How Did This Happen?

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liz_brent.jpgEach year around this time, the council staff and I wind up involved in some situation where the parents of the troop discover there is money missing. This is hard-earned cookie money that the girls didn't see the benefits from.

Few things upset our staff more, so we have been talking about how this happens and how we can prevent more incidents in the future. We do background checks; we do reference checks; we have two signers on each troop account, but money still disappears, and parents are justifiably frustrated. Some of these cases are involve substantial amounts of money and are so flagrant we take them to the local district attorney. The bottom line is that what they have done is theft.

The person involved in such situations is often a great leader -- loves the girls, and plans great programs, always nice and available. There's a point, though, somewhere along the line, where one parent becomes suspicious and asks some questions, but doesn't quite get an answer that makes sense. Then another parent asks the question and receives another response, or a different response. From there it spirals to more parents talking.

The council's staff is often the last to know there's a problem.   We do audit checking accounts of troops when parents call us and suspect something is amiss.   We recognize that, given the amount of concern we have around safety issues, you normally would not assume the person who is your troop leader might be doing something underhanded. The percentage of adults that do this is very small, but it is always frustrating.   We ask that, when you think things don't make sense, please call us.   Ask the troop leader for an accounting of the troop funds.   As a parent, you should be able to see how much money is coming in and whether the funds are in fact used for the specified purpose.   If you think something odd is going on, let us know.   We want the girls of this council to have great events, a fun time, but to always realize the benefits of all their hard work and efforts.

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