels directed that Secretary Bennett work with the Program and Policy Committee with regard to this.
Treasurer Newman mentioned that he needs to be informed of the Employer Identification Numbers of new Camps. As Form 54 contains, or should contain, that information, Secretary Bennett will forward copies of this form to Treasurer Newman as they are filed and approved.
JVC-in-C Pahl noted that there is no link on the National Civil War Museum website leading to the SUVCW National site. It was suggested that the museum be contacted and that a request be made.
Brother Pahl also reported on an inquiry received from a gentleman in Australia who is interested in obtaining and placing US Government headstones for unmarked Union veterans graves in Australia. The Department of Veterans Affairs reported that they will ship headstones outside of the US. Assistance is needed in assembling the information required in order to apply for stones. Secretary Bennett volunteer to contact and work with this man on this project.
Patriotic Instructor Butgereit requested that ROTC certificates be printed professionally, as was previously done. National Quartermaster Wheeler asked that the certificate file be forwarded to him so that he could attend to this. Brother Butgereit also noted that, according to our Ritual, a blank form is to be provided by the Department Patriotic Instructor. No standard form exists. C-in-C Michaels referred this matter to the Program & Policy Committee for its review.
National Chaplain Kowalski reported that he has been contacted by Auxiliary Chaplain Mary Fritz, regarding the Joint Memorial Service to be held at the National Encampment, and further stated that he will be coordinating much of this. Council Members present shared their recollections of how this observance has been held. C-in-C Michaels suggested that Past National Chaplain McAfee would be a good person to contact for information on last year's Memorial Service.
With no further business to come before the Council, the C-in-C asked Chaplain Kowalski to offer a closing prayer and, following that, closed the meeting.
Michael S. Bennett, PDC
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