Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
dougj
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Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby dougj » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:39 pm

In one building in our stake, the library and Relief Society room are on two levels and the Sisters cannot easily transport an old, non-flat panel TV and cart up and down the stairs. The FM group denied our request for a new, lighter, more manageable TV since the old one is not actually broken.

The mhtech policy, found at https://www.lds.org/help/support/meetin ... y?lang=eng, has two methods for funding audio visual items. They are: 7.2.1 - New Building Construction, and 7.2.2 - FM Provided Equipment. This seemingly eliminates using local unit funds for AV equipment, including a needed television that the FM group will not provide at this time.

However, section 7.3.2 states, "Local units keep an inventory of all A/V equipment purchased with local unit funds." It appears that section 7.2 does not list all available methods for funding new purchases of AV equipment.

Is it permissible for a stake to purchase a new television?

Does the Church or FM group have a purchasing channel and recommend specific models or can the stake purchase one from anywhere?

dougj
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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby dougj » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:43 pm

To stay ahead of the curve, let me request that you do not reply if you are going to preach to me about the ethics or value of using local unit funds for the purchase of a television. That has been argued elsewhere.

I only want a response that specifies the actual Church policy to know if we can proceed with the purchase or not. Nothing more. Nothing less. The Stake President will be informed of the actual policy and make his own decision. Thank you.

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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby sbradshaw » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:54 pm

The benefits of having church in a BYU building: We use the elevator. :)
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dougj
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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby dougj » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:59 pm

For sure! They keep saying they'll put one in but they never do. I wish they'd just give us a whole new building! :)

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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby russellhltn » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:42 pm

dougj wrote:Is it permissible for a stake to purchase a new television?

My Magic 8-ball says "Reply hazy try again". ;)

I'd say the stake president holds the keys to interpretation after reviewing all pertinent policy. I'd certainly encourage the SP to put some pressure on the FMG.


dougj wrote:Does the Church or FM group have a purchasing channel and recommend specific models or can the stake purchase one from anywhere?

Yes, the FM group does. I'd imagine any ordering would be done though them.


dougj wrote:In one building in our stake, the library and Relief Society room are on two levels and the Sisters cannot easily transport an old, non-flat panel TV and cart up and down the stairs.

I can't imagine that transporting any cart up and down the stairs is all that easy. A couple of ideas:
- Have the Priests Quorum render assistance as needed. Make sure they get proper training so as not to get injured if something goes wrong.
- If there is more than one TV on a cart, I'd look at stationing one on the RS level. Normally they're all locked in the library, but a dual-level, non-elevator/no ramp building and a cart just doesn't mix well.
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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby allenjpl » Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:50 pm

dougj wrote:In one building in our stake, the library and Relief Society room are on two levels and the Sisters cannot easily transport an old, non-flat panel TV and cart up and down the stairs. The FM group denied our request for a new, lighter, more manageable TV since the old one is not actually broken.

The mhtech policy, found at https://www.lds.org/help/support/meetin ... y?lang=eng, has two methods for funding audio visual items. They are: 7.2.1 - New Building Construction, and 7.2.2 - FM Provided Equipment. This seemingly eliminates using local unit funds for AV equipment, including a needed television that the FM group will not provide at this time.

However, section 7.3.2 states, "Local units keep an inventory of all A/V equipment purchased with local unit funds." It appears that section 7.2 does not list all available methods for funding new purchases of AV equipment.

Is it permissible for a stake to purchase a new television?

Does the Church or FM group have a purchasing channel and recommend specific models or can the stake purchase one from anywhere?


It would truly be sad if something... unfortunate were to happen to the current television. Such as what might occur during a transport down the stairs at approximately 33 ft/s/s.

Jesting aside, the stake president can certainly authorize the funds. But it's coming out of the stake/ward budget, not from the FM Group's budget.

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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby drepouille » Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:36 pm

allenjpl wrote:Jesting aside, the stake president can certainly authorize the funds. But it's coming out of the stake/ward budget, not from the FM Group's budget.


That is exactly my thought. As long as the ward or stake is willing to provide the funds, and allow the FM to procure a "standard" TV, I don't see a problem. The problem comes when each ward unilaterally purchases whatever TV they like best, which causes various accountability and maintenance problems.

The FM has a limited budget, but if units want to send money to the FM, then the FM should be willing and able to purchase standard, compatible, and maintainable A/V equipment. When the FM purchases the equipment, he can properly label (inscribe) the equipment and add it to his inventory for security purposes. Without labels and an accurate inventory, we can't respond to thefts and other losses.
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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby gregwanderson » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:49 pm

dougj wrote:The FM group denied our request for a new, lighter, more manageable TV since the old one is not actually broken.

Years ago, they replaced our film and filmstrip projectors with VCRs, even though the projectors weren't "actually broken." Up until a couple of years ago our library's larger TV was so old that it didn't even have a coax antenna input... just the old-fashioned two-screw antenna wire connection and a coax adapter. But it wouldn't connect to a DVD player without an RF modulator. The TV's picture quality wasn't that great anymore but you could see the picture and it was in color... just looked a bit out-of-focus. So... this TV wasn't "actually broken" but it was totally inadequate for the year 2012 (and beyond) to play the kind of media that our church members would want to use.

I think that any reasonable person should accept that the condition of "demonstrably obsolete" is just as good as "actually broken" and I would have hoped that an organization with responsibility for facilities management would also agree. :mad:

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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby morganag » Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:09 pm

While the TV is fit for purpose, it should not be replaced. If the picture quality or other factor has deteriorated so to you can not effectively use it then it should qualify for replacement. An FM makes these judgement calls based on standards set by the facilities department, not their own standards.The church does this to safe guard the sacred funds which are used to pay for these items.

The local unit budget allowance is not intended for purchasing TV's or other equipment that works otherwise be provided through the FM group. This is against church policy. We have received a letter from the area president in our region reinforcing this policy.

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Re: Policy on using local unit funds to purchase television

Postby allenjpl » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:06 pm

morganag wrote:While the TV is fit for purpose, it should not be replaced. If the picture quality or other factor has deteriorated so to you can not effectively use it then it should qualify for replacement.


I think the point the OP was making is that the TV that is available is not fit for their purpose - that purpose being "safely used on the second floor."
The local unit budget allowance is not intended for purchasing TV's or other equipment that works otherwise be provided through the FM group. This is against church policy. We have received a letter from the area president in our region reinforcing this policy.

Did the area president happen to cite the church policy you are referring to? If so, will you share that policy with us?


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