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Mess Dues

Brasidas

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I've been hit with a bill for mess dues. I'm asking for more information including exactly what dates I'm getting charged for, etc, but I've got a few thoughts going through my head regarding it.

First off, I haven't been invited/able to attend a mess meeting in at least two years. I was on Impact for the better half of 2019 and on leave afterwards. Cue the pandemic.

I've been in that mess a grand total of two times since one of my troops blew his brains out.

The first time, a CWO belonging to the dominant unit of the mess decided it was appropriate to interrupt a member who was significantly impacted by the death talking to the Padre of said CWO's unit to force that Padre leave because she was an officer and didn't belong in his mess. There were no repercussions against said CWO that were apparent to the membership of the mess, and this spoke volumes to myself, my peers, and my troops.

The second time, I changed into civilian dress before coming to meet a peer at the mess. I found the door locked, identified myself, was treated rudely, and a survey of the members present was made to see if anyone knew me before I was allowed to enter.

I have never been a fan of my mess and I don't expect this to change. During normal, non-Covid conditions, I will not be sticking around until 10:30 at night for the bar to open when I've been working since 9am across the parking lot.

That said, I'm considering asking for some sort of virtual mess meeting.

We have no staff (bartending was conducted by members), and apparently "tradition" has prevented there being any amenities in there like a television. I can probably get ahold of financials, but it is doubtful that there have been a lot of expenses during covid.

My intent would be to ask the membership to cut mess dues in half when members are unable to access the mess. This would include: covid and supporting training or operations while not having access to a mess.

My distaste for the mess in general definitely has an impact on my outlook, as does the current bill that was presented to me by the Fin NCO, but I think that it is a reasonable motion to propose.

Issues that I forsee:
-getting the executive engaged
-communicating the invite to the membership, who have other priorities
-getting people to show up
-getting the mess CO to sign off

Does anyone have any insights into how to pull this off in the face of these issues?
 

TCM621

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I've been hit with a bill for mess dues. I'm asking for more information including exactly what dates I'm getting charged for, etc, but I've got a few thoughts going through my head regarding it.

First off, I haven't been invited/able to attend a mess meeting in at least two years. I was on Impact for the better half of 2019 and on leave afterwards. Cue the pandemic.

I've been in that mess a grand total of two times since one of my troops blew his brains out.

The first time, a CWO belonging to the dominant unit of the mess decided it was appropriate to interrupt a member who was significantly impacted by the death talking to the Padre of said CWO's unit to force that Padre leave because she was an officer and didn't belong in his mess. There were no repercussions against said CWO that were apparent to the membership of the mess, and this spoke volumes to myself, my peers, and my troops.

The second time, I changed into civilian dress before coming to meet a peer at the mess. I found the door locked, identified myself, was treated rudely, and a survey of the members present was made to see if anyone knew me before I was allowed to enter.

I have never been a fan of my mess and I don't expect this to change. During normal, non-Covid conditions, I will not be sticking around until 10:30 at night for the bar to open when I've been working since 9am across the parking lot.

That said, I'm considering asking for some sort of virtual mess meeting.

We have no staff (bartending was conducted by members), and apparently "tradition" has prevented there being any amenities in there like a television. I can probably get ahold of financials, but it is doubtful that there have been a lot of expenses during covid.

My intent would be to ask the membership to cut mess dues in half when members are unable to access the mess. This would include: covid and supporting training or operations while not having access to a mess.

My distaste for the mess in general definitely has an impact on my outlook, as does the current bill that was presented to me by the Fin NCO, but I think that it is a reasonable motion to propose.

Issues that I forsee:
-getting the executive engaged
-communicating the invite to the membership, who have other priorities
-getting people to show up
-getting the mess CO to sign off

Does anyone have any insights into how to pull this off in the face of these issues?

