Former Employee, Political Hopefuls, Continue to misrepresent Softball Issue.
Jackson Girls Recreation Softball, rumors put to rest.
Claims continued Tuesday night that the recreation department had "misappropriated" funds, despite the findings of the members of the CBAC who concluded that all monies related to sponsorship of girls recreation softball teams were present or accounted for and that all expenditures were in compliance with the ordinance that authorized such sponsorship.
Former program director Bonnie Barrington reaffirmed her claim that monies were "misappropriated" by being used for expenses outside the scope of the sponsorship program. Specifically, she believed "sponsorship monies were not to be used to purchase anything registration fees went for". To substantiate this claim she referenced the 'sponsorship letter' provided to potential sponsors, which we have been made to understand was penned by Barrington while employed by the township. She recently submitted this letter to our publication which reads as follows:
On behalf of the Township of Jackson Recreation Department, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to become a proud sponsor of the Township of Jackson Recreation Programs. The Township of Jackson Recreation Sponsorship Program offers local businesses, such as yours, the following opportunities to support sports programs for the children of Jackson in a highly visible way.
Our first, and best sponsorship opportunity includes having your business name and logo proudly displayed on a customized banner on one of the fences at either the Bartley or Justice Complex Field Fences for 1 year; and also includes being a named sponsor on the back of 1 of the Girls Softball team uniforms.
Our second sponsorship opportunity is to be a Uniform Sponsor for either Girls Softball or Basketball only. The description and cost of these sponsorships are listed below.
• COMBINED GIRLS SOFTBALL BANNER AND UNIFORM SPONSORSHIP- $400 – We will professionally design your banner with your Business name and logo. Your banner will be prominently displayed for 1 year on one of the Jackson Township field fences. The Township will also list your business as the sole sponsor of 1 of our Girls Softball teams on the back of the specific team uniforms.
• SOFTBALL OR BASKETBALL UNIFORM SPONSOR -$250.00 - The Township will list your business as the sole sponsor of 1 of our Girls Softball teams on the back of the specific team uniforms.
However Ordinance 29-11 Specifically states:
The Director of Recreation and Senior Services may determine that the Township pursue specified sponsorships to support Department activities.
The Ordinance does not allocate sponsorship finds for any purpose, other than the support of department activities. There is also nothing restricting the funds from being used to purchase shirts or any other item, contrary to Barrington's claim.
Barrington also took exception that no investigation was made with respect to the prior claims of misappropriation by program coach Tony Beja. When speaking to Beja he expressed dismay that Barrington and resident Ray Cattonar had failed to portray the full scope of his statement. We received this detailed accounting of the events as a media statement from Beja:
Please let me start off with some past history, I am by profession an auditor. As a parent and coach with two daughters involved in the program, I first started to look at the overall shortcomings of the GS Program in 2007 to 2009. In addition to the girls having less than adequate playing facilities and equipment compared to other sports programs in town, I took it up on myself to explore ways to improve the quality of the program. In around 2008-2009 one of the components I reviewed were the GS income and expenses documents which I received through several OPRA requests. After careful review, I was quite surprised to see what I deemed to be inappropriate and unrelated charges that were billed to the girls softball program. I wanted to know why some of these charges that were billed to Girls Softball included, billings for teen dances, basketball, concerts in the park, food & supplies for the concession stand, maintenance tools like wheelbarrows, etc., and other non-related GS charges.
I then met with township’s CFO and it was thoroughly explained to me that during the Seda administration it was his policy to place all of the collected recreation program registration monies/fees, for every program, into a single recreation trust account. Each program’s expenses would then be paid out from this one single account. As you may not know that in the middle of all this, Mayor Seda resigned and I was back to square one.
Fast forward..After Mayor Reina had been in office for only a few months, I brought all these issues directly to the attention of Mayor Reina and every single member of the council for discussion. After many discussions with all concerned, Mayor Reina immediately understood that there was no reason for this illogical billing protocol and immediately took action by directing the Finance department to create separate trust funds accounts for each program and to separately record and pay out the expenses for each individual program. As a result, all the prior billings were properly re-categorized and the funds were re-allocated to each respective program. By doing this each program including GS was made 100% whole again. Since then each program follows this new standalone billing methodology -and there has been no billing issues since that time. You should know that every year I keep a close watch over the girls softball program trust accounts and their income and expenses -and have not identified a single issue with the GS trust fund accounts since then.
With regard to the allegations made by Ms. Barrington in late April, I reviewed all the Sponsorship Program documents, ordinance and the income/expenses (trust fund account #848) . My analysis revealed that there was absolutely no truth whatsoever to Ms. Barrington’s unsupported accusations, everything was properly accounted for and in-line. Tuesday’s council meeting regarding the CABC report, only supports my preliminary findings.
My reason for bringing this to your attention is simple, I believe that the actions by Ms. Barrington and her supporters is solely a political and vindictive “witch hunt” that has continued to cause harm to the 300 young ladies, hundreds of parents, coaches, the mayor and many township officials that are trying their best to provide a program that teaches character, morals and good sportsmanship. If any of these current allegations were remotely true, believe me I would be more that 100% on board, no question…ask anybody who knows me. Conversely these current allegations of misappropriations by a disgruntled ex-township employee are simply not true.
It’s just incomprehensible to me how some people have no regard for these young ladies and will do anything regardless of collateral damage, just to advance their own self-serving agendas.
As you can tell I’m not a big fan of anyone who lies and tries to give the girls and the program a black eye… Mixing backdoor politics and the upcoming council election with the well-being of the girls.. will always get my attention. I just won’t standby and do nothing about this kind of nonsense.
I hope this helps you to gain a better understanding of my concerns.
Given this statement it i shard to understand how anyone could make the claims that have been presented. It is clear that the events referenced by Beja transpired under a former administration, that it was an accounting process and no monies were missing, and that the accounting process was changed under Mayor Reina to better detail the cost of each program. - Jackson Record Staff Report