Council of Administration Meeting
August 4, 2005
Nashua, New Hampshire
The meeting was opened by Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Darby at approximately 8:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Past Commander-in-Chief Kent Armstrong. An opening prayer was then offered by Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief James Pahl. Upon the roll call of officers, the following were present, or would shortly be present:
Commander-in-Chief Stephen A. Michaels
Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Donald E. Darby
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief and Counselor James B. Pahl
National Secretary Michael S. Bennett
National Treasurer Max L. Newman
National Quartermaster Danny L. Wheeler
Council Member Robert M. Petrovic
Council Member David P. Stephen
Council Member Charles E. Kuhn
Council Member Leo F. Kennedy
Council Member D. Brad Schall
Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief Kent L. Armstrong
National Washington D.C. Representative Andrew M. Johnson, PC-in-C
Past Commanders-in-Chief George L. Powell, Edward J. Krieser, Elmer F. "Bud" Atkinson, Charles W. Corfman, and Richard Greenwalt
Guests of the Council of Administration: Chief of Staff Donald Palmer, Executive Director Lee Walters, Past Department Commander Ron Gill, and Department of Maryland Commander James Hanby
Communications were read by National Secretary Bennett including a recommendation from the Department of Kansas for two Brothers to be appointed National Aides for their recruiting efforts, a letter from PDC Gary Gibson expressing his regret at not being able to attend this year's Encampment, a letter from Taylor Camp 53, Dept. of Tennessee, regarding license requests connected with certificates they would like to produce and make available for sale to the SUVCW membership, a letter from the Department of Indiana expressing their desire to host the 2009 National Encampment, and several letters of support for candidates seeking elected National Office. A previous resolution by the Tanner Camp 134, Department of New York, seeking Honorary Membership for a New York Assemblyman was withdrawn.
Counselor Pahl noted that the $17,000 stipend paid to the Executive Director includes reimbursement for expenses, and that no wording in the contract stipulates how that figure is to be broken down, leaving it to the Executive Director to decide how he wishes to allocate the funds.
Council Member Petrovic then reported on the manner in which he suggests Commanders-in-Chief receive their commemorative photographic albums. The incoming C-in-C will receive his album shortly after installation, so that he may fill them with photographs during his term of office. The albums are a high, archival quality.
PC-in-C Krieser then reported on the progress made with the compilation of National Encampment Proceedings noting that 1998, 2003 and 2004 are now completed. This would leave just a few years to be completed. C-in-C Michaels instructed National Secretary Bennett to notify the PC-in-Cs from the years not yet completed that they need to wrap up their Proceedings as soon as possible and that arrangements with PC-in-C Krieser should be made to have these transcribed and published as soon as possible. PC-in-C Krieser also reported that he has learned that Congress will now accept an electronic copy of our annual Proceedings in order to satisfy the requirement that we submit our annual Proceedings to Congress. SVC-in-C Darby clarified that producing the Proceedings electronically, perhaps on CD, would save considerable costs over publishing hard copies. Counselor Pahl began a search through our C & R to confirm our own requirements for publication of Encampment Proceedings. A concern was discussed that documents appearing in .pdf format can easily be altered. JVC-in-C Pahl and National Quartermaster Wheeler suggested that the matter be brought before the National Encampment for discussion and decision.
Chief of Staff Donald Palmer noted that a complete compilation of Officer and Committee Reports was being assembled by the National Secretary for distribution to the Encampment, and he presented a summary of the reports containing recommendations requiring the attention of the Council. Chief of Staff Palmer also noted that 94% of National Officers and Committees submitted reports. In an attempt to offer further assistance to present and future National Officers, Brother Palmer presented a document he developed entitled "Guidelines for Effective Committee Organization and Operation." It was further reported that assistance would be needed with the Joint Opening Ceremonies in the morning, and that many of the Council Members would be asked to escort their Auxiliary counterparts, and others, into the ceremonies. Council Member Petrovic added that we would need to perform a quick change-over of the room between the Joint Memorial Service and the Joint Opening Ceremony and the Joint Opening Ceremony and our own 1st Business Session. In conclusion, Brother Palmer offered his appreciation for the opportunity to serve this year as National Chief of Staff.
