Council of Administration Meeting
November 20, 2005
The Council of Administration meeting was opened by Commander-in-Chief Donald Darby at approximately 8:00 AM with the Pledge of Allegiance. A moving opening prayer was then offered by National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski. 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 Leo Kennedy
Council Member D. Brad Schall
Council Member James Hanby
Council Member Daniel Murray
Immediate Past Commander-in-Chief Stephen Michaels
National Washington D.C. Representative and Past Commander-in-Chief Andrew M. Johnson
Additional Past Commanders-in-Chief present included George L. Powell, Elmer F. “Bud” Atkinson, Charles W. Corfman, and Gordon R. Bury, II.
Guests of the Council of Administration were: National Chaplain Jerome Kowalski, National Chief of Staff Henry Shaw, PCC, National Graves Registration Officer Bob Lowe, PDC, National Webmaster Ken Freshley, Executive Director Lee F. Walters, PCC, Banner Publisher John Hart, Pennsylvania Department Commander Eric J. Schmincke, PCC, and SUVCW Charitable Foundation Board Member Robert Petrovic, PDC.
To begin the meeting, Commander-in-Chief Darby noted that he has signed four new Camp Charters since our National Encampment in August, and 492 new members have been registered since May 1, 2005 , indicating a welcome growth to our Order. C-in-C Darby then reported that as National Chief of Staff Shaw has assembled all of the National Officer and Committee reports submitted, he will give an abbreviated report of those which may require immediate attention. Oral reports from Officers will then be accepted from those present who did not submit written reports previously. These reports will be limited to five minutes.
The report of National Webmaster Ken Freshley was examined, with the potential purchase of available SUVCW domain names to be the first matter for discussion – interrupted only by a request for Chief of Staff Shaw to pay the required $1 penalty for failure to wear his SUVCW membership badge to the meeting. Brother Freshley reported that the price will be $7.95 per year to secure the domain names suvcw.net, suvcw.biz, suvcw.us, and suvcw.info, with a likely discount if we should purchase each of them for a minimum of five years. A motion was made by Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Charles Kuhn, and seconded by Council Member Leo Kennedy, that the SUVCW secure these four domain names for a period of five years, to ensure that they are not taken and used by others. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief James Pahl inquired as to whether these domains could then be set up so that someone who entered any one of them would be redirected to our suvcw.org website. It was confirmed that this would be possible and would be the intention of the National Webmaster. The motion was then passed unanimously. It was noted that the suvcw.com domain registration is currently held by a domain squatter, and Brother Freshley agreed to make contact with this individual in an attempt to obtain this domain name as well.
Brother Freshley then addressed the subject of available suvcw.org e-mail addresses which are currently not being used by our Order. If they are to be provided to anyone, Brother Freshley recommended that they should only be used as alias addresses, so that received messages are forwarded from those addresses to the users’ existing personal accounts and do not take up our allowed space on the server(s). It is believed, from previous discussion and investigation, that approximately 20 suvcw.org e-mail addresses might be available. Council Member Kennedy expressed concern that messages sent by users of suvcw.org e-mail addresses might be misconstrued by others as official messages from the SUVCW. Brother Kennedy suggested that the limited number of available addresses be provided only to Past Commanders-in-Chief. JVC-in-C Kuhn refined this suggestion to become a motion which indicated that the addresses should be provided to our past Commander-in-Chiefs free of charge. Each year, the outgoing Commander-in-Chief will be provided with one of these addresses until the available addresses are all in use, after which time the Past C-in-C with the earliest term of office will be asked to surrender his address, so that the newest PC-in-C may have one. This motion was seconded by Council Member Kennedy. PC-in-C Powell asked, as one who would benefit from this, if there should not be a nominal charge for the use of the suvcw.org addresses, suggesting $25 per year. JVC-in-C Kuhn expressed his belief that the Order could easily afford to provide these addresses to its Past Commanders-in-Chief without charge as an additional thank you for their service, especially as there is no additional cost for doing so.
The motion passed with only Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Pahl voting in opposition.
