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August 26, 2011     Cape Gazette
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August 26, 2011
 

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8 FRIDAY, AUGUST 26- MONDAY, AUGUST 29. 2011 VIEWPOINTS Letters )) tions for your own self-endeavor Cape Gazette website as an audit. The t~easur- ers failed in their duties td obtain tured Home Owners Association Continued from page 7 taxpayers under $9,000. It sounds like good fiscal sense to me. Included in this year's budget have been monthly dinners reim- bursed for Mayor Newlands and Councilman Lester, an issue the two clamored on regarding the prior town manager's expense re- port. If you had conducted month- ly expense and revenue reports, perhaps you would have noticed that many of your line items were in a negative by July 21 of this year. That should have been the first sign to "stop spending like drunk- en sailors," a quote Councilman Lester often used toward my ad- ministration. Mayor Newlands and Council- man Lester, you should be ashamed ofyour fiscal report pro- vided to council and not to the public. Your budget transaction audit trail report released to coun- cil July 21 reflected an excessive amount of voided checks in addi- tion to reversed and reclassified entries. Included were several re- imbursements from vendors who were overpaid, and even town ac- crued late fee payments. Council- man Lester, I thought you were going to improve the fiscal man- agemem of the town, not make it worse. What are we getting by paying thousands of dollars to these out-of-state auditors? Re- suits have been unfound accusa- Bobbie refused the offer to pay to Barefootin' Continued from page 7 Baker. "Our oldest retiree is 106. She retired in 1967. "So you can see our financial report is very strong. But the credit agencies are looking at more than that. They want to see a more diverse economy in Sussex. We're strong in agricul- ture and tourism, but they would like to see more manufacturing. When they come to town, we take them to the Boardwalk, show them the beaches, try to give them an overall feel for Sus- sex County. We talked to our fi- nancial adviser and tried to pitch for the triple-A rating, but they tell us the same thing every time and that this is consistent with elsewhere in the country." The higher the credit rating, the lower the interest rate charged when the county bor- rows money for projects. "It's not a huge difference between triple A and double A plus," said Baker, "and our financial advis- ers say they never have any trou- ble selling our bonds. But there is a difference. It's very impor- tant to people investing in these bonds. They want to be confi- dent they're going to be repaid." Here's how one agency, on its website, distills its rrn ,sion: "Standard and Poor's ratings ex- press the agency's opinion about the ability and willingness of an issuer, such as a corporation or state or city government, to meet its financial obligations in at the expense of Milton taxpay- because of concerns over the way send her to learn the QuickBook ers. that DMHOA is conducting its op- Mayor Newlands and Council- erations and the lack of trans- man Lester, it has been nearly two parency in its finances. Attempts years of fiscal outcome results to address these concerns with the based on your oversight. If we president have been and continue didn't have numerous staff vacan- to be ignored. We feel that this re- cies, we would have easily had an- fusal to engage in open discussion other $200,000 in deficits, added leaves us with no choice but to re- to the current $350,000 town debt; sign our positions to protect our this means that the town would personal integrity. have been over half a million dol- That being said, the issues con- lars in debt. Also during my ad- cerning manufactured homes on ministration we paid off a state leased land are real and urgent loan that exceeded $500,000 (cash and are not going away. For that reserves), which would have easi- reason we intend to continue ad- ly added another $50,000 to this vocating for manufactured home year's budget in an annual repay- owners, but no longer under the ment. Instead, because of your aegis of DMHOA. We hope that inattentive actions, you believe you, the elected lawmakers of property owners and renters Delaware, understand our posi- should be forced to pay for your tion and continue to work in a bi- shortcomings. I suggest getting partisan way to seek solutions to up in the morning, taking a look in the plight of manufactured home the mirror and practice saying owners on leased land. "This is all my fault." We will be contacting you Don Post through the fall to bring the issues, Milton as we understand them, to your attention, andto seek your advice DMlt0A representatives on ways to fairly protect the inter- ests of both the homeowners and explain position the land owners in the state of The following letter was sent to Delaware. the members of the 146th Thank you in advance for your Delaware General Assembly with help in working through the is- a copy submitted to the Cape sues. Gazette for publication. John 6. Walsh We, the undersigned elected of- resigned vice president ricers and appointed committee Roberta Hemmerich persons, have resigned our posi- resigned co-treasurer tions in the Delaware Manufac- Nell S. Dickerson Sr. resigned co-treasurer, grant writer Albert C, Burns Jr, full and on time." resigned grant writer Dave Baker is leaving Sussex Jill Fuchs County in excellent financial resigned board member, chairwoman health. You won't hear him Kent County Committee grumbling about anything, but Ellen Orrell for a man who takes pride in resigned DMHOA activities chair- Sussex County's prudent and woman strong finances, you can be sure Richard E. Maly that missing that elusive triple-A resigned webmaster rating comes as close to rankling him as anything ever will. DMHOA officers explain Give Beulah a beep financial history Dale Dunning's original Jusst Your paper recently published Sooup ministry RV Beulah an article and some letters to the seems a little forlorn in her fa- editor with regards to the miliar parking place by the rail- Delaware Manufactured Home road tracks in downtown Nas- Owners Association. Our execu- san. With all the focus and at- tive board would like to respond tention on the Extreme to the allegations made by authors Makeover project, Beulah's feel- of the letters and people quoted in ing a little neglected. If you the article. Anyone wishing to see drive by, honk your horn and let documentation mentioned in our her know she's done a good job responsemay contact us to sched- feeding the sheep, ule an appointment, 645-9886. Thank you for allowing the pub- lic to hear the other side. Nine species offish, one day The following issues have been I fished last Sunday with