Module 16 – Scenario 6 Answers

Scenario #6: Conflict of Interest?

What did go wrong?

1. This may be the wrong question. Do we have enough facts to know whether any of these Unit Commissioners did anything wrong? Could it be that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

2. There is a possibility that the first UC may have shown preferential treatment to his child. There is an equal possibility that the reject project really didn’t meet the criteria for an Eagle Project.

3. The first UC made an error in participating in any activity where it would appear that he had conflicting interests. His effectiveness may well be compromised now.

4. The second UC is in about the same situation. He apparently was trying hard to make sure the kids were having fun and forgot that it was not up to him to make decisions. This was up to the unit leader. Now he has compromised his effectiveness.

5. The third UC appears to stepped much further over the line in taking control of a unit. This UC is out of control and may not ever be able to work with this unit again as a UC.

What are the dangers of having a Unit Commissioner that is “too close” to a unit?

1. Parents tend to be protective and sensitive creatures – ask one! I know that I can get that way when it comes to my own children. It is real easy for a parent to misunderstand the motives of a UC when they can get the impression that the UC is acting to further the interests of his own children or a friend instead of being their as BSA’s commissioner representative to help.

2. If there is a flair up, relationships are usually victims to the anger and mistrust that can be engendered.

3. A UC in such a situation has to conduct himself/herself in such a way that it is abundantly clear that his/her only interest is to promote Scouting for each and every Scout. Sometimes this is harder than it seems.

What can be done to repair the damage?

1. From a management perspective, it is a tough call. There are two alternatives that have to be considered and probably more:

a. Can the relationships be repaired through open discussion, apologies and developing a working understanding of roles? If so, you may want to consider keeping the individual in place.

b. If the relationship is severely damaged or distrust high, then keeping the individual in place is counter-productive. The UC starts to hurt the program and consequently starts to hurt the Scouts. In such a situation, it is imperative to make staffing changes. In fact it may be better not to have a UC than to have one that creates more irritation in the unit leading to others quitting or doing less than their best for the Scouts.

In which situation(s), if any, should the Unit Commissioner be replaced?

1. Well now, you know the primary alternatives. So how are you going to decide?

2. If it were me, I would be inclined to investigate the circumstances before drawing any quick conclusions.

3. Absent any other information, I would suspect that the problem with the second UC probably can be talked out and attributed to misdirected goodwill. This will probably be forgiven once. This UC is on probation. In the case of the third UC, I’d probably be inclined to pull him from the unit. The first UC is the hard case. How do you know what is right? I’d have to hear both sides before even thinking one way or the other. We just can’t even get a hunch on this one.

What would you do differently, if you could do things over again?

1. Arm-chair quarterbacking isn’t the answer here. You can’t go back and unmake the situation. We can learn that this is a difficult situation, which suggest the need for extra care. See below.

All of these Unit Commissioners were close to their units. In one case this worked out very nicely. In the other cases, things appear to have gone differently. Does this mean that you should never have a Unit Commissioner that has been related to the Unit?

1. In many areas recruiting a good UC is just plain hard. It may be near to impossible to find a good UC without getting one close to a unit particularly in a remote or rural area. Similar problems may exist in urban centers. In either case, having a UC on site is often much better than not having a UC.
2. So what are we to do? I would suggest that the DC make it a policy to give some personal guidance to any UC in this situation that might include:

a. Discussion about being sensitive to parental perceptions of abusing the position

b. Discussion about the need to remain independent and detached

c. Discussion about what the limits of the UC are

3. At the same time the ADC is going to have watch more carefully and talk to the UC more often to make sure that things are going well and that the UC isn’t getting on dangerous ground.

4. Some Districts make it a policy that a UC cannot service a unit where he/she was a leader or where he/she has a child registered in the unit.

5. You guessed it. There are no real easy answers here.
And oh by the way, don’t forget the successful UC that has really earned the thanks of the unit and the people he/she has served! Before you get caught in the morass of unsorting problems, take a minute to make sure that the wheels are set in motion to see that this wonderful volunteer is recognized for their outstanding efforts. This investment is one of the best you’ll ever make.

Final Note

Well that’s it. You’ve come to the end of the seminar. I hope that you have enjoyed your stay and that you will find the materials useful as you go out and do your best to deliver the Promise of Scouting to youth. Let us know what you thought of this course by responding to our evaluation questions.

Click Here to Continue on to the Course Evaluation

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply