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Mess dues

Gunplumber

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So I am being told that Mess dues are due. The Mess is closed and wont be open for a long time. No one is working in the Mess. There is nothing being bought or used in the Mess. Is it right and can they ask for Mess dues?
 

MJP

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Gunplumber said:
So I am being told that Mess dues are due. The Mess is closed and wont be open for a long time. No one is working in the Mess. There is nothing being bought or used in the Mess. Is it right and can they ask for Mess dues?

Yes they can, but you can also as a mess member ask for some form of service from them or even petition for lower dues (subject to BComd/equivelant approval depending on where ya are)..

Lots of messes are getting creative with their offerings through online draws, grab-a-meals and other things during this time period if they can't offer sit down service.  A P Res mess
 

Navy_Pete

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You should also still be able to get a financial update; there are probably a lot of expenses still on the books (like normal property taxes, building upkeep etc), but any extra money they don't use just goes into the general fund, so it's not like it's lost.  If it still seems high, propose a virtual mess meeting with a reduction of mess dues on the agenda. There is probably a reasonable way to do it via the normal mess constitution rules.
 

ballz

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Removed as I think I might have a definitive answer to my question.
 
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Blackadder1916

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It's in QR&Os.
QR&O 27.38 – ADMINISTRATIVE DEDUCTIONS – OVERDUE NON-PUBLIC ACCOUNTS

Where a mess, canteen or institute account owed by an officer or non-commissioned member is overdue, the commanding officer may order that the member concerned be subject to an administrative deduction in an amount sufficient to pay the account in full.

The reference that dealt with the regular payment of mess dues by pay allotment or acquittance roll was (back a few decades ago when I dealt with that shit) CFAO 203-4 Payment of Mess Charges Through Pay Accounts. I don't know if that is one of the CFAOs still valid.
 

ballz

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It's in QR&Os.


The reference that dealt with the regular payment of mess dues by pay allotment or acquittance roll was (back a few decades ago when I dealt with that shit) CFAO 203-4 Payment of Mess Charges Through Pay Accounts. I don't know if that is one of the CFAOs still valid.

I couldn't get the QR&Os open for some reason so I was going check on DWAN, but an "account owed" in that context is clearly meant to be something like a bar chit, as the member has agreed to that liability when they purchased something.

That's an entirely different story from the Base Comd or CDS just deciding to say "give us money" which is essentially what's happening. For example, a Base Comd can't just get a neat idea and decide the Base Fund is going to levy everybody $500 in order to pay for Base Family Day, or in the case of a mismanaged NPF account decide to levy the members to erase the liability (hence why a mess is not allowed to go into debt).

If there was anything authorizing it, it would at least have to stipulate maximums.

EDIT: I guess to be more clear, that reference is about collecting on liabilities, but it's not about whether or not the CDS is authorized to issue a liability.
 

Blackadder1916

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Since I no longer belong to a mess, I no longer give a rat's ass but back when the Earth was cooling and I had (at a couple of postings) the appointed secondary duty of VPMC, at least once a year a member of the mess would raise the same question/objection. Without getting into great detail, the response was usually that we didn't pull the budget out our asses, there were volumes about mess administration and NPF accounting that we adhered to and it was from the budget that the rate of mess dues was determined. Some of the current refs may be found here https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/Library/PoliciesandRegulations/PSP/Pages/default.aspx or at the least it may lead you to some of the more obscure.

From the Military Administrative Law Manual
Mess Accounts

35. Members may pay their mess charges through their pay accounts by pay allotment or acquittance roll. Although the CO may introduce such a payment scheme, participation is optional for each member and requires that a member provide authorization before it can be implemented with respect to that individual.32

36. QR&O 27.38 (Administrative Deductions – Overdue Non-Public Accounts) contains a special provision that allows a CO to order administrative deductions in order to recover overdue mess accounts. Unlike other administrative deductions, there is no limit to the amount that may be recovered (i.e., up to the amount owed) and there is no built-in provision for the member to object to the administrative deduction. However, the member may submit an application for redress of grievance.33 A debt to a NPP account such as an overdue mess account constitutes a debt to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, and may be enforced as such.

If you think you have a legitimate argument that you can not be compelled to pay mess dues, fill your boots and try it out. My personal opinion is that messes as currently constituted have passed their best before date.
 

ballz

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Without getting into great detail, the response was usually that we didn't pull the budget out our asses, there were volumes about mess administration and NPF accounting that we adhered to and it was from the budget that the rate of mess dues was determined.

Well that's the rub, ain't it?

I'm familiar with how messes and their budget works, I've been the Treasurer more than once. I've no doubt many people asked and were told "no, it's legit," but did anybody grieve it? All I've ever seen anyone point to is "you have to be a member of the mess." With all the "detailed" regulations involved, and the many queries, you would think someone would easily be able to point out where the CDS is authorized to issue a legal debt to someone for NPF purposes... maybe even some rules around what they can or can't do, i.e. can't issue a debt to a single individual, must be a whole membership, maximums up to x.

I can't find any previous cases on the external military grievance committee's page.

Seems entirely implausible that they would be given the authority to unilaterally levy a debt of $1,000,000 dollars against Pte Bloggins.

The Base Comd does not get any of his authorities from a mess committee. The Mess Committee gets their authority from the Base Comd. He can't delegate an authority he doesn't have. Financial authorities don't work off of "you can't do 'x'," they specifically authorize you to do "x,y,z" and if it's not x,y,z, you can't do it.

Your Military Law reference again just talks about collecting debts, it doesn't address anything about issuing them.

If you think you have a legitimate argument that you can not be compelled to pay mess dues, fill your boots and try it out. My personal opinion is that messes as currently constituted have passed their best before date.

I share a similar opinion, and some stuff is getting out of control with NPP. I used the example of a unit fund going into massive debt and the idea of levying all the soldiers say, a one-time payment of $100, as an example for a reason.
 
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