Monday, May 23, 2011
CFN would like to thank the outgoing DAA President John Bernard and his administration for their work within the Douglass alumni during the last 2 years.
It has not been an easy task keeping up with and publishing all of the issues and events members, the community and the public at large care to read about.
But being a small publication having more passion than people employed to work makes our jobs tough, the hours long and fulfilling. Our efforts will continue and we look forward to seeing improved Douglass alumni.
Over the last 2 years we have found that Douglass is filled with good, honest, church going people. We have been impressed with what we believe to be the proper direction that the DAA wishes to go.
We have not been impressed with the transparency in which the DAA operates. Members have a right to know details of all areas of operations that this alumni is involved in. That is not up for a majority vote.
The DAA during the month of December 2010 voted not to have a financial audit conducted after some members wanted clarification for a $40,000 discrepancy regarding fundraising dollars as reported then retracted to the Internal Revenue Service on IRS form 990.
It was thought that the audit would quell suspicions relating to possible financial improprieties.
To operate under a veil of secrecy was not the intent of the IRS when establishing 501(c)3 exempt organizations. Yet this seemed to have been normal business operations for the Douglass alumni.
While the organization makes some decisions in executive meetings, major decisions are made on the floor during general membership meetings. Committee Chairpersons rarely report activities from their committees. And if so, anything coming out of committee could very easily be overturned by a majority on the floor. Hence, what are the committee Chair’s roles within the DAA?
A voting majority can nullify recommendations and suggestions from committee chairs during monthly membership meetings.
Another area of great concern is the timeliness of its financial reporting. Any business owner that uses QuickBooks knows how easy it is to run a wide range of reports all within a few clicks of a mouse button.
While the John Bernard administration promised CFN a 2011 Scholarship Gala report, (its largest fundraising event of the year) 8 weeks later we have yet to receive that report and now Bernard is out. How convenient.
Yet, during this time his administration found the time to host yet another fundraising event. The Old School vs. New School Basketball game held at the Douglass High Gym.
To say the least, financial reporting has at best been sloppy and just in time for new elections. It’s almost as if the outgoing president gets to raise thousands of dollars just prior to leaving office but happens to be sloppy on providing financial reporting in a timely manner.
It is totally inconceivable as to why this report could not have been issued in a more timely manner given the months of criticism Bernard received relating to DAA’s financial operations and the speed at which financial reports can be generated with today’s software.
And to those that ask, “What difference does it make,” it makes all the difference in the world. Business is business tax-exempt or not.
While Bernard, having been defeated by a whopping 108 to 39 votes by Renwick Smith Class of 72, one can only suspect it was due in part to his administrations inability to maintain tight controls, respond positively to the membership and provide timely financial and accurate reporting.
The fact that resignations plagued his administration from key positions did not help Bernard either.
We hope to see a big improvement in the manner in which this organization responds to its members regarding financial responsibility and accountability.
CFN not only sends a warm thank you to the Bernard administration, but to all of those alumni members that continue to work on behalf of what they believe to be OUR best interest, those young people that will lead us into tomorrow.
James Yates Jr.
Douglass Class of 1981 back to home