Had an argument with the House tonight

Posted by: Dennis Michael

Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 12:26 AM

I can't wait for the year to end. I am just hating this Center. Here is tonight's saga.

Came to bowling a little early and saw a few fellows outside having a cig. One approaches me and asks if I heard that a particular bowler bounced a check a couple of weeks ago. Now, I normally wouldn't know this, but I am an Officer of the league, and I think I should know, and not be told by one of the bowlers.

So, I went inside and pushed the question with the Asst Mgr.

It seems a bowler took cash out of the envelope, replacing it with a check, and it bounced. That bowler has not bowled since. The Asst told the individual team about this, but none of the officers knew this. I asked the Treas, and he knew nothing. Together, we went to the Mgr for the story. The team is out $80 for the night, and a bank service charge of $30 will also be passed on. We have just had our payout meeting, and we knew nothing about any team shortage. Both the Treas and I, the VP, jumped on the New Mgr for not telling us. We now have to adjust the team payouts.

Then, we went to that individual team record. And, were we shocked. The Treas turns over all the money collected to the House for banking, and reconciles each team collection. What he didn't realize was that 2 bowlers had prepaid for the balance of the year, and 1 bowler was $200 delinquent. He doesn't reconcile bowler by bowler each week, so he couldn't have noticed this. I said the league envelopes have a space for each bowler, and this team showed blanks on that particular bowler for a while. But, because the 2 bowlers had prepaid, his reconciliation always showed the team as overpaid for the past month. Now we only have 1 week left, and the team is in arrears.

I went back to the Mgr and had some words because this happened 3 weeks prior and the officers didn't know of it. I didn't care that the Asst told the team. The Asst is nothing but another bowler in our league. Protocal would say that the officers would have been notified. And, I didn't like the fact that I was told by another bowler who was outside having a cig. That was a heck of a way to find out.

We submitted our payout request by team based on points at the end, and cash envelopes that the House was going to prepare. Now, we are short by a couple of hundred dollars, and this team has to be refigured. The team will lose $310 in their payout. They will obviously take it from the delinquent bowler's amount.

I'm done with this house. Only 2 more weeks to go.

Our rules clearly state that a bowler who is delinquent for 2 weeks cannot bowl until paid. This has been unnoticed for over 2 months due to a quirk in our league process of reconciliation.
Posted by: Mattdean76

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 12:45 AM

So if I am correct, that team should forefit its points since the bowler has been 2 weeks behind as they knew this from all the way back to where he was behind. I hate to see a team lose money because of someone, but you should at least know whats going on with your team.

It's pretty sad that you found out that way and had to investigate things on your own. Most leagues have the pay before the last 2 weeks as a general rule, but not hard and fast. This might be a good time to reevaluate the way things are done with the treasurer, but the onus falls on the treasurer to square everything away. There are always a few bowlers who make it impossible to have an enjoyable time. I am happy to hear that it's been brought up before the last week of the year though. Money is almost always something that is griped about.

Posted by: Smooth23

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 01:33 AM

Money issues always make bowling interesting. We had our payout for my tuesday mixed league this week, and everyone is wondering where $750 in 50/50 money went, as well as where we accumulated $450 in 'office supplies' spending.
Posted by: Atochabsh

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 02:05 AM

Our rules clearly state that a bowler who is delinquent for 2 weeks cannot bowl until paid. This has been unnoticed for over 2 months due to a quirk in our league process of reconciliation.

And the President is supposed to check the finances monthly. There is no quirk. So if a bowler is more then 4 weeks deliquent (or 2 months) then that's also the President's fault.

These things happen every year. And a league meeting can be held suspending the bowler's card, the Secretary's card, the Treasurer's card and the President's card for not doing their job.

There's nothing in the rules that says the Sec. or Sec./Tres. is supposed to be the league police. There is a board of officers and they all should be working together to make sure the league is financially even.

