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Free Press Article
ISCi Dissolution Raises Questions
For Warrensburg Free Press August 28, 2003
There are several disturbing aspects to recent developments in the dispute among the agencies providing services to the developmentally disabled. The Johnson County Board of Services (JCBS), the county agency charged by law with providing a sheletered workshop, has felt the need to publicly reassure client families that they have no intention of closing the workshop. The board of Industrial Service Contractors, inc. (ISCi), the non-profit organization that actually operated the workshop, has filed a dissolution plan that transfers its assets to its employees and to Advancement of the Developmentally Disabled (ADD), managed by that same board.
A key question is why families of developmentally disabled persons would believe that the workshop would be closed, when all the JCBS asked for was financial accountability. The answer is obvious: somebody told them. Somebody, probably with the intent of discrediting the JCBS, started and disseminated rumors. If the source of the rumors is revealed, the public will know where to lay the blame.
ISCi’s stated rationale for dissolving the non-profit corporation is suspect. The fact that they have operated on contract extensions from JCBS instead of receiving a new contract is due primarily to the fact that ISCi has not made its financial records available to the JCBS. Since the corporation fits into the definition of a “quasi-pubic governmental body” in Section 610.010(4) of the Sunshine Law, its meetings and those records not sealed by privacy laws are supposed to be available to any interested citizen. Answers are needed as to why the ISCi board has chosen to dissolve the corporation rather than make records available.
The ISCi dissolution plan raises even more questions. The staff members and administrators are actually employees of ADD, which is governed by the same board that governs ISCi. Why would ISCi prepay ADD for the use of these employees until June 2004 if they had been contemplating dissolution? Why do they plan to dispose of a substantial part of their assets in a severance package that is especially generous to long time management employees? Why have they selected an entity that they control, ADD, for disposal of any residual funds?
The citizens of Johnson County should not tolerate the appearance of irregularity in the handling of public funds nor to the use of the developmentally disabled as pawns in a power struggle. It is time for the county and state authorities step in and initiate an investigation, perhaps even to the extent of obtaining sworn testimony if that’s what it takes to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, ISCi’s dissolution process should be suspended.