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Can South Coast Food Share survive?

Can South Coast Food Share survive?
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“Much Ado About Nothing”

ORRCA administers community service programs throughout the South Coast including South Coast Head Start, South Coast Food Share and health, energy and weatherization assistance.

Earlier this week Executive Director Mike Lehman told The World newspaper that a deficit of $170,000 reported on MGx is an exaggerated number spread by “former employees”. “In big terms, it’s much ado about nothing,” said Lehman. The deficit is “$30,000 to $50,000″, he claims and an amount that can be made up from block grants and other funds within the agency. The budget adopted by the board of directors on June 19, however, paints a different story. The budget reflects an operating shortfall of -$172,801 through June 30, 2013 and a projected deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year of another -$177,586.

Food Bank Budget 2013-14

ORRCA constructed a $10 million campus and food bank completed last year. The new food bank facility can distribute up to 3 million pounds of food annually. Audit reports show that SCFS carried over a modest but positive fund balance each year until 2012-13.

Year to date figures reflect private donations have dropped off and reimbursement payments from the pantries are well below target. The budget notes reflect no mention of pending donations or grant applications or explain how Lehman arrived at the figures he provided to the paper when the budget clearly shows -$172,801, or the $50,000 to $75,000 range he provided to MGx a day earlier. Lehman’s answers on the surface are unreliable and the board of directors has been unresponsive to requests for clarification.

Agency Lacks Grant Management Experience

Schoen-Clark resigned late last summer after a series of articles criticizing the agency and Lobsinger left this spring. At the request of the board of directors Energy Services Director Pattie Gouveia stepped in as interim CEO from late September 2012 until February 2013.

Complaints surfaced last year over SCFS billing errors with some of the pantries and disputes with ORCCA management, namely former CEO Mary Schoen-Clark and food bank director, Rollie Lobsinger. During all the negative reporting by The World newspaper about Schoen-Clark’s management style and Lobsinger’s personality conflicts with some of the pantry managers, little attention was paid to the overall fiscal health of the agency, particularly in light of the debt burden associated with a new $10 million complex that houses Head Start and other programs. ORCCA is a private non-profit agency funded by grants and donations and blames its current budget crunch on heightened competition for grants and an increased demand for services. Maintaining a steady stream of grant revenue is critical to staying abreast of the debt service. A review of recent board minutes shows very little effort being made toward securing new grants and donations.

Schoen-Clark may have been difficult to work with but both she and interim CEO, Pattie Gouveia are seasoned and accomplished grant writers. Schoen-Clark expanded ORCCA services from $4 million to $10 million annually during her tenure and Gouveia brought in $3 million in grants during her four years as director of essential services. ORRCA’s board passed over Gouveia for the permanent position and instead brought in Lehman who had no prior experience running an organization like ORCCA and no grant writing skills to take the helm last February. Lehman who is currently paid $80,000 per year plus benefits just interviewed a grant writer flown out from Arizona at a cost to the agency of $1,172.53, and hired her at $3,450 per month to fill the experience gap.

Internal Upheaval and Ethical Concerns

Before starting with ORCCA Lehman was Human Resources Director for Coos County. Several county staff disclosed to this author discomfort with his management style and questioned both his competence and ethics and were relieved to see him leave. An email between Lehman and HR Director Carol Douglas agreeing to remove complaints filed by staff from her own personnel file may again raise ethical questions.

DOUGLAS: Mike, attached are the write up’s I received from Pattie Gouveia and other’s help, that I feel were very inappropriate in the fact that I think Pattie was trying to fire me. I would like to see these write up’s removed from my file within a 6 month time which would be about 8-4-13.
With each write up I attached my response that I had Susannah sign for as she was my supervisor at that time.
Please advise.
Carol A. Douglas
LEHMAN: I see no problem with that, remind me and I will send you an email at that time removing them.

Douglas_Lehman_write_up

Douglas records some of her time as an assistant to Lehman and he relies on her for advice, once even asking her to explain whether or not a “trial balance” would be useful*, calling in to question who is really running the agency.  The special treatment afforded to one employee combined with recent layoffs, new hires and raises for SCFS staff despite budget deficits challenges Lehman’s assertion and by virtue of their silence, the board’s assertion as well, that questions about ORCCA’s fiscal and organizational health are “much ado about nothing.”

Can ORCCA and South Coast Food Share survive? So far, the board of directors have chosen to take a passive role and are not responding to requests for information.

*Douglas advised Lehman a trial balance wasn’t necessary.

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About magix

Avatar of magix When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.

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24 Responses to "Can South Coast Food Share survive?"