I have said it before and I'll say it again. NEVER bank with the house. They are invested in getting their lineage paid first and foremost. Not the league's prize fund. I know leagues that don't accept checks. And leagues that are required to pay monthly rather then weekly.

And crap like Office Supplies, need to be itemized out at the beginning. Not just sprung on the league at the end. Because most Sec. and Sec/Tres fees include expenses. If your league doesn't then it needs to be in the league rules. If its NOT in the league rules then its not an allowable expense.


Posted by: Mattdean76

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 03:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Smooth23
Money issues always make bowling interesting. We had our payout for my tuesday mixed league this week, and everyone is wondering where $750 in 50/50 money went, as well as where we accumulated $450 in 'office supplies' spending.

$450 for office supplies? Did you buy a whole office or something? What could they have possibly had to buy? That is outlandish.

There are lots of rules and suggestions that you can do to prevent a lot of these issues, basically checks and balances, but I won't get into them.
Posted by: roddo4

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 04:14 AM

Unfortunately, there are a few things that are easily not anticipated at the beginning of a season. I was a league secretary/treasurer for 15+ years, and there always is some kind of problem with money. A couple of years ago in our league, there were 3 deaths (all between February and May), and it was customary before I took over the job of secretary to send flower arrangements to the families/funeral homes. Nowadays, a decent looking arrangement can cost anywhere from $65.00 to $115.00. Maybe all leagues don't do this, but this is just an example of unexpected expenses.

I certainly can relate to the scenario of a bowler taking the cash out of the envelope and then bouncing a check. This has happened more than once in our league over the years. Usually, the guy will disappear after he's done this. You can do what you can to track him down, and then you can send him his registered letter, notifying him that he'll be suspended, but this usually ends up with no response from the offender. Even though it's a small fee, still the cost of sending the registered mail is another unexpected expense. And as was mentioned, the cost of the bounced check is money that can't be planned for, ahead of time. Unfortunately, all leagues can't command that only cash be accepted--there are quite a few people that don't carry much cash on them--only checks or credit/debit cards--and the bigger the league, the more chance of this situation being the case.

I don't know how it is nowadays, but the President was never a paid position when I ran a league. Maybe it's unnecessary, but a nominal fee for President might inspire a volunteer for the job to be more diligent and hard-nosed about the monthly audits.

It's not too unusual to hear that a secretary/officer would hear about a bounced check from a third party on the way in to the bowling center. If a bowling center gets a new day manager, s/he may not have it on the top of his/her agenda to telephone the league officers about a bounced check, or it may not be in the strict policy of the bowling center to notify the officers in addition to the team responsible for the money. Or the check may have been put through the bank more than once, and not officially bounced until the following league date, which wouldn't leave any time for the officers to be notified. There are always people who arrive at the bowling center ahead of time, and somehow gossip just seems to spread from within the bowling alley, to these early arrivers. Then they seem to take pleasure in passing the gossip as 'hot breaking news' to someone who's an officer of the league.

I understand that a league's officers and board of directors are responsible for the league's finances. I don't know if I'd quite go as far as suspending all the officers' cards for not doing their job. If the officers are doing a good job for the league overall, it might be a little extreme to remove all these people from their positions, and subsequently replace them with people who don't know all the ins-and-outs. When I did the job of secretary/treasurer, I usually just took the hit at the end of the year from my salary in some of the minor, isolated cases. I always felt that the job of secretary/treasurer was too generously paid a position, especially when the President received nothing. But, usually, the feeling amongst the league as a whole was to take money out of the 50-50 to cover stuff like bounced check fees, mailing costs, flower arrangements, additional rolls of 50-50 tickets, etc.

Anyway, right or wrong, these are just my extended thoughts on the matter.


Posted by: CoachJim

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 06:32 AM

Dennis, the house and team is responsible for handling the money, they should also be responsible for making up the difference in arrears.

If the team was due to get $500 and were short two hundred, they will only be getting $300 not the entire league be shorted over it, that's common sense, let the teammates track the delinquent bowler down and get their money, or the house should take responsibility since they were the ones responsible and taking a fee for handling the money and make up the difference themselves.

