Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

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National Council of Administration

Meeting Minutes

12 April 2008

Springfield, IL

The Council of Administration meeting was opened by Commander-in-Chief Charles Kuhn at 7:06 pm. An opening prayer was offered, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The roll of officers was called, with the following recorded as present:


Officers Reports

Commander-in-Chief Kuhn conducted a review of the officers reports submitted to the National Chief of Staff and highlighted a number of items for discussion.


Report of the Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief –

Item 2(g) regarding on-line application procedures and a request that the Council of Administration approve the recommendation from the then Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief presented at the 2007 National Encampment. The Commander-in-Chief ruled that the Council of Administration cannot deal with this and that the current Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief submit this as one of his recommendations to the upcoming National Encampment.

Item 3(a) regarding use of SUVCW name/logos as they relate to internet discussion groups and the recommendation that this be assigned to the Communications & Technology Committee for action. The Commander-in-Chief so ordered.

Item 3(e) regarding drafting a policy that Camps be required to meet twice each year and the recommendation that this be assigned to the Constitution & Regulations Committee for action. The Commander-in-Chief so ordered.

Item 4(a) regarding changes to Job Descriptions and the recommendation that changing Job Descriptions be deleted from the Job Description of the Program & Policy Committee due to the fact that Job Descriptions are part of the Constitution & Regulations. The Commander-in-Chief subsequently assigned this request to the Constitution & Regulations Committee.

Report of the Junior-Vice Commander-in-Chief – receiving requests regarding status of applications received over a year ago. Most Departments don’t report back to National where Departments place new members. PCinC Keith Harrision responded by stating that the process appears to be working as there are only two Departments that are not on board with timely placement of new applicants.

Report of the National Treasurer – raised an issue regarding the cost of the audits associated with the years 2004-2007. The total cost will be $12,000, but it appears that only $7,500 was listed in the budget. Motion made by Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Dave Medert to increase the budget to $15,000 to reflect additional costs needed to complete the audit. Second by National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler. A friendly amendment was offered by PCinC Jim Pahl that if revenue is not sufficient to cover cost, the differences may be drawn from the reserve. The friendly amendment was accepted. Motion passed.

Report of the Executive Director – requesting that the current computer at National Headquarters be replaced with a Dell Inspiron Desktop running Windows XP Professional plus Access Database. Motion made by Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief to have the Executive Director immediately purchase desktop through Dell while XP is still available. Second made by Council Member Bob Petrovic. Motion passed. The Commander-in-Chief expressed the need to back up all data to a server and a desire to have back-up at two locations. The National Secretary was tasked with contacting National Webmaster Ken Freshley to determine the best course of action in addressing this need.

Report of the Washington, D.C. Representative – the Commander-in-Chief brought the item regarding actions being taken by the Alliance Defense Fund and the American Legion to protect veteran’s monuments from legal attacks from organizations such as the ACLU to the attention of the Council of Administration.


Old Business

The Commander-in-Chief initiated a discussion on database software, stating his desire that this issue be brought to a conclusion as it has been a topic of discussion for at least two administrations. PCinC Keith Harrision took the action to discuss this issue with National Webmaster Ken Freshley to see where this item stands.

To follow up an item raised at the November 2007 Council of Administration meeting, the Commander-in-Chief brought up the need to determine what the SUVCW must do above and beyond what is stated in the Federal charter for protection relative to patent and trademark issues. National Secretary Don Palmer took the action to discuss this issue with an attorney he has worked with in the past relative to patent application filings.

Commander-in-Chief Kuhn brought up a recommendation raised at the 126th National Encampment to allow Departments to form Camps. PCinC Jim Pahl noted that under the administration of PCinC Orr, a General Order was issued to allow Departments to grant initial approval to form Camps (General Order #4, Series 1997-1998). As a result, the Commander-in-Chief appointed the Program & Policy Committee to revise Form 51 to eliminate the need for C-in-C approval. The C-in-C also requested the Constitution & Regulations Committee consider recommending a revision to Chapter I, Article I, Section 2 of the Regulations to state that the charter application fee shall be no less than $25. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Dave Medert stated his desire to re-organize the Constitution & Regulations to minimize the need to search multiple Articles, Sections, etc. that pertain to the same topic.

In continuing a discussion on delinquent National Encampment proceedings from the November 2007 Council of Administration meeting, Council Member James Hanby reported that that the proceedings of the 109th and 121 st National Encampments are complete and will be sent to the Assistant National Secretary for Proceedings. It was also reported that the proceedings of the 118th National Encampment will be completed prior to the upcoming National Encampment in Peabody, MA.


