by Edwin Crayton
I’ve been writing how the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation (NCIF) admitted that it can’t account for what happened to $19,500 of the public money it manages. You would think any community group serving the public would want to answer questions to show transparency, right? Think again. At the July 11, 2017 quarterly meeting apparently that was not the case. When I asked for a response to my written requests for information about the missing funds, Board member Brenda Milner discouraged me from asking about the money advising that I focus instead on the positive things NCIF is doing. I responded by asking Ms. Milner how she would respond if she went to the bank and her banker told her he didn’t know what happened to $190 of her money. I asked if she would accept it if the banker advised her to forget the missing money and stop asking about it. Ms. Millner had no response. Her reaction is typical of the rest of the NCIF. Earlier in the meeting I asked if the board would be willing to share what they know about the missing funds. The board said they would not.
Sounds evasive and lacking in transparency? The Questions will continue. The Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation Board Members are: Leo Walker Jr., Sylvia Morrow, Oswald Taylor, Kelvin Porter, Brenda Milner, Ed Ward Jr., Gwen Hardison, Mildred Joseph, Shaniqua Hoover, Billye Sue Johnson, Gwendolyn Williams, Catherine Hoover, Diane Blake Jones, James Below Jr., and Estelle Braxton.
The board meets quarterly, every second Tuesday. The next meeting is in October. Call 1-318-623-2466 for time and location. The fund was created to oversee and distribute 1. 5 million in funds designated by the courts to go to the citizens of Natchitoches to help residents in the areas of education, housing, recreation and economic development.