It sounds like you are a member of a Reserve Unit. Reserve units tend to be special beasts in both good and bad ways. Anyway here are my suggestions:

Step 1 is to figure out what the expenses are. The numbers have to be communicated to the members at the AGMs. No CO is going to sign off on a change if it will cost money, so any reduction in dues has to reflect that. Since you haven't been to an AGM, your Finance chair should be able to provide those details. Then you will need to provide a reason why the dues should be lowered. I don't use the mess won't be an acceptable reason. The idea is that the mess will be open to be used and it is the committees job to make sure it matches the needs of the members. I would attack it by saying the mess can still provide for the members while lowering dues X amount.

As for the other stuff, I am sorry you have had to deal with what you perceive to be poor conduct in the mess. In the first case, the CWO was within his rights but it sounds like it could have been handled better. It would have been the same (in theory) if it was a Sgt although I know the reality is often different. The reason you didn't see any repercussions isn't anything to read into. It would have been odd had you known. If I had to guess I wouldn't be surprised to find that the Padre talked to his CO who had a chat with the CWO in his office.

The second incidence isn't a mess problem, its a you work with dicks problem. This is also likely a reserve unit problem. I am unlikely to prevent anyone from entering the mess (who can prove they are military) unless I know they don't belong. I just can be expected to know everyone.

The 3rd and 4th problems also tend to be reserve problems. Regular force messes are required to pay bartenders and mess committee members are not allowed to work behind the bar unless they are being paid as a bartender. The has the benefit of having someone do things like serve and clean up but it also comes with the hassle of staffing. When I was on the mess committee in the regular force, I had to schedule to have the bar open days in advanced. When I was on the mess committee in the reserves, I unlocked the door and started serving beer.

I also can't think of a regular force mess, that I have been to, that doesn't have a TV somewhere. Some of the Officers and Sgt& WO messes have them tucked away out of sight of the main area but they all have them. Reserve messes are different. Many of them have been running for the better part of a century, sometimes in the same room. But there are ways around it. I remember one where the solution was to have a cabinet built that hid the TV when it was not in use because a modern Flat screen TV would look out of place in a living museum that dated back to WW1. I would try to convince the membership that getting a TV would increase use of the mess as members came in to watch hockey playoffs or fights, but I would have some way to counter their argument such as the cabinet idea I mentioned or something similar that fits your particular situation.

Finally, all the mess polices can be found here in CH 9
https://www.cfmws.com/en/AboutUs/Li...ocuments/PSP-Policy-Manual_En_Rev-20Jan21.pdf
and here
 

CountDC

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Just to add a change that was pushed out a few years back by the CA - reserve messes were to transfer under NPF for finances and to ensure they were following procedures.

For your bill - anytime you are away and pay mess dues somewhere else you should have a receipt that you present a copy to your unit mess. Based on that your mess dues are to be reduced for the period not the dollar amount. For example if you were sent to Gagetown for the month of Jul and paid the mess there then your unit mess does not charge for that month. You do not have to pay mess dues at two messes.
 

Eaglelord17

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Just to add a change that was pushed out a few years back by the CA - reserve messes were to transfer under NPF for finances and to ensure they were following procedures.
You mean profit off the interest of the collective accounts and deny members the ability to spend their funds. We had issues where we couldn't buy furniture which our mess had voted and approved because NPF refused to let us spend the money on it. Not to mention the insanely large amount of time NPF requires to manage for the most basic tasks, which when your doing it as a unpaid volunteer isn't really a good thing. Before the combining, it was 1-2 days a month of work if that. After it was about at least a day a week.
 

TCM621

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You mean profit off the interest of the collective accounts and deny members the ability to spend their funds. We had issues where we couldn't buy furniture which our mess had voted and approved because NPF refused to let us spend the money on it. Not to mention the insanely large amount of time NPF requires to manage for the most basic tasks, which when your doing it as a unpaid volunteer isn't really a good thing. Before the combining, it was 1-2 days a month of work if that. After it was about at least a day a week.
It is the worst thing that ever happened to messes. Once we stopped being a private club and became a government run bar, things went down hill. I remember as PMC I had plans to spend 20% of our surplus, I ended up adding 10% because I couldn't spend the money.
 

ModlrMike

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Makes me glad the Navy still runs its own NPF. The management headaches notwithstanding.
 
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