Neighborhood Council Clashes Over of Missing Equipment
Treasurer Judy Knapton says more than $10,000 in neighborhood council equipment is missing, but board member Joseph Riser says that number is "inflammatory."
By David Fonseca
Though the recently elected Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council pledged to move forward with mutual respect, a lingering issue regarding board property dredged up acrimony on Monday evening.
A report presented by Treasurer Judy Knapton--which listed more than $11,611 in missing ASNC-owned property--led to a protracted debate over the validity of the document and the motives behind it.
Among the priciest missing items are a cargo bin, a power generator and $2,500 in emergency equipment.
Knapton said she did not know where many of the items were now located. She added that former treasurer, Mark Legassie, had refused to hand over financial documents.
"The treasurer is not someone who I would trust on this, because she has a hidden agenda," said Sycamore Grove Representative Joseph Riser.
Knapton and Legassie clashed during their time together on the board. In Decmeber of 2011, Knapton produced a report alleging that more than $10,000 in board funds were spent without authorization while Legassie was treasurer.
Riser and Legassie both disputed that report, saying that she failed note board votes that authorized the expenditures.
On Monday night, Riser said that many of the items on the list were purchased by the ASNC for other organizations, such as the Hermon Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
He said it was "a little inflammatory" to suggest that the items were missing, when they were in fact purchased for community organizations.
Knapton responded saying it was her responsibility to compile the document for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which oversees the ASNC, and that it was not her responsibility to track down the items, only to note whether or not they were in the board's possession.
According to Riser, many of the items on the list are located in a storage bin that was purchased for the Hermon CERT team located behind the Hermon Community Church. The bin, as well as the keys and a pair of bolt cutters are all reported as missing on the list.
"We know that there is a bin filled with stuff and there is no way to get into it," Faith Based Organizations Representative Margaret Barto said.
Valerie Harragin, a new member board member, asked why the board was dwelling on the items.
"At what point can we move on?" she asked.
"It's not an issue for us to say you can move on," said Lisette Covarrubias, a DONE project coordinator who was supervising the meeting. "You need to locate it, because it is your stuff."
She also told the board they technically did not have the authority to purchase items for community groups, and that they were only allowed to grant funds.
"You do not have the authority to donate items to other organizations unless it's being done through the City Council," she said. "If these items were purchased for someone else, then you need to follow through with DONE's funding program."