The Council of Administration (CoA) meeting was called to order by Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) Andrew M. Johnson. C-in-C Johnson noted that the coveted first prize for "coming longest distance" went to Jim Pahl and Gary Gibson from Michigan. Second prize was awarded to Past Commander-in-Chief (PC-in-C) Dave Medert Sr from Chillicothe, Ohio.
C-in-C Johnson acknowledged that two sitting department commanders were in attendance at the CoA meeting: Glenn Knight of Pennsylvania and Mike Horgan of New Jersey. Both departments are doing cutting edge work on preservation of Civil War monuments. Kent Armstrong of Michigan is chairing the national effort to identify and make known the Order's interest in preserving the monuments of the Civil War.
Brother Joe Long, Jr reported on the successful effort to claim ownership of the Scranton Cemetery gun that was sold illegally. Camp 8 awaits the court's decision on dollar damages. C-in-C Johnson congratulated Camp 8 for doing the right thing.
National Treasurer Jim Pahl outlined and the CoA approved a formal policy statement regarding reimbursements for officer and committee expenses. The policy will be published in the next Banner and on the Orders Web site.
The CoA directed the C-in-C and the National Secretary to jointly meet and plan a devolution of secretary duties to aides and assistant secretaries to better balance the workload of this most important office. The C-in-C and the National Secretary will confer electronically in March and accomplish this charge.
C-in-C Johnson reported that new departments are being planned in Nebraska, Washington and Oregon.
C-in-C Johnson reported that he had appointed Richard Woodbury of New Hampshire as the Order's representative to the Cathedral of the Pines replacing late PC-in-C Clark Mellor.
It was reported that the Order's Graves Registration project under Leo Kennedy has electronically entered 40 thousand names/sites and is now copying data available at Carlisle Barracks. All Brothers should be looking for and registering Civil War graves.
It was reported that the Order's website now exceeds 500 pages of information about the SUVCW and the GAR. We continue to win awards for its design and the CoA gives its hearty thanks to PC-in-C Keith Harrison for his outstanding work as Webmaster.
It was reported that three departments have not paid the annual maintenance fee (nor requested an exemption from the fee) for their page on the national website. The National Secretary was directed to send a letter to departments regarding this matter and report the answers to the C-in-C within 60 days.
PC-in-C Charles Corfman reported on the difficulty with hotels in Atlantic City and noted that the 2000 encampment will most likely be in Maine. The 2001 encampment is set for Springfield, Missouri.
PC-in-C Bud Atkinson was reappointed as Remembrance Day contact man at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Secretary was directed to inform the Gettysburg authorities of this appointment before April 15, 1999.
Quartermaster Bud Atkinson reported a military ball sum in excess of $4,000 that will, under the Order's policy, be donated to the Gettysburg National Military Park for maintenance and repair of monuments. It was noted that a letter of thanks was sent to the merchants of Gettysburg who paid the parade permit fee of $661.48.
Gettysburg GAR Hall Litigation - it was noted that the Order's attorney is talking to their attorney.
Past Proceedings - It was noted that the Order was making progress on editing and publishing proceedings of past Encampments. Quartermaster Atkinson will run a list of proceedings available for sale in the next Banner. C-in-C Johnson indicated that his goal remains to publish the entire backlog before August 1999. To prevent future backlog, the CoA agreed to hire a professional to take the minutes and provide a transcription immediately after the encampment. Funding for transcription must be entered in the next budget. Brother Knight was directed to compile a budget figure and transmit it to the C-in-C.
Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Peterson was directed to pursue camp and department data for the National Directory with the aid of the National Secretary.
C-in-C Johnson indicated that he was awarding Certificates of Merit to people and towns, cemetery boards, etc. who do the right thing taking care of CW monuments. Nominations need to be sent to him that include what was done, to whom the certificate should be named and an address. He presented the first of these certificates to PC-in-C Dave Medert for his work in restoring the monument in Chillicothe.
Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Danny Wheeler acting as publisher and working with the Order's new Banner Editor Ken Richmond has produced the first of the magazine format Banners. It is terrific and a letter of thanks on behalf of the CoA was directed to be sent to Editor Richmond. The CoA policy is to provide 50 percent prepayment to the printer and a separate check to the postal account.
It was announced that PC-in-C Richard Orr will head the committee to finalize the Job Description for a contract worker who will be a paid part time Executive Director of the SUVCW. We will vote on the content of the Job description via email within 30 days.
It was noted that the planned pre-encampment Memorial Parade cannot be accomplished because of planning difficulties with Indianapolis. There will be a tour and wreath laying at Monument Circle on the Thursday before the National Encampment instead.
