Dodge County Girl Scout Council Avoids Merger

6/1/11 – A federal court gave the Girl Scout council that govern’s Dodge County a new lease-on-life Tuesday. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said the national Girl Scouts were wrong to try-and-eliminate the Manitou Council of Sheboygan. The group was the only one to challenge a merger plan aimed at reducing the number of councils nationally from 300-to-100. Federal Judge J-P Stadtmueller of Milwaukee ruled in favor of the national scouts, saying the merger was part of the group’s right to free expression. But the appellate judges said the council was no different than a franchise of a major business chain – and eliminating it would have violated Wisconsin’s Fair Dealership Law. In a 19-page ruling, the appellate judges said that from a commercial standpoint, the Scouts were quote, “not readily distinguishable from Dunkin’ Donuts.” The Manitou Council includes Girl Scouts in Sheboygan, Washington, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Dodge counties. Its cookie sales exceed a million dollars a year – and under the merger plan, those revenues would have been split among three groups