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Letters to the Editor: Call for irrigation commissioner resignations

| January 7, 2021 12:05 AM

As reported in the Nov. 24 Lake County Leader, Johanna Clark, a former employee of the then Flathead Joint Board of Control (FJBC), was sentenced in federal court to prison for one year and fined for embezzling over $200,000 from the FJBC during a three-year period from May 2014 to May 2017.

I do not condone Ms. Clark’s actions, but she was able to steal such a large amount of irrigator money because a majority of FJBC commissioners during that time failed to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities.

First and foremost, FJBC commissioners failed to adopt financial reporting and related practices in accordance with state law and government accounting standards. Appropriate financial reporting would have revealed major financial discrepancies and misreporting well before May 2017.

The FJBC commissioners who hired Ms. Clark failed to investigate her previous job performance and investigate whether she had an accounting and bookkeeping background relevant to the FJBC job — a background she later claimed she did not possess. They also would have discovered examples of similar theft.

FJBC officers also failed to monitor Clark’s work, even after major financial discrepancies and misreporting surfaced in mid-2016.

There are several Mission-Jocko irrigation board commissioners who served on the FJBC at that time and bear responsibility for what happened. If justice is to be fully served, they should resign.

Dick Erb, Charlo-Moiese

Elf Program makes the holidays complete

Western Montana Area Vl Agency on Aging would like to thank the community volunteers and donation sponsors for making the holidays a little brighter for 25 local citizens.

Our agency was approached by a couple residing in the community who had done the Elf Program in another state and asked for our assistance. Area VI selected 25 individuals to receive special gifts during the 12 days of Christmas. Area VI staff and community volunteers organized the deliveries and ensured that the elves were on target in delivery to each person. Each recipient also received groceries containing items for an entire holiday meal.

The program was magical for these individuals, and that was a result of the many contributions of time and supplies that were donated on short notice to make this happen. Western Montana Area VI Agency on Aging would like to thank the following: Jim and Marilyn Hamm; Super 1 Foods; Pablo Family Foods; Ace Hardware; Helping Hands; Loaves and Fish Food Pantry; Western Montana Area VI Agency on Aging staff and family; community volunteers

This project could not have happened without all the contributions that were made of time and resources. We thank you very much.

The individuals who approached us are interested in expanding this program in future years in the Polson area. They are interested in a faith-based or other service organization that would have a larger pool of community volunteers to make this expansion happen. If your organization would be interested in participating, please contact Area VI agency on Aging at 883-7284 and ask to speak with Todd or Gaye.

Todd Wood, executive director