The CoA voted to permit the Missouri Department to install officers of the Sherman Camp after the regulation cutoff date. The C-in-C has sent notification to the Missouri Department.
It was reported that the last camp officers to be installed in Rhode Island Department have been installed in accordance with a previous CoA vote.
PC-in-C Orr presented a Pennsylvania plan for a 502 (c) (3) corporation to receive tax-deductible donations for Civil War Memorials Preservation. National Counselor Jim Pahl is reviewing for legal sufficiency and will report to the CoA electronically within 60 days for vote. Establishment of this fund will be one of the most important events of this administration because it will provide a vehicle to solicit corporate money for monument restoration and preservation.
Following a summary of membership issues by the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Peterson, Brother Knight was directed to perform an analysis of recruiting trends in an attempt to discover the true effectiveness of the on-line application form. His committee is asked to complete and report the results to the Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief within 60 days. The Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief will draw his conclusions and present them electronically to the CoA.
Council Member George Powell reported on his "Gravemarker watchdog" efforts to prevent sale of grave markers and GAR property on the Internet. Brother Powell will prepare a draft letter for the C-in-C to major veterans' organizations to enlist their help in preventing graveyard theft of markers. He was requested to send the draft to the C-in-C within 30 days. In a parallel effort, the legal staff is reviewing state laws bearing on preservation of Civil War monuments and graves with the intention of bringing these laws to the attention of local governments and exporting the best laws to states without such protective laws.
In accordance with a decision of the last encampment, PC-in-C Orr as Assistant Treasurer will look for a suitable investment advisor to recommend where assets should be best invested for better return but within the Order's Constitution and Regulations (C&R) requirements. Brother Orr will report his findings within 60 days.
A general discussion was held on the constitutional matter of strong camp authority and relatively weak department authority under the Order's C&R. The strong camp model was adopted from the GAR and continues to be the basis of our Order. Jim Pahl heads the C&R Committee and is preparing bylaw changes dealing with the discipline process. He will present those proposals in his report to the National Encampment.
A gold star for the Meritorious Achievement Award was voted to Brothers Keith Harrison and Richard Williams for long and outstanding service to the Order. The votes were unanimous demonstrating the high regard in which both Brothers are held.
The CoA authorized the C-in-C to continue efforts to persuade the US Colored Troops Memorial Commission in Washington, DC to include the names of African-Americans who served in other volunteer units and the US Navy.
The CoA voted to adopt the policy that all dues payments made to the Order must be in US dollar instruments.
PC-in-C Medert reported on the efforts to preserve Buffington Island battle site and burials. The CoA authorized the C-in-C to contribute to the effort but not to formally join the newly formed preservation corporation. We have written letters of support to the Governor of Ohio, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Ohio Historical Society. The C-in-C will contact the preservation corporation.
The CoA noted that departments are encouraged to develop awards for their members who perform meritorious, superior or outstanding service to the Order. The only restriction is that no wearable medals may be awarded.
It was reported that a new Eagle Scout (ES) certificate was referred to the Program and Policy Committee for review along with other forms that presently have a 19___ date printed on them. The Quartermaster was directed to review the estimated costs of the proposed ES certificate. Both the committee and the Quartermaster were directed submit their findings to the CoA electronically within 30 days. The CoA will choose the best ES certificate and request the ES Coordinator to budget for its production.
It was noted that Proposed Memorial Services to be added to the next issue of the Ritual and Ceremonies manual were referred to the C&R Committee for recommendation in its report to the National Encampment.
The C-in-C will appoint an Aide to review the plans for a "Field of Sacrifice" near the Ft Benning museum and recommend what participation the SUVCW should have in the plan. The C-in-C requested volunteers who may have an interest in doing this job.
The CoA discussed research on an SUVCW Millennium Medal to mark membership at the turn of the century and of the age. The National Proceedings Editor will be requested to check the 1998 Encampment record to determine if the Encampment approved this in concept. The National Historian is developing proposals. The National Historian will develop a recommendation to reach the CoA for electronic discussion and a vote before July 4, 1999.
The COA gave the C-in-C wide discretion to make contacts in support of the US Soldiers and Airman's Home in Washington, DC. Proposed legislation would limit surplus acreage sale to one bidder. The C-in-C will write to Senator Warner and others regarding the proposal.
It was noted that Permanent charters are hand prepared. The National Secretary will contact Ivan Franz Sr to letter charters. The C-in-C will send signed blank charters to Brother Franz.
The CoA voted to permit the C-in-C to give moral support to the concept of a memorial marker at a US Prisoner of War site in Nova Scotia in which War of 1812 captives are buried.
C-in-C Johnson adjourned the meeting.
Yours in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty,
Andrew M. Johnson