Member of the city council: optional financing of 1% is always possible for Personal Frontiers

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The city’s optional 1% funding could still hit the books of Personal Frontiers Inc. if they implement financial policies to protect it, a city council member said Tuesday.

Personal Frontiers, a local nonprofit drug and alcohol treatment organization, requested $44,000 in optional one percent sales tax funding for its next fiscal year, a request that represented an increase $7,000 over approved funding from the previous year they said would be used to offset treatment costs for clients who could not afford services, according to an agency funding application submitted to the City of Gillette .

Those dollars were ultimately withheld, with the board raising questions about the organization’s lack of financial oversight that allowed former Personal Frontiers director Donna Morgan to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization while that she worked there, who recently pleaded guilty and was ordered to repay nearly $250,000. .

At the June 7 regular council meeting, Councilwoman Tricia Simonson clarified the denial that had been set out in a letter to Personal Frontiers in early May 2022, stating that the denial was only temporary and could be reconsidered s they were making changes to prevent future thefts.

“When Personal Frontiers first came along, we asked that they make some changes and that the money wasn’t going to be turned down completely and we could come back to it later,” Simonson said.

Kay Guire, acting executive director of Personal Frontiers, however, told the meeting that the letter she received on May 9, 2022 lacked guidance on the changes specifically needed for her organization to be reconsidered for funding.

— Advertising – The story continues below —

Suggested changes were presented at the agency’s funding application hearing in April 2022, where former Personal Frontiers executive Sherry Bertoncelj and Guire disclosed Morgan’s actions and the nature of the funds raised.

Donna Morgan (Campbell County Detention Center)

Morgan first started with payday advances, which Personal Frontiers authorizes in emergency situations that would otherwise prevent employees from getting to work, which it regularly repays with payroll deductions, according to Bertoncelj.

His other withdrawals using the organization’s debit card should have been reviewed by the board, but weren’t because Morgan was able to circumvent Personal Frontier’s policy of taking the money and hiding what she was doing, Bertoncelj said.

Morgan stole $247,790 from the organization during her tenure as executive director and repaid $92,019, leaving a balance owing of $155,771, according to Bertoncelj, who said Personal Frontiers had no debt on its books as of due to Morgan’s actions, although the loss of funds led to program cuts.

“I can assure the council and all other funders that none of the monies raised involved grant funds,” Bertoncelj said in April. “The sums withdrawn came from the payment fees of private customers.”

— Advertising – The story continues below —

She assured the council that the organization’s board was actively taking steps to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future, however, concerns were raised by the council and city administrator Hyun. Kim regarding the lack of financial oversight at Personal Frontiers that allowed Morgan to commit thefts.

At the time of the hearing, Simonson said that taxpayers’ money is a gift to the organization that receives it from every citizen who pays taxes and that it is important that state-funded entities are good stewards of this funding.

Kim, in response to a confirmation that Person Frontiers still allows payday advances for employees during the hearing, said they would benefit from changing or removing any policy allowing them.

Bertoncelj said many policy changes are currently under consideration, including exporting the organization’s accounting to a professional and the review and approval of bank statements by the board of directors during its meetings. .

At the June 7 board meeting, Kim said the board had offered an approximate six-month timeline to see Personal Frontiers implement adequate financial controls to rectify its situation and an independent third-party audit.

Comments are closed.