New Business

Commander-in-Chief Kuhn initiated discussion focused on documenting procedures for forming a Department. National Secretary Don Palmer recommended that since Departments don’t form very often, revisions to the existing Forms 51, 53, 54, and 55 be considered as opposed to developing a new set of forms specifically for Departments. The Commander-in-Chief tasked the Program & Policy Committee to review the existing forms and recommend revisions to include Department formation. The Commander-in-Chief took the action to draft a process for forming Departments.

Questions were raised recently regarding the Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR) and who audits the SVR. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Dave Medert mentioned that the Military Affairs Committee serves in relation to the SVR much in the same way as a Department Council does in relation to Departments. It was also mentioned that reports of the Military Affairs Committee are presented to the National Encampment.

The Commander-in-Chief initiated a discussion about interactive on-line forms. PCinC Keith Harrison clarified the difference between versions of Adobe software. He mentioned that Adobe Acobat Reader would not save data input into the “writable” PDF forms while on line.  There is software available, specifically Adobe Acrobat and PDF Creater, that would save the data while online. Adobe software is somewhat expensive, whereas PDF Creator is not.  PCinC Harrision suggested that information on these software packages be distributed to Camps and Departments. Either software package could be purchased; however, if the form was downloaded prior to inputting data, as indicated in the online instructions, there should not be a problem. The Commander-in-Chief indicated that he would include this information in his next newsletter.

An issue was raised regarding the War Medal Application and the differences in eligibility dates between those in the regulations and those recognized by the American Legion. Motion made by PCinC Jim Pahl, second by Council Member James Hanby, to reinstate the eligibility dates recognized by the American Legion and include the dates proposed by Brother Todd Shillington. Motion passed. The Commander-in-Chief subsequently ordered the Program & Policy Committee to revise the War Medal application form to reflect these changes.

On the subject of Memorial Grant funds, Council Member Brad Schall motioned (1) that the Memorial Grant committee chairman provide his original signature and electronic signatures of the other committee members to the National Treasurer (as opposed to original signatures of all committee members) in order to release the funds and (2) that only two of the three committee member signatures are required. Second made by Council Member James Hanby. Motion passed.

National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler provided an update of the ROTC program and presented a letter of thanks and photo of a recent award recipient. Given the increase in activity associated with this awards program, PCinC Wheeler requested permission to appoint an assistant. Permission was granted by the Commander-in-Chief.

The Commander-in-Chief raised an issue regarding proof of service and ancestry associated with the membership application. PCinC Jim Pahl responded that this issue was already addressed by a National Encampment.

The Commander-in-Chief presented the two nominations brought forward during this administrative year for the Founders Award. A vote was taken and Ken Burns was announced as the winner of the Founders Award for 2008.

The Commander-in Chief brought forward a request from Sgt. Jones Bradbury Camp #149 of the Department of Pennsylvania to allow them to develop a medal to commemorate their 100th anniversary. Motion made by PCinC Jim Pahl, second by Council Member James Hanby, to grant permission. Motion passed.

The National Welsh-American Foundation is requesting assistance from the SUVCW to help justify awarding a Medal of Honor to Sgt. Harry Reese of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry for his actions at the Battle of the Crater (Petersburg Campaign). Council Member James Hanby volunteered to follow up with this request.

The Jackson County Genealogical Society (JCGS) in Mississippi is requesting assistance from the SUVCW to identify and mark graves of Mexican War veterans buried there. PCinC Steve Michaels was tasked with communicating with the Sons of Mexican War Veterans regarding the JCGS request.

The Commander-in-Chief brought forward information provided to him by a group that produces 2 minute infomercials and their interest in producing one for the SUVCW. The cost is approximately $22,000. Motion made by PCinC Jim Pahl, second by National Quartermaster Danny Wheeler, to decline the opportunity. Motion passed.

National Treasurer Max Newman raised an issue regarding a Camp in the Department of New York where three checks submitted by the Camp have bounced. The National Treasurer is requesting permission to respond to the Camp in question with a request for certified funds or cashiers checks. The Commander-in-Chief took the action to send a letter to the New York Department Commander expressing concern and requesting that he take action.

Council Member James Hanby brought forward two requests to produce challenge coins.


With no further business to come before the Council, Commander-in-Chief Kuhn adjourned the meeting at 11:10 pm.


Respectfully Submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty,

Donald D. Palmer, Jr., PDC

National Secretary, SUVCW


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