By Edwin Crayton
At the Tuesday, July 11 quarterly meeting of the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation, at First Baptist Amulet Street, I mentioned that for three of the four quarterly meeting this year, there have been no treasurer’s reports presented. Amazing. I’m sure you can appreciate not having treasurer’s reports on hand at quarterly meetings is a real problem as well as a real handicap—especially when the organization that doesn’t have them is responsible for managing 1.8 million of the public’s money.
At that meeting I also mentioned that even when the group does provide treasurer’s reports, it’s been my experience that they have been given verbally. (Not very professional indeed.) And when the last treasurer, Sylvia Morrow wasn’t present at meetings I attended, I noticed there were no reports sent along in her absence. Sending the report along when the treasurer can’t make the meeting is standard procedure for most organizations. Morrow has resigned from the board but unfortunately, the practice of having no written treasurer reports has lingered on. As I said, even at the meeting on July 11th, there was no treasurer’s report at all.
So that night, I asked the board if they would commit to written treasurer’s reports at every meeting. Most members present said no. However, there were exceptions. Most notably, Board Member Gwen Hardison was very positive and gave a yes to the idea, saying she had no problem with written reports as she had been involved with groups were this is the practice. Mr. Leo Walker, chairman was a bit vaguer, saying, the organization would continue with the process used by former Treasurer Morrow who he claimed gave written reports when she was treasurer. He seemed to be implying that NCIF does provide written treasurer reports. Huh? That stunned me because as mentioned, when I’ve attended meetings where Ms. Morrow gave treasurer’s reports it was done verbally. However, I try to be fair, so trying to give both him and her the benefit of the doubt, I figured, maybe he meant years ago before I began to attend meetings. Or maybe she gave a written report at a meeting I missed. Possible. But even then I only missed one of the four quarterly meetings last year and as I said I don’t remember any written treasurer’s reports at those I attended. At any rate, Mr. Walker’s comments don’t really matter, when you consider that as mentioned earlier, there have been no treasurer’s reports at all so far in 2018 and he was actually the officer overseeing all of those meetings.
I also mentioned to the group that this is a pretty big deal because NCIF has yet to account for what happened to $19,500 in public funds and it was even mentioned by the auditor in his report that the organization had “few records.” Again, written reports would have solved that problem. I do not know nor will I speculate why the group resisted the idea of committing to written treasurer’s reports, but I do believe that it should be a standard procedure and if had been instituted earlier, $19,500 would probably not be unaccounted for. Making a commitment to instituting written treasurer’s reports, available to the public and also putting them on file may help ensure we’re not talking about missing money in the future too.
That night the group approved the appointment of Oswald Taylor as interim treasurer. The next meeting which will be the last quarterly meeting of the year is Tuesday, October 9, 7pm at First Baptist Amulet Street. It is open to the public.
“And from the one trusted with much, much more will be expected.” – Luke 12:48
NCIF board members are: Leo Walker, Oswald Taylor, Ed Ward Jr., Billye Sue Johnson, Brenda Milner, Shaniqua Hoover, Mildred Joseph, Estelle Braxton, James Below Jr., Catherine Hoover, Kelvin Porter, Renee Porter, Gwendolyn Williams, Diane Blake Jones and Gwen Hardison