We have been receiving a lot of questions around end-of-the-year issues lately. I thought I would review some staff changes we have made and then give an overview on the most frequently asked question from the past two weeks.
As time passes on, more staff members wind up with more and different job tasks. GSUSA has done a staffing survey for us and indicated we should have 42 full-time positions for our size council; we have 30 full-time staff. That means some of us of multitask job functions. As we work to get answers to volunteers and respond to service unit team needs, we are assigning Cheryl Miller with the task of answering all question for troop leaders across the entire council. As you may be aware, Cheryl is the resident expert on Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints. She has been a long-time troop leader who is experienced in working with girls of all ages. She is a part of the volunteer services team that works on training and information across the council. Cheryl is a serious workaholic! She can be reached at 800-239-6636, extension 2302. Her office phone rolls over to her cell phone for maximum availability. If you have questions, please contact Cheryl.
The most frequently-asked question the past few weeks is about troop cookie collections. Like you, we have no magic formula to bring in delinquent payments! When your troop leader turns your cookie collections over to us, the first thing we do is make a few calls. This doesn't last long; from there we send a registered letter notifying the individuals that we are in the process of collections. The best scenario is they admit they owe us the funds and we work out a payment plan. If there is a payment plan, we charge an additional fee (less than many lending institutions) to cover our costs and discourage late payment.
If there is no resolution by mid-summer, we intensify our pursuit. After all, this is girls' hard-earned cookie money! If we receive no response, we file in small claims court or with the county district attorney for the funds. This is where the situation becomes much more sticky and much slower. Once we turn this over to the district attorney's office, we no longer are allowed to work with the person and it goes by the legal system's timeline We continue to work to pursue these folks. We do receive judgments on behalf of the girls in your troop, but the payment is often slow and very frustrating. We are happy to share where we are with various individuals with the troop leader involved.
Each year at the close of the cookie sale, our collection rate starts at around $250,000! We are able to work this down over the course of some months, but it is slow and tedious. Please believe we take this very seriously. This is someone stealing girls' cookie monies, and none of us take this lightly. Please understand, once we begin working with a district attorney's office, we cannot push the process any faster. They do work with us, but how quickly this is addressed varies significantly by county. Hopefully this helps clarify the collections process.