Prominently displayed on the wall behind Mike Lehman’s desk who took over the helm of the local community action agency is a list of the programs administered by ORCCA (Oregon Coast Community Action) such as Head Start and the SCFS (South Coast Food Share) and their respective fund balances. Lehman replaced Mary Schoen-Clark who was pummeled by The World last year in a series of articles that criticized her management style while ignoring the larger underlying concern of the stability of the organization.
According to Lehman’s list the federally funded SCFS, the region’s primary food bank supplying pantries relied upon by hungry people up and down the coast is $170,000 in the hole. This is significant because the federal grants funding the food bank are dedicated funds and operational budgets are approved by ORCCA’s board of directors so the only way the program can be in the red is if funds have been diverted to other programs or to the general administrative fund. If documents prove to be correct the SCFS may not be able to maintain its contracted service levels which is bad enough but ORCCA’s accounting is reportedly so poor that it is unclear if the $170K figure is even accurate or how long it has been accumulating.
MGx is in possession of internal documents which raise serious questions about ongoing board manipulation and operational incompetence across many of the agency’s programs as well as special deals cut between management and administrative staff. ORCCA grew under Schoen-Clark to a $10 million a year organization but now Lehman has been overheard saying that ORCCA cannot pay its bills.
Lehman has responded positively to my request to meet to discuss ORCCA’s finances and operations. More to come!