Steve brought up regarding DMHOA. Seyfried of Rehoboth Summer This is our joint response as the Children's Theatre. Aboard Nel- executive board: lie Lankford, we dropped 1. DMHOA has been accused of chopped clams on the Star reef improper record-keeping. Our re- sites -a few miles off Roosevelt sponse to this is that DMHOA Inlet and then fished between started out as a grassroots organi- the point and the inner wall at zation, with a few volunteers and Cape Henlopen. The biggest very little money. The president fish we caught was a two-pound trusted the people who worked croaker, but I was amazed that in with him and left the recordkeep- four hours we pulled in nine dif- ing to the treasurer, Bobble Hem- merich. It became obvious that ferent species of fish including tighter control was needed and croaker, kingfish, flounder, sea that led to obtaining an office site trout, bluefish, oyster cracker, in 2008 to conduct more of the dogfish, sea bass and spot. Five business out of, instead of the were big enough to take home, president's home. Our bookkeep- fry up and eat. Tasty. ing had to be brought up to date. program we purchased to put our records on computer for trans- parency, IRS requirements and grants which also require an audit. A member of the grant committee said he could transfer her records to the program. He became the co-treasurer, and he and the other treasurer were to prepare our fi- nancial records and obtain a real audit which had been requested for years. Despite the original treasurer's insistence that her records were impeccable, there were inconsis- tencies, improper recording, and incorrect entries, as well as lack of proper detail regarding receipts. The board requested the treasurer bring into the office all the records she had kept in her home and the checkbook. The board also ap- proved a new method to pay reim- bursements for expenses that were to document properly the expenditures when properly au- thorized by the president. The president was not to presign any more checks. The treasurer re- fused to return the records and checkbook until about a week ago, when she Finally turned them in. It still appears that all records have not been returned. The entire behavior of both treasurers has not been acceptable during this time. Our new interim treasurer is going over the records now. New procedures will be im- plemented so any treasurer of DMHOA will be completely ac- countable to the board and the membership. 2. We have been accused of withholding financial information. including an "audit" that was ob- tained by the co-treasurers. Fact - Our president and execu- tive board had been attempting to have an audit done for years. This assigmnent was given to the two treasurers since it was their re- sponsibility to conduct financial matters. Co-treasurer Nell Dicker- son obtained the services of a CPA. Ken Godwin in Newark. When this "audit" was completed, it took weeks to have it brought to the board. The board saw what was presented and the treasurers' answers to the CPA problems with the records and did not agree that this was the audit we had re- quested. Their answers to the questions the first CPA listed in his compilation were not dis- cussed at a board meeting, be- cause we refused to accept it as an audit. It was a compilation of the checkbook for one year's period. The treasurers kept stating it was an audit. They fm~ly admitted July 14, on tape, that it is not an audit. The president and acting treasurer have now been to a new CPA in Sussex County and are in the audit we had been reqpestmg. That was their responsibility .To settle the issue, the presid acting Treasurer Chuck R ki brought the old CPA G, documents to CPA Terrei Johnson, who has said Go provided the worked reqt but that it was not an and! will post the real audit as it is completed. We have I to hide. 3. Accusations regardin FIOS/phone bill. DMHO~ worked from the presider for approximately eight y, have the same phone fror ginning and kept it becau: contacts had it as DMHO phone nurnber. Becanse~ unable to fred volunteers the office and the phone t every day, the original cir, stance was kept because t dent should be available t one 24/7 and he is throug home/office phone numb( cause of bundling of FIO5 ternet, to get the best pric TV was part of the bill. ~I dent made reimbursemer to DMHOA for the TV p( the bill. He requested an ing of anything he owed c missed payments from th( urer so he could be totalt date; this has never been him and since we did not records, we were unable any additional payments "0 needed. The president to unbundle the account a ,.nt and )lodjes- dwin ze lwin ~sted, :.We oon as athing 's home ars. We the be- e all k'S re were 0 man rare uirl- te presi- , every- the r. Be- and in- '., the ~e presi- checks :tion of ccount- lany treas- up to iven to rove the ) see if gere s asked ad has been working with Veriz( a to ac- complish this. In the me2 1time he has copies of the reimbur ement checks he paid to DMHO ~. There has been a deliberate atte apt to misrepresent the facts, bu~ the president has copies to prbve his statement. The remaining board st}rods firmly behind the president. Mis- takes that were made earl} in DMHOA's histo@ were tl e result of misplaced trust in peol~le. The president has made every[ effort to comply with the requests [for changes in procedures an countability. That same e: not been made by the co- ers. It is believed that wit] ance to change as exhibit, certain former members q board no longer an issue, Mll come back even strol fight for everyone who lix manufactured housing or land. Our power does not to any faction; it belongs members of the associati( We would also like to the appointments by the 1 of Chuck Kolodjesld as in treasurer and Dixie Boucl terim vice president. Ron has been appointed a me1 [ ac- brt has reasur- resist- dby fthe )MHOA ger to es in rented belong ) the 11. mounce resident .'rim er as in- Mnadio ber of the process of obtaining the com- the executive board. The~ plete audit as we wanted. The two remaining open posil new CPA has stated what had been done before was not an au- dit. The reason for delay in our re- sponding was because the treasur- ers had all the records, receipts, statements and checkbook and re- fused to return DMHOA papers to the organization. Simply stated, anyone is and always has been al- lowed to see their so-called audit, but since it is only a limited com- pilation and not full financial dis- closure we would not put it on the the executive board. Any( ested in being interviewe contact the DMHOA offi( 9886, and leave a name m be~e-- elections will be ir ber. Every officer positio open. For anyone interes running for any position, will a sign-up sheet at the ings. We will continue to Continued ( .' are ons on ne inter- should e, 645- :t num- Decem- Lis edin here meet- stand n page 9