The Washington Post and county Inspector General are certainly taking their time investigating what happened to over $900,000 of taxpayer funds gifted to non-profit Centro Familia by your County Council.
As I said when this came up a few months back, don't you think the average citizen would be in some major trouble if they couldn't account for $900,000 in public funds? So what is taking so long to get answers in an age when senior citizens are thrown out of foreclosed homes onto the street on short notice?
According to the Post story, a whopping $450,000 of Centro Familia's $700,000 is county taxpayer funds from the council. That's more than half!
We often hear - just the other night on Channel 6, in fact - that we need to fund non-profits in order to save money in the county budget.
Now, that is absolutely true.
However, that theory is absolutely not true when a) the non-profit is a partisan political actor, and b) the non-profit is providing its services with taxpayer monies exceeding what it would cost the county to provide those same services directly.
You could argue that Centro Familia is guilty of "b."
Again, according to the Post, Centro Familia provides "an early childhood program to about 30 preschoolers." Okay. I'm all in favor of that. In fact, I was recognized by the director of a local early childhood education for my proposals in that area during the 2006 campaign. It is also of special importance to have these programs for very young citizens whose parents' first language is not English. They often have neither the environment conducive to learning, nor even the meeting of basic nutritional needs, that most county children have at home.
But would it cost $750,000 a year (or even the $450,000 per year given by the county) to provide an early childhood program for 30 (30!) children?
I daresay, no.
It also says they have trained over 300 in-home child care providers for children. But that doesn't add up either.
So why is the county council spending your money so freely on Centro Familia?
You may remember I broke the story last year that Capital Properties (now owner of most of Westbard) had hired lobbyists from the firm of Lerch, Early & Brewer to - what else? - lobby the county council to do the bidding of Capital Properties on Westbard.
According to the Washington Post, Lerch, Early & Brewer's Chief Operating Officer is also Chairman of the Centro Familia board. And as such, is mentioned in regards to - and quoted on - this mystery of the vanishing public funds.
If you run into your local councilmember, you might just want to ask him or her why he or she is giving away your tax dollars with no accountability whatsoever.
For services they could provide directly for less!
And ask them about the portion of that $900,000 that went to "activities 'outside the country.'"
What's that about? What's going on here? Councilmembers?
And where do representatives or employees of Centro Familia "travel" at taxpayer expense?
Gee whiz, I'd like to do some traveling myself! How about giving us citizens a free vacation, councilmembers?
Apparently, the council keeps funding the organization without even examining or requesting the appropriate documentation for the expenditures!
We need fiscal responsibility! And that's going to be the voter's responsibility in 2010, at the county and state levels.
Let us keep that money so we can take vacations this summer.
It is the first day of summer, after all.