Funding to Dorchester Seniors Inc.
In 1997, the citizens of Dorchester County approved a referendum provided up to 2 mills of the budget (App. $1M) annually to support Dorchester Seniors Center. Dorchester County Council has put those funds on automatic transfer to a private company, Dorchester Seniors Inc. with no contract designating the annual cost of operating the center. The total county unrestricted support, revenue and releases in 2010 was $1,909,607; in 2011 it was $2,021,228. This means as the budget increases, the amount sent automatically to the company also increases.
The company is provided these opportunities and privileges:
• A cover of deception: deceived the public into thinking that the private company, Dorchester Seniors Inc. is a Dorchester County government non-profit organization.
• Placing Dorchester Seniors Inc. employees in the state pension system.
• No competition for operation of the center. There is no bidding process for the job.
• The company is housed in the government’s building.
• The company determines all of the policies and practices for operating the facility; as the Executive Director responded to me on several occasions when questioned, “We are private and can do whatever we want to do.”
• The company rents sections of the property and pockets the rental income.
• The company appoints up to 14 directors to its board and council appoints seven directors. Why does council appoint any directors to the board of a private company?
• There are several high value certificates of deposit in the company’s possession; cash balance in financial institutions on June 30, 2010 was $550,036 and on June 30, 2011 the cash balance was $805,095. Why are they allowed to save funds from the referendum? I heard they were saving the money in case they had to repair the roof. Now, I am hearing that they plan to expand. Who authorized the expansion?
Councilmen Byars, Chinnis and Hearn, since you see nothing wrong with any of this, answer the questions and explain the situation to those of us with childish minds. We want to grow up.
Marvin J. Johnson, Member
Dorchester Seniors Inc Board of Directors