Are non-profits in the North Country getting enough scrutiny?

Some of the region’s biggest non-profits have earned a lot of lousy press recently, for alleged mismanagement, misuse of funds, and a lack of clear leadership.

Earlier this month, the Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living director was fired, as the Attorney General’s office continues its probe.   This from the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

[Former director Lauren] LeFebvre is the second TLCIL employee to be fired in as many months. Maureen Santiago, the center’s former bookkeeper, was terminated by the board on Aug. 8.

LeFebvre and Santiago are at the center of an ongoing investigation by the AG’s Office into claims that they borrowed money from the nonprofit organization to pay for personal expenses, among other things.

Meanwhile, the head of a social service agency based in Moriah has been ousted, according to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.

Following more than a month on suspension, Mountain Lake Services Executive Director Dipanker “Dipu” Basu has resigned.

The embattled head of the human services agency had been brought up on unspecified internal charges and placed on administrative leave, along with his associate, Northern Region Regional Director Mary Savage.

And then there were the allegations this summer of widespread mismanagement at ComLinks, the social service agency based in Malone.    This again from the Plattsburgh Press-Republican.

Nancy Reich allegedly used $100,000 in ComLinks grant funds to pay for room service, a golf-club membership, appliances for her home and Swedish massages.

In August, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise ran an editorial warning “workers, bosses, and boards” of non-profits to be more vigilant.

Non-profits make up a huge slice of the region’s economy, providing thousands of jobs and delivering crucial services — everything from fire protection to meals-on-wheels.

What do you think?  Should there be closer oversight and more scrutiny of how they spend dollars, both those received from the government and from private donors?

Comments welcome below.

1 Comment on “Are non-profits in the North Country getting enough scrutiny?”

  1. Scott Sayward says:

    My answer is YES. Mountain Lake Services, for example, receives over 35 Million in Medicaid Funding, according to their tax returns. The salaries have no caps, for example, which is unacceptable for a “non profit”. Most recently, the money they spent on homes during a reorganization of the agency was mismanaged. Several homes now sit empty in Essex County, purchased with taxpayer funds and removed from tax rolls, it hurts the economy to have them sitting empty and unused. The money could have been better spent elsewhere, in education, for example or better yet, saved by the State to decrease their debt.

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