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Neighborhood Council Clashes Over 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."

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.

Riser and Legassie both disputed that report, saying that she failed to 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."

Riser noted during the meeting, however, that rules regarding donations to community groups had changed several times during his ASNC tenure, and that many of the items where purchased for groups at a time where neighborhood councils were encouraged to do so.

David Lyttle November 02, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Festival Based Stakeholders like yourself gave them all of the help they needed. Thank you very much Susan - good job - Bravo !! Don't forget to calendar in the next Jazz Festival, Darius Adle is kocking on doors all over Monterey Hillls begging for money because his Fedeation is broke.
David brunk January 12, 2013 at 05:15 PM
So many people are commenting based on little experience and erroneous information. If donations of equipment were made to CERT, a citywide program, funded by LA and taught with instruction by the Fire Dept., even erroneously, why is this the reason for a dysfunctional year for the ASNC? The new member who wants to "move on" should be the next President. The loss of a years funding taught the Board nothing. Founding Member
La Casa de Bernarda Alba January 12, 2013 at 06:11 PM
If NC's want to throw a COMMUNITY PARTY, DONE has your back!!! They are extremely SUPPORTIVE! Bring on the Mariachi music, drinks, food, and party favors! Keep the natives busy with bees and trinkets!!! If your NC is trying to bring CLARITY and CONSISTENCY to it with Procedures and By-Laws, brace yourself because DONE's mission is to make NC's DYSFUNCTIONAL and non-threatening to City Government!!! If your NC is disorganized, then DONE will CONTRIBUTE to it and make it so much worse! Depending on who you speak to, on what day, and what time - will get certain responses! On that someday another person speaks to DONE with the same time & day constraints and you will get another response! The revolving door personnel at DONE may also have contributed to ASNC's matter. As a NC board member, I recall endless amounts of conversations and emails with Grayce Liu (DONE's General Manager), City Attorney and General Manager with Bonk and many others requesting CLARIFICATION and got the usual Merry-Go-Around of EXCUSES and CONTRADICTIONS!!! DONE is a well-funded City entity used to placate the NC's, keep the battles locally; so that, our local leaders at City Hall can play politics as usual!!! In my opinion, the problem here is the misinformation provided by DONE, the past and current ASNC followed protocol at the time. Therefore, I conclude they both most likely acted in the best interest of ASNC
nonoise January 12, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Don, you are absolutely right! DONE is so dysfunctional. That is why many NC's are also so dysfunctional. Neighborhood council's have become the new cash cow to throw parties and give away freebies. Take away the money and get back to the reason neighborhood councils were formed to being with. The function of neighborhood councils is to be a voice to the city. Unfortunately, only a few neighborhood councils do the real job. Been there and tried that, but the NC would not allow it. Bottom line: take the money away.
JMarsh January 14, 2013 at 03:21 AM
I was hoping that things would get more civil with the neighorhood council. Sigh! I have visited that bin several times. It is not missing. It is on the property behind the Hermon Church. I don't know why this is an issue. They are nice enough to let CERT "park" it there for free. Most anywhere else you'd have to pay a monthly fee. I have been there when the bin was opened to organize and check the condition of the supplies. Everything that is supposed to be there is. I attended a neighborhood council meeting and made a plea for everyone to start acting more mature and to work together on behalf of the people they were elected to represent. Apparently my plea fell on deaf ears.

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