National Treasurer Newman presented his budget for the year 2005-2006, including a 34 page Financial Report. Brother Newman offered many explanations and clarifications of the entries in his report, and further explained that payment to the Executive Director will be taking place a few weeks earlier than in the past, so that it will take place during the quarter covered by the check. Brother Newman also noted that there are a number of outstanding checks from the National Organization that have not been cashed in more than a year, and that he has received a number of "thank you" letters from entities within our Order that have received checks, particularly those who have received Memorials Grants.
SVC-in-C Darby reported that tax forms have arrived late to the stenographer transcribing our Encampment Proceedings, and asked that they be provided sooner, specifically within the period allocated by the IRS. National Treasurer Newman noted that he will be performing this function himself in the future, as our auditors have demonstrated for several years that they are not able to do this in a timely manner. Treasurer Newman further explained that he has been informed that the SUVCW is supposed to be operating in a manner called zero-based budgeting, which he described as prohibiting the carrying over of balances from one year's budget to the next. Rather, excess funds can only be placed in reserve funds from which they can possibly be drawn. One of the programs of the Order to be affected by this change is the Civil War Memorials Grant program, which often permitted excess funds to be granted to projects by vote of the National Encampment. As there can now be no funds in excess by the time of the National Encampment, this can no longer be done. Further, it was agreed that the deadlines by which applications to the Memorial Grants program must be received in order to be properly examined and approved should be moved back to permit more time for these applications to be fully processed before the end of the fiscal year.
JVC-in-C Pahl moved that the proposed Budget be approved as presented. This was seconded by Council member Charles Kuhn and was unanimously approved.
It was noted that the Memorials Assessment Form 61 required to be submitted to the National Civil War Memorials Officer in order to qualify, in part, for Memorials Grants has not, in all cases, been provided prior to grant checks being written. The National Civil War Memorials Officer has expressed his displeasure that the correct and clearly specified procedure is not always being followed, and that a large part of the basis and spirit of this program, to help grow our Order's collection of assessment information for Civil War Memorials, is being lost.
C-in-C Michaels brought up the subject of the proposed policy regarding entering into contracts on behalf of the National Organization. National Secretary noted that as of the early morning hours of August 4, 2005, there were 9 votes electronically cast in favor of this new policy. C-in-C Michaels noted, therefore, that the motion to approve this policy has passed.
SVC-in-C Darby then addressed several questions or concerns regarding the Last Soldier Project submitted by Brother Todd Shillington. It was noted in the Policy read by Brother Darby that the Last Soldier Project falls under the purview of the National Graves Registration Officer and that a Graves Registration Form must be on file before funds can be requested or allocated towards this project. The funds for Last Soldier Memorials do come out of the Civil War Memorials Fund. The National Organization does not have a prescribed plaque that must be used to identify the final resting places of the Last Soldiers in this project, however a sample concept may be found on the National website. It was moved that specific reference to the Last Soldier plaque available for sale from the Department of Illinois be removed from the Official Policy, noting that the Illinois Department's plaque is not a mandated design, but merely one possibility of design which is currently being produced and offered for sale through The Banner. Reference to Last Soldier project information and images depicted on the Ohio Department website was also discussed and it was moved that this reference be retained in the Policy. The motion to remove the reference to the Illinois plaque passed. The motion to retain the Ohio Department website reference was defeated 6/5. Both references are to be removed.
Discussion then took place regarding the creation and wearing of a miniature SVR medal, which would conflict with portions of the current C & R. After lengthy discussion, the matter will be forwarded to the C & R Committee for their review and recommendation.
The Charitable Foundation then displayed three new products available for sale: a valise/portfolio, wrist watch, and umbrella. All three of these items will be on sale during and after the Encampment. Council Member Petrovic then showed a large "Personal War Sketch" acquired from eBay, altered and duplicated to be usable by Brothers in recording the history of their ancestor's service. It is to be available for $10. An SOV certificate was also shown that Brother Petrovic had reworked for potential sale, noting that National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler had a similar item produced, which is currently ready to be sold. The Charitable Foundation's version is not to be sold at this time. Upon approval by the Council, the National Quartermaster's certificate will be available for $3.50. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Pahl to approve the National Quartermaster's certificate for sale. This motion was seconded by Council Member Kuhn and passed unanimously.