The report of our Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief was next looked at, with emphasis on Brother Kuhn’s concerns regarding significant delays experienced by some individuals attempting to join our Order, due to what appears to be slow action on the part of some Departments or Camps. Part of Brother Kuhn’s suggested remedy would be increased use of the internet to allow an applicant to apply, pay dues, and be assigned to a Camp all while online. C-in-C Darby noted the importance of a signature in order to process a membership application completely and SVC-in-C Pahl added that amendments to our Constitution and Regulations could be required for the proposed procedures. SVC-in-C Pahl moved that Brother Kuhn work with the National Webmaster to develop a plan outlining recommended remedies for his concerns to present to the Council by or before the mid-year COA meeting for their review. The motion was seconded by JVC-in-C Kuhn and passed unanimously.
The next items of business dealt with the SUVCW Graves Registration Database and the report of National Graves Registration Officer Bob Lowe, PDC. Pennsylvania Department Commander Eric Schmincke was also present to help clarify technical issues. Brother Lowe’s report addressed the Council’s request, following the 2005 National Encampment, to investigate the addition of enhancements to the existing database, and to determine the feasibility/costs were such enhancements to be added by the present database designer/programmer, Brother Nathan Orr, or if an independent software company or individual should be retained to redesign the database using new software. Nine suggested enhancements to the database were presented to Brother Orr, and his estimates for time and cost were provided. Following extensive discussion on the database and the graves registration program, a motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn and seconded by National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler to have the first seven enhancements on the Graves Registration Officer’s list completed by Brother Orr. A friendly amendment was made by C-in-C Darby to separate the motion into two parts. This was accepted by Brothers Kuhn and Wheeler, and the amended motion addressed only the first three enhancements: 1. Adding SEA (lost/buried at sea) a searchable feature for the Cemetery State field. 2. Adding MIA (missing in action) as above. 3. Making the Medal of Honor field searchable to determine number and names of recipient. This motion passed unanimously and National Secretary Michael Bennett was directed to make contact with Brother Orr and to establish an agreement regarding the Council’s expectations, a deadline for completion, and price.
A second motion by JVC-in-C Kuhn then noted that, as it was determined that Brother Lowe, with input from members of his Committee and the COA, felt confident he could create a set of business rules for the functioning of the database, he should do so and report back to the Council by the mid-year COA meeting, or sooner if possible. As it is hoped that Civil War Memorials will be added to this database, it was directed that National Civil War Memorials Officer Todd Shillington and his Committee should be included in the creation of these business rules. The motion was seconded by Council Members Leo Kennedy and D. Brad Schall, and passed unanimously.
With much appreciation and recognition for the hard work of Brother Orr in bringing the graves registration database into existence with his own database program, it was agreed that the current software will not allow the graves registration program to easily expand and change as is now evidently required. Therefore, the Graves Registration Committee will also begin to research an alternative database program that will enable the growth and adaptability desired to continue permitting the program to move forward. PC-in-C Andrew Johnson, as one of the National Officers with whom this project first began, noted that in a few years, if not already, this graves registration database will be the brightest star in our organization’s crown.
The matter of the printed Graves Registration Brochure was then discussed, comparing the printed version available from the National Quartermaster with a full-color brochure that could be regularly updated as needed and made available free of charge on the SUVCW website. Brother Wheeler noted that he has sold perhaps five of these brochures since being elected National Quartermaster, and that placing the brochure on the website will cause no great harm to his sales, but will prevent the surplus of brochures that may accumulate and then quickly become outdated if he were to continue to have them printed and made available for sale. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn and seconded by Council Member Schall that the Graves Registration Brochure be placed on the National Website and made available to anyone who would like to download and print it, rather than be offered for sale by the National Quartermaster. The motion passed unanimously.
It was then reported that the Department of Missouri is requesting permission to use the SUVCW name and images of the SUVCW crest and badge on items relating to the 2007 National Encampment in St. Louis , MO. It was moved by SVC-in-C Pahl and seconded by Council Member Hanby that a license to use the Sons’ name and images of the SUVCW crest and badge on 2007 National Encampment items be granted to the Department of Missouri. The motion passed unanimously.
