The whole mess that Jerry Clark, former director of the Lock Haven Area YMCA, forged upon this community is a wake up call to all organizations - especially non-profits - to have strict and supervised protocols for spending money.
It's a matter of checks and balances.
Of course, checks and balances don't work without nurturing strong relationships and building a collective culture of duty and loyalty to an organization's mission to serve the public.
There is a lot of banter flowing throughout this community regarding Clark's misuse of an estimated $125,000 in YMCA funds over a period of four years and it includes a lot of finger-pointing.
And rightly so ... if we collectively want to learn some lessons.
Meanwhile, we leave it up to the Pennsylvania Attorney General to sort out who did what and why, and to file criminal charges as a result.
The AG used an investigative grand jury, gathering many documents and calling numerous witnesses.
Prosecutors have told the newspaper that certain people connected to the YMCA at the time of Clark's term have not been charged criminally because Clark's allegations against them, and the evidence gathered, do not merit the pursuit of charges.
That said, only Clark, former Clinton County Commissioner Adam Coleman and his mother, Kim, have so far been criminally charged in this case, with a jury trial pending for Mr. Coleman.
Folks, stealing $125,000 over four years shows an extreme pattern of criminal behavior - behavior that only was exposed when Clark was caught.
Clearly, Clark cultivated an atmosphere within the YMCA - among himself, agency staff and the board - that allowed him to do what he has admitted to doing.
Jerry Clark has admitted to repeatedly signing his name and forging the names of board members on checks he used for himself - over a four-year period and to the tune of $125,000.
Many people, including The Express, were subpoenaed by the AG's grand jury during its investigation as special agents pieced together a paper trail of money and checks.
So to our point.
There's an often-overlooked, under-valued legal term in the world of nonprofits.
It's called "fiduciary responsibility" and it means the "duty of care" and the "duty of loyalty" to an organization and its mission.
Members of boards of directors of non-profit organizations have many responsibilities. In the eyes of the law, their single most important legal duty is setting policy and prudently overseeing the agency's affairs.
That doesn't mean managing day-to-day; that's the job of paid staff. Importantly, a board is responsible for reviewing that organization's regular and annual financial statements - expenses and revenues.
Of course, in virtually every case, such as with the YMCA, those board directors are volunteers. As such, a volunteer can become complacent about his or her "fiduciary responsibility."
We know that, since Clark's criminal acts were revealed a few years ago, the YMCA has taken significant steps to insure that the issuing of any checks for payment of funds goes through proper and rigorous checks and balances to prevent wrongdoing.
To the YMCA's credit, policies were swiftly put in place for financial officers, accountants and the treasurer to properly issue checks, with administrative, executive and full board oversight and ultimate approval.
We also know the Clark case has caused many local nonprofits to evaluate what they do and how they do it.
We hope that also includes board directors evaluating their organization's leader and the needs of staff using proven, effective assessments.
Staff input in the evaluation is key, too; and there also should be a comfortable level of interaction between staff and board directors.
Nothing trumps personal and organizational commitment and accountability.