SCAS Board Response to Media Reports
September 24, 2013
Dear friends, families, supporters, and loved ones:
As many of you know, the South Carolina Autism Society (SCAS) has been undergoing a great deal of transition following the passing of our former president early this year. SCAS was investigated by the South Carolina Office of Inspector General (OIG). The investigation was closed and a report, which can be found at http://oig.sc.gov/Pages/Reports.aspx, was issued by OIG in July.
The Board of Directors was reluctant to discuss this investigation while it was ongoing, because we had hoped to resolve some of the issues cited in the report, and be able to present clear, complete information to our families, partners, and supporters. Resolution is taking longer than we planned, though we are making significant progress with each of the Agencies involved.
The report from the Inspector General indicated discrepancies in accounting for funds from the SC Department of Education (DOE) and the SC Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC). It also noted that a former SCAS employee used a company credit card for personal use, and that the expenditures were reimbursed and the employee was terminated.
When OIG first approached SCAS, the only issue raised was the credit card theft. By that time, the employee had been terminated for many months because the theft was addressed swiftly after the organization learned of it. SCAS had received a clean audit report every single year prior to the credit card misuse.
Issues with grant accounting were identified later. Our records and the OIG report indicate that no money was stolen from SCAS, other than the reimbursed credit card theft. What we have identified is a failure to keep sufficient backup documentation to show which grant or funding source expenditures should have been allocated to, and there were clearly some errors in SCAS' internal accounting. Still, we believe that we can provide evidence to show that almost all of the grant expenditures referenced in OIG's report were used for the correct purpose.
As recommended in the OIG report, SCAS is working with both the DOE and the DDC to resolve these discrepancies. We recognize that there were not enough accountability measures in place, as identified by OIG. SCAS is collaborating with the agencies involved to make sure appropriate safeguards are implemented, both with SCAS' internal record-keeping and with the submission process to the state agencies. In addition, SCAS has hired new outside consultants to help us improve our internal accounting system. During this process, we have had to suspend some programming, such as the Parent School Partnership Program. We are hopeful all programming will be restored very soon.
SCAS wishes to be as transparent as possible and answer your questions. We have scheduled a series of Town Hall meetings, in an effort to hear your feedback and address your concerns. You may also contact your service coordinator with your questions or concerns.
· Monday, Oct. 7th: Myrtle Beach 6:30-7:30, location TBD.
· Tuesday, Oct. 8th: Greenville office, 6:30-7:30pm, 5 Century Drive, Suite 132, 29607. (Lower level of Century at Keith Office Park).
· Tuesday, Oct. 8th: Charleston, 6:30-7:30pm, at the Family Resource Center, 1575 Savannah Highway Suite 6, 29407.
· Thursday Oct. 10th: Columbia Office, 6:30-7:30pm, 806 12th St. West Columbia, 29169. Ph. 803-750-6988.
We also want to know what services you find most helpful, wish we offered, and other ideas to help us determine what SCAS’s future programs will look like, while maintaining our mission to enable all individuals with autism spectrum disorders to reach their maximum potential.
Our annual SCAS members’ meeting will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10am-12pm at SCAS’ Columbia headquarters, including elections of Board members and officers. All Active Members of the South Carolina Autism Society are eligible to vote on the proposed slate of Board of Directors.
Please click here to register your intended attendance at one of the events above so that we can have adequate space available. You may also call SCAS headquarters in Columbia to RSVP, ph. 803-750-6988 or 800-438-4790.
Please watch the Web site, www.SCAutism.org, and SCAS’ Facebook page for updates about the Town Hall and other activities.
For more information on becoming a SCAS Member, click here.
For more information on the Annual Meeting and the Board of Directors, please click here to view SCAS Constitution and Bylaws.
SCAS continues to collaborate with other organizations that provide training related to ASDs across the state. Find information about upcoming training presented in conjunction with DOE by clicking here.
We are also actively “re-starting” the search for a new CEO. Plans are to identify possible candidates by late autumn and have a new CEO in place early next year. Kim Thomas continues to serve as interim CEO.
SCAS has provided important services to people with autism spectrum disorders for over 40 years. We are committed to fulfilling our mission, to enable all individuals with autism spectrum disorders to reach their maximum potential. We want everyone affiliated with SCAS – members, families, professionals, friends – to become a member of SCAS if you aren’t already, and we want you to continue to take steps with us, in support of the mission because we believe in someone with autism.
South Carolina Autism Society Board of Directors
Susan Kastner, Chair
Alex Holbert, Vice Chair
Rebecca Hughes, Secretary
Mitchell Yell, Treasurer
South Carolina Autism Society
Communications & Events
5 Century Drive, Suite 132
Greenville, SC 29607
Cell: (864) 517-0501 ß New Number
Visit us online at http://www.scautism.org