Next year don't bowl in a league unless the league officers are responsible for the money.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: CoachJim
Dennis, the house and team is responsible for handling the money, they should also be responsible for making up the difference in arrears.

I fully understand this. But, that begs to question why there are officers? The Officers should have been notified of a bounced check and any resultant action. In this case, the House went directly to the team, and somehow, word of mouth carried outside the House without the Officers even knowing of the situation.

The second point to question is the Treasurer's reconciliation procedure. He collects the weekly fees. Summarizes the amount by team. And, prepares a deposit cover sheet with the money. He does this on a team by team basis, and because he doesn't tabulate each bowler, he overlooked the fact that 1 bowler had accumulated the shortage. And, if a bowler prepays the season, the team looks like it has overpaid rather than one bowler being short and another ahead.

Third, our league rule of 'No bowling if 2 weeks delinquent' has no teeth. There is no penalty other than you don't bowl. The team doesn't lose the bowled games either. But, without a reconciliation for each bowler, you don't know who is delinquent, and Officers can't enforce this rule. When I looked at the House records, they do in fact input payment bowler by bowler right off the payment envelope. They had the data, but notified everyone too late. It doesn't seem too terribly difficult to produce a delinquent or shortage report that the Officers/Treas can determine if the bowler was sick, on vacation, or absent, versus a continued no payment, and then enforce the rule.

I guess this is why another House has a sign that "checks up to $25 will be accepted with an accompanying $50 cash deposit".
Posted by: Dan300

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 08:31 AM

We had a similar situation last summer. I was President of our PBAx league and one bowler at the end of the year bounced 2 checks and was behind by $120 for a total of $180 in arrears and fees. The team payout was $181 and I had to give them an envelope with $1 and explain what happened. They were NOT happy and had some choice things to say about the 3rd member of the team who conveniently didn't show up on payout night.

It happens and it sucks but you have to do what you have to do to make the money right for everyone who DID follow the rules.

BTW, "office fees" ought to be covered by the lineage, or if not, then the amount charged should be spelled out in the league contract with the house prior to signing. I'd suggest going over the contract and seeing what it has to say about that charge.
Posted by: Steve

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 08:44 AM

Its always something to take some of the fun out of bowling, I do belive it is a little wrong to penilize the whole league for one person who did not pay. Thats just not right. just my 2 cents
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 08:53 AM

I accepted the VP job because it was a do nothing job. The Rule book says I would act in the absence of the Pres. So, other than waiting for him to die, I had nothing to do. But, this year has been a real headache for me. All problems/complaints were to be funneled to me for action. And, with the repeated oil spread mess earlier, I had 10+ people complaining to me every week for two months. And, the managers of the house were not very accommodating, always making excuses, and at times lying. This was compounded by the fact that we have had 3 managers of this House in this year, and each new one knew nothing of the problems.

I feel that I was a buffer for the officers, cause I fielded all comments. I haven't enjoyed this year, and it has taken a toll on my bowling. I needed a night out, and I didn't need the headaches that came with it.

I am out of this league, and this house. Position Night, rolloff, and I am done.
Posted by: General Pounder

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 09:43 AM

When I was Sec/Treas, I would go through the envelopes each week and check who paid, and who didn't. When a bowler was 2 weeks behind, I would put a note in the envelope (there wasn't a league rule about money). Last night, the vacating Sec/Treas was telling my about people being late on money. Now, we pay the last 2 weeks of bowling within the first 5 weeks. So, 3 weeks ago, we get a note in our envelope stating that as a team, we owed $72 for the rest of the year (3 bowlers paid out for the year the previous week). Now, there were times when I was goen for a couple of weeks and our team was $ behind. Nothing. Falls directly on the Sec/Treas. You can do one of 2 things. Make the teams responsible for the money or make the individuals responsible. Basically, 2 weeks behind, you don't bowl. Or, as a team, $100 behind, you don't bowl. Either way, needs to be addressed in the league meeting BEFORE week 1 of bowling. It isn't in our rules but it will be next year.

