I've heard of a few COs that were thieves running off with funds and everything in their living quarters or congregation apt. One CO literally stripped everything out of the apt - stereo equipment, everything. Hard to believe.
JW Rumor: End of the Traveling Overseer
A number of posters have referred to the possibility of the org's losing control over congregations without the CO arrangement.
First, I'm not sure that it would lose control. I've known a lot of congregation elders who were more strict and blindly loyal to the org than some CO's. In fact, I've even seen CO's counsel congregation elders for being too controlling, etc.
Second, I'm not sure that the org is that worried anymore about control. It's not like the old days when most of the higher-ups really believed all the doctrine and thought the end was imminent, and the org was bold and confident; those days are over. The org is just in survival/self-preservation mode now. It has already taken steps to try to ensure its survival. It has moved (or is moving) to a new, more consolidated headquarters, it has liquidated a lot of real estate, and it has put into place a perpetual payment plan for congregations.
I believe that as long as the payment plan is honored, the org doesn't really care about having that much control. For example, the org used to be so concerned about the evaluations of the preaching work that CO's reported; however, I think it has sort of lost interest in the preaching work now, knowing it can't win in that arena and even, to some extent, not wanting JWs to participate in it so they won't be exposed to damaging info.
So, again, I don't think control is as important to the org as it once was. The org just wants money; it wants to survive.
When I left over a decade ago, the C.O. spent a great deal of time during a visit on the quality of the recruiting work. That was when "selling" literature was still their main thing. He examined the books and compared the incoming literature to the placements and to the donations to worldwide work.
I am sure a super elder working for free can easily examine the books...and Watchtower already knows what a cong gets and what they give, so a report created in 10 minutes from HQ can be provided. They won't need to care about the recruiting efforts. Watchtower can make service overseers feel more important by saying they won't get much oversight.
All the guy has to do is read the report and audit the books.
And yes, the C.O. has been important to keep elders in line. Mother will encourage all to just fly straight because they cannot afford that oversight anymore. And I am sure there will still be an overseer (R.O.) to run assemblies and for elder snitches to snitch to.
...oh, and a detailed personally tailored report from WTS simply has to include totals and "They need to give more."
It seems to make financial sense but the body of elders sometimes deviate and so does the congregation and you need someone to keep them in line. In any organization, tight management is needed or things will get out of control. JW congregations are no exception.
Some are doubting because of the fact that Watchtower uses COs to keep a tight rein on elder bodies. But keep in mind that the rumor is not "end of the Circuit Overseer", but rather "end of the Travelling Overseer". With the advent of JW.org Watchtower doesn't need to have Overseers travelling from congregation to congregation to oversee matters. Watchtower can simply require elders to do all their bureaucratic paperwork electronically, online at JW.org, so an overseer can keep tabs on congregations' records electronically without having to physically visit the congregation and look at actual physical paperwork. The CO meeting with the elders can be done by way of a teleconference VIA internet with streaming video and cameras. The CO talks to the congregation can be replaced with a pre-recorded video talk or video presentation. Watchtower gets to maintain all their control without the expense of paying for persons to physically travel to each congregation.
Fisherman: In any organization, tight management is needed or things will get out of control. JW congregations are no exception.
But according to JWs, the JW congregations aren't just "any organization", they're supposed to be part of God's spirit directed organization with Jehovah invisibly running the show from heaven VIA holy spirit. So the fact that the JW organization is so obsessed with control and micro-management means one - or both - of two things:
1. The JW organization is not God's spirit-directed organization as JWs love to claim; but just another human-led organization subject to the same deficiencies and limitations and thus requiring the same human-originated controls and micromanagement to ensure things work the way the human leaders want them to work.
2. The leadership of the JW organization actually lack faith in the efficacy of holy spirit to direct matters so they put forth great efforts to set up human controls and human systems of micromanagement to control matters. Their obsession with micromanagement is actually a betrayal of their lack of faith in the leadership of Jesus and the operation of holy spirit.
without having to physically visit the congregation and look at actual physical paperwork.
Sounds good on paper. But I can tell you after trying everything, someone sharp has to physically go there to see what's actually going on to report back to the higher ups to straighten things out. Some expenses you can't do without. It doesn't mean wt will not figure some way to trim the TO expense or even as this thread suggest cut it out. You will still need someone to supervise each BO and the Cong in my opinion however wt works it out financially.
If they got rid of COs who would appoint the next lot of dickheads ( elders) . Whatever WT does it will relinquish NO power , COs are the paid enforcers they might want to switch to an unpaid clergy class but the control enforcement will only increase as the cracks in the org increase. Like the old saying pay peanuts get monkeys.
Another way would be simply to have a CO cover two circuits (40 congs - maybe less with cong closures) with help from Sub CO's. Maybe rename them T.O.'s (Travelling Overseer).
1st visit REAL CO. 2nd visit SUB CO. 3rd visit REAL CO. 4th visit sub CO etc.
"Good" congo's might get two Sub CO visits in a row. "Naughty" ones an extra REAL C.O. visit.
That way you halve the number of CO's at a stroke. Save a fortune. The only extra expense might be more miles on the "circuit car".
Control pretty much maintained. $$$$ up. Expenses down. Sub CO's can feel important and have more wannabe pioneer elders reaching out.