In Arkansas, it's continuing discord related to the M.L. King Commission, a long-simmering stew that includes an unwieldy, feuding board and various accountability issues.
Outgoing members of the commission -- now officially abolished and reconstituted by the 2009 legislature -- have fired a salvo at continuing director DuShun Scarborough for his failure to respond to financial questions. Gov. Mike Beebe is standing by him and Scarborough puts the criticism down to sour grapes of ousted commissioners. The questions for the King commission leader are reprinted on the jump.
June 29, 2009
To: The Honorable Mike Beebe
and The Press
Press Release: DuShun Scarbrough Refuses to Attend King Commission Finance Committee Meeting
A King Commission Finance Committee Meeting was called for today, June 29, 2009 but DuShun Scarbrough, the Executive Director refused to attend.
He even refused to leave any of the below mentioned financials, although he knew in advance what we needed in order to meet our fiduciary responsibilities as an Arkansas Commission.
The meeting was called for the following very important reasons:
1. The Finance Committee of the King Commission has an immense commitment to its responsibility for the use of the tax dollars of the citizens of the state of Arkansas.
2. There are many financial questions that have gone unanswered for many many months.
(These answers were solicited formerly by the King Commission on February 4, 2009.)
• Provisions of copies of contracts entered into in the name of the Commission.
• Full report of the expenses and revenues received by the staff in the name of the King Commission.
• Inconsistencies of verbal numbers given regarding fund-raising events; tickets sold and complimentary tickets, etc. for the Inaugural Ball provoked a recommendation that the format for a full, written report be that of an audit ready report (accounts receivable, accounts payable, and profit and loss statement).
• The inconsistencies of the verbal only report on the four-bus trip to the Inauguration provoked a recommendation that an audit-ready report be prepared of accounts receivable, accounts payable, and profit and loss statement with attachments to include bus passengers, rooms occupied in each hotel, paid and complimentary fares in the name of the King Commission.
• Commissioners have not received mileage reimbursements since the new executive director has been hired --- according to policy/law.
• The Commissioners requested a progress report on the King Team Program, the L.E.A.D. Program, and the License Tag Fundraiser Program.
• The Commissioners requested that a written report be provided on all staff hired by the director, time and tenure of their employment, salaries paid, and reason for leaving, if no longer employed. (Regretfully, Dwayne Graham, the Program Director, was replaced after this request was made and no information was given by Mr. Scarbrough about the dismissal or the new hire, Mr. Brooks.)
• Commissioners asked for clarification and justification of all special events consultants hired for fund-raising events.
Additionally, we were concerned that we had received only one communication from Mr. Scarbrough since our February 4th meeting. He sent us an invitation to a Vigil. We were uncertain about the part of the King Commission in this, in that we were invited like we were just part of the general public.
Therefore, another question that the Committee had was, “What Have You Been Doing All These Months to Justify the Thousands of Dollars Spent?” We got no answer because he refused to come to the meeting.
Finally, Mr. Scarbrough was asked some months ago to explain why, after the budget, including the pay grades, had been worked on for weeks by him in conjunction with the Finance Committee and was to be turned in as figured, made changes that were unknown to the Finance Committee. He was reminded that the point of the work was to lower the budget. He had no answers. He was asked why he lowered: one Grade 20 to 16; another Grade 20 to 12; and the Grade 15 to 09 but raised his pay Grade 22 to a Grade 24. He had no answer.
We had hoped to get these answers at our Finance Committee meeting.
We firmly think that, if we had been able to get these answers, we would have left a better transition to the new Commission.
It is our hope that the Governor and all responsible persons will find it essential to get the answers to these and all other unanswered concerns, answered sufficiently and satisfactorily in the interest of the citizens of Arkansas.
The King Commission Finance Committee
Finance Committee Chairpersons
Dr. Rose Bryant Jones
Former Representative Booker Clemons