Truthfully, I didn't know who our Pres and VP were until last night. Pretty sad. They know nothing about the payouts, they know nothing about anything that is going on, they know NONE of the rules. They all were given USBC rule books. The Pres and VP said that they threw them out cause the house has a copy. Week in and week out, the Sec would come to me with rules questions. I would tell her to look in the league rules and USBC rules. If there was a ruling to be made, go to the other league officers.

There has been a lot of drama in my league that was completely un-necessary. It was due to lack of knowing the job by the Sec, lack of help from the other officers, and bowlers trying to get away with things. The league payout schedule should have been in place as of week 4 (that late due to fluctuating team numbers). The "prize committee" never met until late Feb and then they passed out 2 different schedules to vote on. One was top heavy and the other was very balanced. Since the places were pretty well set, the balanced one won.

Rules need to be in place as well as procedures. We are losing bowlers because of incompetence. Not with the house, but with the officers. This won't happen again.


Sounds like your Sec/Treas needs a kick in the pants as well as the house. Too many issues. Sucks to leave a league. It is always a pain when others don't know what they are doing.
Posted by: Domokun

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/16/09 10:14 AM

Geez, sorry about the mess, Dennis, but I'll be taking your experience with me as I'll likely be my singles league prezzie next season. This season already had some USBC rule infraction drama--basically, our league got the smack upside the head for all our association's leagues given our rule-sharing. Got tattled on by a last-minute quitting, non-paying bowler, but we're the bad guys.

Thanks for the heads up, but sorry that you're out over this.
Posted by: Coach04

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/19/09 04:01 PM

USBC clearly states that league finances are entrusted to the President and Treasurer of the league, not the house. The President and Treasurer are charged with auditing and signing off on the league finances monthly. They must both sign off on any expenditures such as "office supplies".

If you have a discrepancy you go straight to your president and demand an answer. If one is not given, the USBC should be notified.

As Vice President you have neither the responsibility nor the authority to go to the house questioning the league finances. The one exception would be if the President had failed to perform his duties and you replaced him. A second would be if the President assigned you as head of a committee to investigate the discrepancy.

From what I am reading you are volunteering to accept responsibilities that are not intended for your position as an officer. Including complaints from bowler's, all problems are the responsibility of the President. He is to handle them himself or appoint a Grievance Committee. As long as you allow other bowlers to bring complaints to you, and you accept responsibility of dealing with those complaints, you are circumventing the system set up by the USBC. At this point you become part of the problem, not the solution.

All officers receive a handbook, and a rulebook. All of the responsibilities, all of the actions, and means of resolution are spelled out in them. You should be directing your bowlers in accordance to the guidelines set out by the USBC.
Posted by: Dennis Michael

Re: Had an argument with the House tonight - 04/19/09 04:55 PM

Jim, it is common that banking responsibility is passed to the House. Yes, the Treas and Pres have the responsibility for the accuacy of the payments, collections, and the exactness of the collected funds. We don't have a monthly financial review, but did have a half year review, where we found an $80 descrepancy between our records and those of the house.

The Pres has passed the task to me to handle all grievances. Neither he nor I anticipated the problems we would have with the oil in this house. Or the complaints that we would get.

If you read my original post, I went to the Treas and had him accompany me to the house mgmt to find the problem.

But, as a former business exec, CPA and VP of Finance, it is natural for me to identify a monetary problem and quickly fix it. That is where I reviewed the reconciliation procedure of the Treas.

Yes, the handbook and the Rules state that the VP has responsibility for nothing, but, does act in the absence of the Pres, who was not there that night. So, I was within my authority.

The other thing that is in my favor is that I know the players on the side of the house very well. Much better than the Pres, who is basically a mole. They recognize my interest and that I had the authority, and responded appropriately.