C-in-C Darby showed a Civil War book to the Council which a company would like to offer for sale to our membership for $40, providing a $5 commission to the SUVCW for each book sold. One of the authors of the book is a member of the SUVCW. If approved by the Council, the SUVCW Charitable Foundation will use an advertising page in the Banner to promote this sale. A motion was made by National Quartermaster Wheeler, seconded by Council Member Schall, for the Foundation to take on this project and make the book available for sale to our members. The motion passed unanimously.
A discussion then took place regarding the date of the Council’s next meeting. Due to holidays and a variety of other conflicts, March 11, 2005 was selected, with the location tentatively set for Milwaukee , WI .
A membership certificate was then shown to the Council of Administration that was created by Lone Star Camp 1, Department of the Southwest. As an official document offered for sale by the National Quartermaster, with National authority, a Camp may not produce and distribute their own membership certificates, even at no charge to their own members. The National Secretary will make the Lone Star Camp aware of this.
C-in-C Darby then opened the floor for the receipt of oral reports from Officers present.
SVC-in-C Pahl noted that the next issue of The Banner was currently at the printer and hopefully would be circulated within a week. This year’s second issue is expected to be ready for publication by Christmas, with issues 3 and 4 back on the normal schedule. He noted that many photographs were taken during the Remembrance Day weekend, the best of which should be featured in the next issue.
National Secretary Bennett then gave a report and passed out a written summary of his activities for the previous three months, including the four new Camp Charters prepared since the National Encampment, and the assistance and documentation provided to the many other Camps having received permission to form. Other work has included the creation of an updated Department Officers list containing contact info for the five key Officers from each Department, and having that posted on the National Website, as well as compiling and having posted a similar list for our Camps-at-Large. With permission and assistance from the Commander-in-Chief, Secretary Bennett has also been able to present each new matter on the Council’s Electronic Boardroom prior to the start of voting, so that the specific motions can be read and understood. Updated Electronic Boardroom vote reports have been provided to the National Webmaster for posting as new matters have been decided. Brother Bennett assisted with the reassignment of e-mail addresses and passwords to those new to the Council, and to those whose Office has changed. Camp Officer Election reports were also sent to all Camps-at-Large, along with instructions and an offer of assistance should it be needed. Secretary Bennett then offered his apologies for the length of time he has taken in assembling the minutes from the Post-Encampment COA meeting. The minutes will be e-mailed to the Council for their review upon Brother Bennett’s return home.
National Treasurer Newman then presented his written financial report. As always, the report was most comprehensive and little discussion was required. In an attempt to save time, Brother Newman simply offered to answer any questions All was found to be in order. Brother Newman did mentioned that he’s currently off-line, with computer difficulties, but that he hopes and expects to be back up and running shortly.
National Quartermaster Wheeler reported that it has been his pleasure to serve the Order as Quartermaster since the last meeting of the Council, and noted that he continues to work on new projects. It was noted that many vendors are raising prices, and that he is working to maintain the lowest possible costs for our members. Brother Wheeler added that orders are up and sales are up, with more than $3000 in sales made at the National Encampment alone. Brother Wheeler noted one incident in the past few months in which an order broke open in the mail, as was confirmed by a note from the post office acknowledging a damaged parcel. Brother Wheeler suggested the Brother whose order this was make a report to the Post Office. As it was not insured, the purchaser was given the opportunity to send another payment and reorder, which he did. Also, a pair of SUVCW cufflinks was returned by a Brother in damaged condition. As the Quartermaster could find no record of the sender having made the purchase in the last year, and no guarantees are made with regard to items purchased from the National Quartermaster, the cufflinks were returned to the individual who made the complaint. Brother Wheeler also suggested that only the listing that appears on the National Website be used for publication in The Banner, as he will keep that updated. Lastly, it was reported that more than $1300 in sales were made in Gettysburg during the Remembrance Day weekend.
