The board of Four-County Community Services will meet today to discuss the nonprofit’s recent audit by the state Department of Health and Human Services.
The 22-page audit found 15 of 18 allegations against Four-County to be substantiated. According to the audit, 10 of those 15 were of serious enough concern to warrant an investigation by the state auditor.
Four-County’s board of directors will meet at 6 p.m. at the Red Springs Head Start Center to discuss the audit. Part of the meeting is expected to be public.
“We’re going to be doing a work session on the internal auditor’s findings” said Jimmy Cummings, chairman of the Four-County board of directors.
Cummings added that he does not anticipate that any personnel action will be taken at the meeting.
“What we will do is look at Four-County’s policies and procedures and measure them up with some of the recommendations that were made by the internal auditor and, if we’re out of compliance or if we need to reword some things, we will do resolutions based on every one of those findings,” Cummings said.
According to the audit, both Cummings and Four-County Executive Director Richard Greene failed to follow policies that should have been in place.
Among the audit’s findings, Greene is accused of misusing his agency vehicle for personal trips and concealing a nine-year marriage to Annie Rothwell, Four-County’s fiscal manager, in violation of the agency’s nepotism policy. Cummings is accused of using agency funds for a Kindle Fire tablet and a state-owned cellphone.
“There hasn’t been any conscious wrongdoing that I have been able to see,” Cummings said. “There have been some calls made that I might have called differently, but cannot be construed as intentional wrongdoing.”
Four-County receives $21 million annually through state and federal grants to administer 16 Head Start programs as well as weatherization assistance and housing assistance funds to clients in Scotland, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Hoke, Pender, and Robeson counties.
The audit also found that Four-County has paid for several improvement projects at Sandy Grove Baptist Church in Lumberton, where the agency leases space to conduct a Head Start program. Such projects include a $9,000 repavement of the church parking lot and $13,000 to install televisions and other multimedia equipment throughout the church building.
Four-County’s contract with the church stipulates that the agency pay $1 per year and $250 in monthly maintenance for the Head Start facility. No mention is made of special projects, according to the audit.
The audit involved interviews of Four-County employees and vendors, as well as examinations of Four-County board meeting minutes from June 2009 to June 2012 and accounting records.
Four-County is also facing a civil lawsuit brought by eight Section 8 housing clients who accuse Four-County employees John Wesley and Eric Pender of threatening to withhold benefits unless the women provided sexual favors. Four-County is also listed as a defendant in the suit.
Cummings said that the board is not expected to discuss the sexual harassment lawsuit at today’s meeting.