SVC-in-C Darby noted that a New Hampshire Camp appears to be offering an Encampment tee shirt for sale that features the name Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. C-in-C Michaels instructed National Secretary Bennett to contact this Camp and inquire as to licensing matters.
A brief discussion then took place regarding the structure of the 501(c)3 Charitable Foundation and its relationship, financial and otherwise, with the 501(c)4 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. It was noted that as soon as sufficient funding becomes available, the Charitable Foundation can begin to provide financial support for specific SUVCW projects.
Council Member Kuhn then presented a draft Definition and Statement of Purpose regarding Remembrance Day, as solicited by the COA at the previous Council of Administration Meeting. SVC-in-C Darby moved that the fourth sentence from the bottom of the third paragraph referencing "winter drought" be removed. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. Council Member Kennedy suggested that the word President should be inserted prior to Lincoln in several locations within this statement. JVC-in-C Pahl suggested that the "for all intents and purposes" by removed from the bold faced paragraph, and C-in-C Michaels suggested that this paragraph be made the first paragraph of this statement, with the supporting paragraphs to follow. PC-in-C Armstrong suggested the removal of specific wording that would restrict this statement to 2005. JVC-in-C Pahl moved that the Council adopt the fourth, bold, paragraph as the official Policy Statement as to our purpose for Remembrance Day, and accept the other paragraphs as the Remembrance Day Committee's report in support of their work in creating this statement. This was seconded by National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler. This amendment was accepted, and the motion passed unanimously.
After considerable discussion, Council Member Kuhn moved that the Remembrance Day Parade Rules be presented on the floor of the National Encampment for their discussion and decision. This motion was seconded by SVC-in-C Darby and passed unanimously.
Returning to the matter of National Encampment Proceedings, JVC-in-C Pahl moved that each person who is in attendance at the Encampment receive one complimentary copy of the proceedings, in the format in which they are produced, including the incoming and outgoing Commander-in-Chief. Additional copies may be purchased for an appropriate fee. This was seconded by Council Member Leo Kennedy. Council Member Kuhn offered an amendment that the wording be changed to include all of those registered for the Encampment, to include those who paid a registration fee but may not have been able to attend. The amendment was accepted, and the motion passed unanimously.
National Quartermaster Wheeler expressed his desire to put photographs of items for sale on the National website, and/or to create a catalogue featuring photographs, so that members can see an image of the items for sale. PC-in-C Wheeler suggested that a simple brochure could even be inserted into packages containing outgoing orders at little cost. C-in-C Michaels stated that creating such a catalogue could be left up to the judgment of the National Quartermaster. Placing advertising on the National website would require a review of Policy as Camps and Departments are prohibited from engaging in sales via the National website. Additionally, Brother Wheeler announced that the National Quartermaster will now be selling 3' x 5' American Flags selling for $8 and 4 x 6' for $10. He also revealed that he expects to have a 2 x 4' SUVCW flag available for sale soon that should retail for approximately $30. This flag would be designed for flying on a flag pole, beneath an American flag, much as a POW/MIA flag is often displayed. It would NOT be a substitute for a Camp flag.
The National Webmaster's recommendation that the Council explore the possibility of purchasing SUVCW domain suffix names (.biz, .usa, .net, .info, etc.) was then discussed. Council Member Stephen moved that the Council follow the recommendation of the National Webmaster and purchase the top four names on the list of existing SUVCW domains, at this time. The motion passed 6/5. It was further suggested that the incoming National Webmaster make inquiry as to the status of the taken domain suvcw.com.
A brief report was given by JVC-in-C Pahl regarding the current status of the talks with TACOM and the possibility of the SUVCW being given custodianship of certain cannon. At present, only two pieces are being included in talks. Liability concerns were briefly discussed, as well as the responsibilities which would be assumed by the SUVCW and local municipalities and other entities.
For the Good of the Order, PC-in-C Armstrong showed pictures of some of the rejected US Postal Service designs for the GAR Stamp issued back in 1949, and provided copies to those assembled.
In conclusion, C-in-C Michaels thanked the Council Members present for their service and for allowing him to be a part of their lives, and for them to be a part of his, during the past year.
Following a closing prayer offered by Council Member Kuhn, the meeting was ended at approximately 11:45 p.m.
Michael S. Bennett, PDC
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