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OPINION — Crossroads board needs the right people now

During this time when the Crossroads Community Service Board is searching for an executive director, it would be a good time for the Crossroads board to examine itself as well.

Much of this current controversy with Crossroads began when Prince Edward County Board of Supervisor Chairman David Emert visited a board meeting. He gave the melodrama a thumbs down.

“I’ve been in thousands, I guess, if not more meetings – chaired a bunch of them, and I have never been in a meeting in my life that was as crazy as that meeting. Never. Including the Army,” Emert told the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors in April. “Unorganized, board members correcting other board members in the middle of the meeting and calling out the chairperson, the chairperson asking for certain things they couldn’t get. It was an absolute disaster.”

We have been in a few of those Crossroads meetings. The man is not wrong.

The worst thing to happen for Crossroads is if they hire a great executive director but keep the same board. The executive director’s tenure would likely be short-lived.

There are some great members of the Crossroads board. They should stay. Others are not so great.

It seems some of the supervisors who serve on the board act as if they have drawn the short straw, and why not? It’s an extra meeting a month that typically lasts well into the evening, often past 10 p.m. and is an hour or more away from many of the seven counties where the board members come from.

Crossroads deserves a board that compassionately cares about the vision and mission of the organization. Now is the time for the chairpersons of the seven Board of Supervisors who make up the area served by Crossroads to ask themselves if they have the right supervisor and the right citizen representative on that board. If the answer is no, now is the time to change personnel.

The Crossroads organization deserves a board filled with compassionate, caring people with a heart for helping the mentally ill. They also need to have some business experience.

Crossroads recently posted the packets given to the Board of Directors each month from January 2020 to May 2021. Only the May 2021 packet had a balance sheet and line-item profit and loss statement included. It was the only month the board got a full picture of the organization’s finances. The board should have been requesting the balance sheet long before May.

The fact that no one on the board appeared to question or comment on a $2.4 million PPP loan that they were regularly informed about is another reason the board needs to see some changes.

What would the board have done if the PPP loan had not been forgiven? Where would the organization have gotten the funds to pay back $2.4 million? Those were questions that needed to be answered, but from February of 2020 to August 2020 there appeared to be little opportunity to ask those questions because the board didn’t meet.

The Crossroads organization needs a lot of work, but not all of it gets magically fixed when a new executive director is hired.

Getting some new, experienced board members with fresh ideas and a sense of the mission and vision of the organization will go a long way toward helping Crossroads recover.

(The views in this editorial are of The Charlotte Gazette editorial staff. This editorial was written by Editor Roger Watson. He can be reached at Editor@TheCharlotteGazette.com or (434) 808-0622.)