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Sign on Bonus to Join the Military vs. Joining the Scouts


In an earlier column, I mentioned how the U.S. government was awarding a sign on bonus in order to increase enlistments.  Well, that sign on bonus to join the military was the subject of a firestorm recently when reported that wounded U.S. soldiers were being told to give back part of their military signing bonus.

This story of military salary scale gone awry hit the media when serviceman Jordan Fox received a letter from the government demanding the return of almost $3K of his military signing bonus. Fox had to return stateside three months early after he lost vision in his right eye, due to a roadside bomb in Iraq. Should injured servicemen have to return part of their sign on bonus to join the military?

How would your salary be affected if you had to return your bonuses?  Find out with PayScale’s full salary survey.

Military Signing Bonus, Under Fire

After Jordan’s story hit the airwaves and the blogosphere, the U.S. military stated that the letter demanding the return of part of his military signing bonus was a “mistake.”  Army Spokesperson Major Nathan Banks told, “We are. We are … definitely working it out. We have seen where the problems have been made, the system, and we’re just making – you know, give us the opportunity to make a wrong a right.”

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Subsequently, Jordan Fox will not have to repay that portion of his military signing bonus, but he is concerned about other soldiers. He told “Hopefully this will turn into change for not only me but many other soldiers that have lost limbs, you know, become permanently deaf. I hope to see a change for everybody.”  The Pentagon won’t promise that or comment on other soldiers’ situations.  Stay tuned.

Boy Scout Executive Committee = Awarding Big $$$

While wearing a military uniform may result in a loss of pay for some, those folks wearing scouting uniforms are seeing salaries that exceed Chief Justice John Roberts’ pay. reports that Paul Moore, a full-time, professional Scout executive, is paid $214K a year by the Great Salt Lake Council (a Boy Scout Executive Committee). That number includes a salary of $194,458 and benefits of $19,544.

If that sounds shocking, in 2005, the last year of available public data for Scout executives, then-national Scout executive Roy Williams earned a compensation of almost $1 million (a salary of $552,379 and benefits of $436,040). But going back to Paul Moore, he may make a six-figure salary because Utah is where the nation’s largest Scout councils are located.

Boy Scouts Chief Executive Scout

Scouting in Utah actually pays better than many professions, even doctors.  According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, obstetricians/gynecologists earn an annual average salary of $193,960 annually. That falls behind what Paul Moore was earning back in 2005; his compensation (salary plus benefits), then, was at $201K.

Moore also out earns the average salary for Utah physicians ($153,920), lawyers ($123,926) and psychiatrists ($120,598).  Before you quit your job for scouting, keep this in mind, the entry-level wage for Scout executives – nationally – is reportedly $36,700. Still, you know, I was pretty good at building bird houses…

How does your salary compare to careers in the Boy Scouts? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale’s full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee

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