A report from the SUVCW Charitable Foundation was then made by Brother Robert Petrovic, who noted that National Webmaster Ken Freshley will soon be creating the Foundation’s website, providing information about the Charitable Foundation as well as a complete listing of merchandise currently available for sale. Following the launch of the website, the Foundation will then begin to solicit grants. New products planned for sale include grill ornaments featuring the SUVCW badge and SVR items.
C-in-C Darby then asked PC-in-C George Powell, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Encampment Credentials Committee, to provide the proposed Credentials Committee job description to the Constitution and Regulations Committee for their review prior to presentation to the next National Encampment. PC-in-C Darby also noted that the proposed new National Encampment credentials policy remains on the COA’s Electronic Boardroom for those who have not yet voted. While a majority on the Council have already voted in favor of the new policy, the vote is not yet closed. Council Members were encouraged by the C-in-C to cast their votes by November 22, 2005 .
The subject of sales of merchandise at National Encampments then was discussed, in light of complaints by a Department that the sales by the National Quartermaster and the Charitable Foundation, which took place inside the Encampment meeting room, both were a distraction from the business meeting, and served to reduce sales of Camp and Department items which were relegated to an adjacent room. National Quartermaster Wheeler noted that he attempted to shut down his sales immediately when the gavel dropped, indicating the resumption of the business meeting, but that it was difficult to entice some Brothers to leave his tables at times. It is Brother Wheeler’s opinion that most of his business was done at the start of the day, on breaks, and at lunchtime. He further noted that the National Quartermaster has offered merchandise for sale inside the
meeting room at National Encampments for many years, and that the presence of these items - most of which relate to the operation of the Order - and the ability for Brothers to purchase them at the Encampment and save on shipping is a service to our membership. Brother Petrovic, on behalf of the Foundation, agreed that the Quartermaster has, historically, been present in the meeting room with merchandise for sale. He further noted that items sold by the Quartermaster and the Foundation, produce income that benefits the entire organization and all of its members, unlike the Camp and Department sales which benefit individual projects or subgroups of the Order. A lengthy discussion then took place regarding sales by the Quartermaster and Foundation inside the meeting room when the Encampment was not in session, space requirements, as well as the placement of the Credentials Committee table inside the meeting room as well. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn, seconded by Council Member Hanby, that so long as space permits, both the National Quartermaster and Charitable Foundation will be permitted to offer merchandise for sale within the meeting room of the National Encampment, provided that they not conduct business while the Encampment is in session. The motion was passed unanimously, with National Quartermaster Wheeler abstaining.
Past Commander-in-Chief Gordon Bury then addressed the Council meeting regarding the possibility of funds being raised for the Order through cooperation with corporate entities, by which donations may be made to the SUVCW and deductions will be earned by donors. An example was given in which an individual obtaining a mortgage through PC-in-C Bury’s company would cause a $250 donation to be given to the Memorial Fund in their name, and that individual would earn the $250 tax deduction. C-in-C Darby suggested that the Charitable Foundation, as a 501(c)(3) entity, should oversee such a project and that a presentation should be made to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Before asking Brother John Hart to address the Council, C-in-C Darby offered his congratulations, echoed by many, for the contribution of Brother Hart’s Delaney- Delacey Guard Fife and Drum Corps during the events of the weekend. Many agreed that these youth were second to none, and several parade participants noted that they would be honored to march behind them any time. C-in-C Darby’s only request was that Marching Through Georgia, despite it being a post-Civil War song, should be added to the group’s play list. Brother Hart then spoke about The Banner, confirming that the current issue should be in the mail during the coming week. He also presented his idea that having an appointed Editor for The Banner, serving under the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, would provide both continuity and a seasoned and experienced controlling hand to ensure quality and timely production of our newsletter. The present system provides for the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief to serve as the sole Editor, usually taking the first two or more issues to learn the job, only to then turn the position over to his successor after, at most, the fourth issue. SVC-in-C Pahl, as the present Editor, was asked to report on this concept at the Council’s mid-year meeting. Brother Hart also noted that he has been working on a few other problems, one dealing with the Department of Connecticut and some zip codes in that State not receiving The Banner. It is hoped this problem may now be rectified. In conclusion, Brother Hart thanked the many Brothers who expressed their sympathy and heartfelt wishes to him after his wife’s passing, and said he would remember that until his dying days. Brother Hart then received a round of applause in return, as appreciation for his fraternal and dedicated service to the Order.
