Youth Center officers resign at meeting

June 20, 2002|by TARA REILLY

HANCOCK - The chairman and the treasurer of the Hancock Youth Center's board of directors resigned their positions and walked out of Wednesday night's Town Council meeting after arguing with the council over who should control money set aside for the facility.

"The money that we make, we want," Herb Golden, chairman of the center's board of directors, told the council. "We don't want nobody else with their hands on it."

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said that if the board wanted to control the money, it would have to report to the Town Council on how it spends it.


"You got to give us an idea of what you want to do with that money," Murphy said.

"There's going to be some accountability," Town Manager Lou Close said.

Councilman David Smith said he didn't have a problem with the board having authority over how to use money it raises through fund-raisers, but said it shouldn't have sole control over any tax dollars allocated for the center.

Golden said he agreed with Smith's statement.

Smith said that no tax money has been spent on the center yet because it was running on donations and grant money.

After some discussion, the council agreed to give the center's board of directors more authority over the money, on the condition that the group pays all of the center's expenses, including rent and utilities.

Golden disagreed with the condition, and resigned from his board position. Moments later, Jim Ward, treasurer of the board of directors, followed.

"And I'm going with him," Ward said.

The two then stood up and left the meeting.

"Goodbye," Ward said as he waved to the people in the audience.

"I hate to see this happen," Councilman Darwin Williams said after the two walked out.

"The town was willing to let the board of directors manage that thing," Murphy said.

The council appointed Roger Yutzy as the new chairman.

Hancock Police Chief Donald Gossage said the role of the center's board of directors should be clarified.

Gossage played a part in getting grants to fund much of the center. The grants came from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to the Hancock Police Department. The center also received donations from residents and organizations.

The Youth Center at 56 W. Main St. opened in March. More than 100 children have participated in events there since it opened.

The discussion over control of the money sparked a debate between Hancock officials.

Before the resignations, Williams argued with Close after asking him how much tax money has been put toward the Youth Center's finances.

Williams said he didn't receive a suitable answer from Close.

"I asked you a question," Williams said.

Holding up a copy of the center's financial statement, Close responded, "Here it is. Can you read the document?"

"That's not the question I asked you," Williams said. "I asked you a question."

"I gave you an answer," Close said.

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