Club Failure Hurts Kids

Readers write

January 26, 1992

From: Charles R. McGough

Former director

Harford County Boys & Girls Club Inc.

I'd like to make a few observations in response to the The Harford County Sun article, "Directors hope to revive troubled Boys and Girls Club," Jan. 5, regarding the board requesting my resignation as the executive director of the Harford County Boys & Girls Club.

In March 1990, the national BoysClub organization spoke to me concerning the great opportunity that existed for me as executive director of the newly formed Harford County Boys & Girls Club. Because I had been involved in the Boys and Girls Club movement for 23 years, they felt that this was an excellent opportunity for me to establish and develop a new club and build a community facility.

I had reservations concerning the financial stability of this new organization but trusted national's judgment that the "money was there" and accepted the position in good faith.

I began questioning my decision when board member Evelyn Becker stated to my wife on June 21, 1990, "Don't buy a house, I'm not sure how stablethis organization is going to be."

One thing to keep in mind: Theclub is no way affiliated with or connected to or directed by the town of Aberdeen or the town commissioners. Town commissioners George Englesson, Ruth Elliott, Ron Kupferman, and Evelyn Becker were electedto the club's board of directors in 1989. The involvement of the commissioners on the board of directors is not automatic.

The board of directors' bylaws of the Harford County Boys & Girls Club states: "To provide the funds necessary to carry out the mission of the corporation, and to authorize an adequate budget."

My understanding of aexecutive director responsibility is that I carry out the day-to-dayoperation of the business. Board members' understanding of these tworesponsibilities has been a major problem of this organization.

The board of directors was naive enough to believe that the agency could be financed solely on corporate and foundation grants and fund-raising activities. Their belief was that this endeavor to secure funds was the sole responsibility of the executive director.

In September 1990, I began submitting proposals, only to discover that because of the economy, many foundations and corporations were not funding the1991 program year.

As executive director, I have been directly involved in the organization of the first and second Oktoberfest, firstand second Steak and Burger Dinner, and Keystone Talent Show. I organized the baseball clinics with the Ripkens and recruited 18 volunteers.

I have written 24 proposals and I'm responsible for bringing in $56,770. As executive director of the Harford County Boys & Girls Club, I feel that my involvement in fund-raising and proposal writing has been more than adequate to fulfill my responsibilities.

The failure of the board of directors to do their part in securing adequatefunding prevented me from fulfilling my responsibilities managing the day-to-day operation of the club.

Lack of funds has resulted in membership problems, quality staffing problems, program problems, agency accountability to meet credit payment such as two pay periods when not enough funding was available to cover payroll. The responsibility for securing those funds was not solely my responsibility.

On July 2, 1990, I presented to the board of directors the concept of a "Give and/or Get Policy." Each board member had the responsibility of securing $1,000 or personally donating $1,000. This policy was approved by the board in August 1990 and C. Curtis Morgan was selected chairperson.

As of my last day on the job, Dec. 13, seven of the 21 board members have fulfilled their requirements to this policy.

RuthElliott, who has been very vocal in the newspapers about her involvement in the club, has not participated in the "Give and/or Get" policy.

Although she demanded my firing, she has only attended one board meeting since 1989 and has not participated in or supported any club fund-raising effort. Board members and Aberdeen commissioners George Englesson and Ron Kupferman have not fulfilled their "Give and/or Get" responsibilities either. (Attendance records are kept according to bylaws).

The removal of the executive director from the Harford County Boys & Girls Club was in reality a political move to provide ascapegoat for the board of directors and commissioners' failure to secure resources to meet their responsibility.

As stated by Jerry Lacy, acting president of the Boys & Girls Club in the Jan. 5 article in The Harford County Sun, "The weak economy and controversy over Mr.McGough has hurt the group's ability to attract donations."

Laceyfails to state, though, that the controversy was started itself by the board members, specifically Evelyn Becker and Ruth Elliott.

In the Record (Nov. 20, 1991), Becker raised questions about my management. That interview came after the board of directors rejected 14 pages of accusations she made against me.

The Harford County Boys & Girls Club purpose was to eventually service all children in Harford County. A main headquarters facility would have provided recreational, social and educational opportunities for youth and adults.

This facility would have included a gym, swimming pool, wood shop, crafts rooms, library, and community rooms. Branches of the club would have been established throughout the county in the elementary and middle schools. All children would have had access to the main facility in addition to a variety of much-needed recreational and social activities. Cost per child: $5 a year.

This vision for the club as serving allHarford County youth will never come to fruition as long as you havea board of directors in conflict and commissioners who are unable toseparate their political agendas from the non-profit sector. My removal is not going to solve the problems that exist with the Harford County Boys & Girls Club board of directors.

The kids ultimately lose.

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