Laurel Boys and Girls Club president responds to City Council candidate's remarks at forum

October 26, 2011

Recently the Laurel Board of Trade hosted a meet-and-greet session with the candidates for city of Laurel. During that meeting Council President Mike Leszcz who is running for candidate-at-large defended the mayor and city of Laurel Council's position for nonsupport of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club by stating that the club needs to conduct independent audits and additionally the mayor and city of Laurel Council is concerned about where the more than a million dollars in grants have went for the renovations of the club.

As president of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club I am compelled to respond to these serious allegations against the club as allegations coming from a group such as the mayor and City Council could have a serious negative impact on the club, a club that provides services for countless families and youths.

Council President Mike Leszcz misspoke as the Laurel Boys and Girls Club does conduct independent audits and have done so since its inception in 1954. Additionally the grant that he refers to is a bond bill, that is used for the renovations of the club and those funds are held by the Maryland State Comptroller's office and is managed by the Capital Administration and Finance Office. All funds expended must be approved by Maryland State Comptroller's office.

So many depend on the existence of this club to conduct their programs such as: St. Mary of the Mills, Pallotti, Laurel High School PTA, Eisenhower, CYO, Laurel Friendship Senior Club, Alpha Kappa Sorority, Chesapeake Charter School, Princeton Day Academy, Laurel Soccer Club, Laurel Little League, New Life Church, Faith AME Church, Crossroads Church, Laurel Youth Betterment, High School Development Program, Laurel Chess Club, etc.

Instead of misstatements about the club, I would encourage the mayor and City Council's office to send plumbers, electricians, carpenters and police officers (mentor our youths) to the club to help the club in providing affordable childcare, after-school programs during out of school time.

Become our partners as your other counterparts have, such as: Maryland National Park and Planning, Councilwoman Mary Lehman, Commonweal Foundation, UPS Foundation, Bank of America, Senator Rosapepe and 21st Delegation, Howard County government, Prince George's County government, Ann Arundel County government, Southern Management, Fort Meade soldiers, Prince George's Community Foundation, PNC Bank and most of all our greater Laurel area community.

Special thanks to all that volunteer at the club, for we are truly blessed.

Levet Brown

President LB&GC

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