  1. Avatar of aghast!
    aghast!  July 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Wish you would look into the airport too, Lehman is on the board

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  July 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      The airport would require an entire team of bloggers and not just because Lehman is on the board.

      Reply
  2. susanp  July 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    OK Robert Bob Main – I know that you read this site. Will you assure the people that the county personnel books are not cooked.

    Also, I look forward to a similar write up in the local garbage can liner. Maybe tomorrow. Remember that Precourt promised us all the news fit to print. And, if you look closely at his wording you will see that all news is subjective and he will determine what is news to be printed.

    And, Mr. Lehman, we knew if we waited long enough the expensive crappy shingles on the new terminal building that was not required would be matched by similar crappy tiles on the control tower. We must wait no longer.

    Reply
  3. Beattle Juice  July 15, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Lehman has lied, is this a surprise to anyone? The favoritism and special treatment between Carol Douglas HR and Mike Lehman ED violates the code of honesty and integrity. How can any staff trust Douglas given her position and the direct influence she has over staff and decisions they make. Leaves more questions is Douglas the mole for Lehman? Is Douglas listening to personal confidential disclosures from staff and relaying this confidential information to Lehman. Staff at ORCCA should be careful when thinking they are disclosing confidential information to Douglas because really is it? Douglas was on the panel that hired Lehman and Douglas and Lehman have known each other since school, in my opinion that should have been a conflict of interest and Douglas should not have been on the panel, that directly influences the hiring decision.

    Reply
  4. Gloria  July 16, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Did anyone consider the board works with the information they are given..

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  July 16, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      Understood, but surely the board has the authority to demand more detail or set deadlines, etc…

      Reply
    • Mother Teresa  July 16, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      I’m guessing the information the board is given to work with isn’t much since the finance director has no idea how to even run a trial balance or close the books. The Essential services director rides the coat tails of others, and the ED has no idea how a nonprofit works. If the board can’t rely on these people then replace them. In the end the board will be responsible for not stepping in. Do it before it is to late.

      Reply
  5. beattle juice  July 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Is it not the responsibility of the board to question the validity of the information that is provided by Lehman the ED to them. Is it not the responsibility of the Board to insure the operations of ORCCA are sound? In the light of the ever changing budge, the continued disrespect that is shown to the board by Lehman, the board put a hiring and wage freeze on and Lehman ignored the board decision and moved forward anyway. John M is in the position of the Essential Services Director after the board voiced their concerns and took the position of not waiting him put in that position.

    Reply
    • Mother Teresa  July 16, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      The problem is that under qualified egotistic people are given positions because they are great a– kissers not because they know what they are doing.

      The only way things will change there are if the board takes control and stops believing all of the lies they are told. They need to get rid of all the dishonest people that work there.

      I wonder what else Mike and Carol have removed from files? I wouldn’t be surprised if the next blog you post had an email from John asking for his file to be cleaned out.

      It’s hard to believe that people like this run a 10 million dollar organization. No wonder it is going under.

      OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW.

      Reply
  6. Coosbayb  July 17, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    ORCCA’s current situation is interesting reading. Did the ORCCA Board learn nothing from their last whirlwind of publicity? Can’t comment to this writer? Really? It appears that the ORCCA Board has surrounded itself with incompetence. So the question is what will they do about it? Lehman has claimed that he was hired to bring stability to the organization; I hope no one believes that what is going on is a picture of stability. But the Board has bought his lies and conceit and now we learn that the HR director is getting special treatment; who else is? And what is going to be done about it? Any organization worth it’s salt would fire the individuals involved in that email. How can employees at ORCCA now trust HR and the ED after such blatant special and unethical treatment. But once again, the Board does not focus on the management and financial issues at hand. Bottom line, the Board is responsible for this fiasco and you should be ashamed of making the same mistakes twice. Maybe the Board needs to take a hike with Lehman and Douglas.

    Reply
    • Avatar of aghast!
      aghast!  July 17, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      Lehman has pulled this crap since high school. If the board is a pushover all the better for him

      Reply
  7. Mother Teresa  July 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    Has the Board responded to any of this? My guess is that they haven’t and probably never will.

    Reply
    • Avatar of magix
      magix  July 17, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      If the board’s inaction when The World was picking on the Food Bank is any example, they will bury their head in the sand again and hope everything goes away. Unfortunately for them, the Edward Snowden of ORCCA has already left the building with enough data to keep this blog busy for quite awhile.

