Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 209
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for October 2, 2003

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

Some things are hard to believe. Itís hard to believe that an organization supposedly dedicated to helping less fortunate citizens would be so petty as to leave empty first aid kits when vacating a building. Itís hard to believe that the same organization would reformat the hard drives on the computers they left behind and not even reinstall the operating system. Then again, anyone familiar with the saga of the three boards wouldnít be surprised at all. The three boards are the Johnson County Board of Services, the Industrial Service Contractors, Inc., and the Advancement for the Developmentally Disabled.

Itís obvious that for many years the JCBS followed that grand tradition of local charitable boards and failed to exercise even a modicum of financial oversight on the approximately $500,000 in taxpayer dollars collected each year. It is also obvious that, when the JCBS started to act like it wanted to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities, the people whoíd been running the show as they saw fit didnít like the attention. Those folks ultimately responded by abandoning the disabled and figuratively taking their ball and going home Ė and tried to blame those asking the questions.

It is to the credit of the JCBS that they were able to get the sheltered workshop up and running again in such short order, despite apparent efforts by the departing organization to undercut them. Workshop staff and clients were led to believe that the JCBS intended to shut down the workshop. When that didnít work, a financial inducement was attempted to keep the staff from applying to work with a new contractor; the inducement was ruled illegal by the Attorney Generalís office. Three staff members started work for the new contractor and suddenly quit in the middle of the day.

In government service contracts, normally only senior management changes when there is a change in contractors; working level people seldom notice the change. One wonders (but will never find out) exactly what was told to the workshop staff to cause so few to continue. One might further wonder why the outgoing contractor so desperately wanted the JCBS to fail that it took such extraordinary efforts to disrupt service.

There are dozens of elected and appointed boards around the county, responsible for public or charitable funds. It behooves all of them to exercise proper oversight of the money entrusted them and to operate in a fully open manner, whether or not subject to the Sunshine Law.

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