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Ask the Chairman - Vigil Selection Committee

January 24, 2018     Ask the Chairman

Dear Mr. Chairman

My name is Joseph. My lodge is currently deciding its next Vigil Honor selection chairman. However, an issue arose when one name was brought up. This Scout wants to be the chairman and he is already a Vigil Honor, but he also has a relative that is eligible for the Vigil Honor. Our lodge has no written rule against it, but some of the advisers are arguing that there is an unwritten policy against it. The Guide for Officers and Advisers states that any Scout may be on the committee so long as they are not eligible for the Vigil Honor themselves. Can this young man be the chairman, even if he has a relative eligible, especially since nothing states otherwise and the chairman does not receive a vote unless there is a tie? Would it solve the issue to have an odd number of committee members so a tie never arises and the chairman never has to decide the fate of a relative?

YIB,

Joseph

 

A: Joseph,

You are correct in your understanding and citation of our literature; there is no written or unwritten policy against him serving. He can certainly serve as chairman of the committee if properly appointed or elected (this is different in every lodge, and you did not specify how this works in your lodge). If his relative is considered, I see nothing wrong with him participating in the “open discussion,” but I would suggest that the group establish some ground rules (even before any discussion happens). Then, if the situation of a conflict of interest (ex., the relative is up for consideration) arises, the rules that everyone agrees to will dictate how to handle it. Perhaps you could ask him to leave the room for the vote; therefore, he would not participate in the selection decision itself.

I will tell you many Lodges have these processes very well defined in writing, and follow them very closely, so that there are never any conflicts or perceptions of conflict of interest. It sounds like your lodge may not have the process in writing, but check with your lodge adviser or your lodge Vigil Honor committee adviser to see if you have written rules of process (even if they have to be amended for situations like this). If you do not, I can connect you with some lodges that might help.  

I hope this helps! Thanks for doing what you do!

Best,

Mike