      Reply
  8. Beattle Juice  July 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    indeed and I agree the board must not have learned anything from the whirlwind of publicity. Carol Douglas is still in her HR position, why? Douglas has violate the basic code of moral ethics. Douglas has direct access to her own personnel file, that right there should be a red flag to the ORCCA Board. The Board has the opportunity to do the right thing here. Will they? The board has the authority to mandatory order Lehman to fire Douglas and in turn the board needs to fire Lehman. Why has this not happened? Is the board afraid of Lehman? Could it be because Douglas is the mole for Lehman? Douglas and Lehman has known each since school. Douglas was on the hiring panel and she has direct input on the hiring. This is a conflict of interest and Douglas should have removed herself.

    Reply
  9. Gloria  July 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Are you referring to the boards as a whole Beattle Juice? I am sure there are some members who have supported the staff and been loyal to ORCCA. I know there are many new members on the board who are working on change.

    Reply
  10. Beattle Juice  July 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Gloria I have no doubt that at least one member of the ORCCA board has been supportive of staff and loyal to ORCCA through all the past and present turmoil. However, the ORCCA board operates as a whole and should be united together. That is not the case, board members should never be or feel intimidated by other board members to ultimately gain the motion that they wish. Do you agree?

    Reply
  11. Rickey  July 19, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Who owns the property that third campus sets on?
    When was the last complete audit of their books?

    Reply
  12. Beattle Juice  July 19, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Ricky the property that the ORCCA Campus and Food Bank sits on is owned by the Jensen Family Trust. Also none of the land lease payments are applied to the purchase price. This is something ORCCA never should have agreed on. When Mrs. Jensen passes away then the terms of the agreement start, which is ORCCA has 10 years to pay $980,000 pretty close to 1 million dollars to the trust or lose the property. Ms. Jensen died June 2013. The last audit performed was for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. Anything else you wish to know?

    Reply
  13. Mother Teresa  July 19, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    What do you mean by “the third campus”?

    Reply
  14. Armywife  July 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Having recently received energy assistance and speaking with the wonderful young man assisting our veterans who referred my husband to many local resources for dealing with his PTSD, I sincerely hope that the alleged incidents do not affect those obviously passionate about what they do. We were treated with an unmatched level of respect and my husband has since contacted resources referred to him he never knew existed. Thank you to those that assisted for all that you do.

    Reply
    • Coosbayb  July 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      Armywife, you bring up the reason why ORCCA is so vital to the community; it is unmatched in the services it provides. That is why it is so important that the ED and Board assure the community that the organization is stable and performs it’s duties using the highest ethical codes. Rumor has it that the very person who assisted you is in danger of losing his job because he has spoken out about the mismanagement, favoritism and unethical conduct occurring at ORCCA. The Board needs to know that these people need to be protected and those flaunting their authority need to go.

      Reply
  15. Gloria  July 22, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    I do agree Beattle Juice.. dealing with bullies is never appropriate anywhere.. loyalty to ORCCA is nice to hear though..

    Reply
  16. Mother Teresa  July 22, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Coobayb, You are so right when you use the terms mismanagement, favoritism, and unethical conduct. An example of this is the “Acting ES Director”. Since he has been in this position he has systematically fired people. All of the people that have been fired are ones that have stood in his way or questioned him. The fact that he is the Acting ES Director is just another example of favoritism. Mike, Carol, and Marcia came up with this title because he could not be given the position since he did not meet the qualifications. In stead of doing the right thing and taking the position back they decided this was a way to get around the problem. This position was also not posted before given to him which is a clear violation of ORCCA policy. Once, again HR conveniently forgot about the internal posting policy. Then when people started to complain and the policy was printed and given to Mike he decided that he did something wrong. He told John that he couldn’t be the ES Director. So, all for show they held interviews for interested staff. One person came forward other than John to interview. I am certain that people that were qualified didn’t apply because John has made it clear and was quoted in a staff meeting as saying “anyone who goes behind my back will be dealt with”. The one person who did was given their walking papers days after. Hmmmm is this just a coincidence or a clear example of John flaunting his authority?!

    Reply
  17. Beatle Juice  July 22, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    I agree the mismanagement, favoritism and unethical conduct is now the norm at ORCCA. Lehman violated the ORCCA policy and increased John M. wage and named him as the essential services director. Carol Douglas Human Resources had a responsibility to make sure polices are not violated she did nothing. She needs to be fired. The interview process for the Essential Service Director position was a joke as it was just for show as favoritism was given towards John M. If neither John or the other internal applicant did not have the qualifications to fill the position why did the hiring committee decide to change title? Lehman, Carol Douglas and Marcia were on the interview panel. Could it be Lehman convinced the panel he wanted John for the position and not the other applicant. Could it be that Carol Douglas wanted John also for the position. Carol has a direct conflict of interest and should not have been on the panel as she was a personal reference for John, Lehman had a conflict of interest as he also wanted John for the position. Shame Shame on the ORCCA board for allowing this favoritism to continue.

    Reply

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