A five minute break was then taken by the Council.
The matter of sending a contribution for hurricane relief, tabled by the Council in early September, was brought up for further discussion. A motion was made by JVC-in-C Kuhn, and seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler, with an friendly amendment by Council Member Schall, that the matter should be left as outlined in C-in-C Darby’s General Order 3, whereby each Brother is encouraged to “live up to the Charity portion of F. C. & L, and contribute to the Hurricane Relief Fund” of his choice. The amended motion passed unanimously.
C-in-C Darby mentioned that a Brother in Louisiana reported that, as a result of the hurricanes, the home of Jefferson Davis has been severely damaged. Noting that Davis was a Secretary of War under President Buchanan, and also led a Regiment of U.S. Troops in the Mexican War, this Brother asked if the SUVCW would contribute funds towards historical restoration. A request to this Brother for additional information and a point-of-contact for such donations has, thus far, gone unanswered. JVC-in-C Kuhn moved that, should such information be forthcoming, the matter be handled in the same way that the Council voted to address general hurricane relief, leaving such contributions up to the personal beliefs and generosity of individual Brothers. National Quartermaster Wheeler offered a second to the motion. It was further pointed out that this historic site will be eligible for, and will likely receive, substantial Federal funding, and may not require additional assistance. It was agreed that the subject should be tabled until it is clearer what the future holds for this site, and Brothers Kuhn and Wheeler withdrew their motion and second. Information regarding potential unmarked burial locations of Union soldiers on a Louisiana battlefield may also be provided by this Louisiana Brother, which the Council can address at that time.
JVC-in-C Kuhn moved that the Council approve the continuation of the SUVCW’s current policy to waive dues for any Brother serving in an active combat zone. This motion was seconded by PC-in-C Steven Michaels, and passed unanimously.
JVC-in-C Kuhn moved that specific income and expense line-items in the budget be created for Remembrance Day, to include wreaths and program. The motion was seconded by National Quartermaster Wheeler and passed unanimously .
Brother Kuhn then asked if close proximity to an airport was a requirement for Departments selecting potential sites for a National Encampment. PC-in-C Charles Corfman indicated that nothing is mandated, but that there are many things which the Committee would like to see, and strongly suggest. Brother Kuhn noted that shuttle services to an airport really needs to be a requirement for a facility to be chosen as a National Encampment site, as are the presence of elevators if the Encampment is to be held in a multi-level building. PC-in-C Corfman agreed that a multi-floor location can not be considered if there are no elevators. Brother Kuhn suggested that perhaps these things should be made requirements by the Encampment Site Committee, rather than merely recommendations.
Brother Petrovic reported that contracts have been signed with the hotel in St. Louis for our 2007 National Encampment, with room rates of $92. The dates are August 9-12, 2007 , and an airport shuttle is available. He added that the DUVCW will be meeting along with us, and essentially two hotels will be used to accommodate all of our combined needs. The Daughters will also be a part of the Allied Orders Banquet, which will add approximately 100 people to our expected banquet numbers.
PC-in-C Michaels asked SVC-in-C Pahl if the National Auxiliary would be permitted to use a portion of their Auxiliary page(s) in The Banner for recruiting messages or an advertisement. Brother Pahl reported that there would be no problem with that.
National Treasurer Newman reported that since he took office in September of 2001, the Order has been able to significantly increase our gross assets. This had been one of his objectives, noting that the Order had been losing money in some previous years.
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 10:45 am .
Respectfully Submitted in Fraternity, Charity, & Loyalty,
Michael S. Bennett, PDC
National Secretary, SUVCW
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