From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
PRESBYTERY OF SOUTHERN KANSAS HURT BY MISSING FUNDS
05 May 1996 13:05:00
95156 PRESBYTERY OF SOUTHERN KANSAS HURT BY MISSING FUNDS
by Jerry L. Van Marter
WICHITA, Kan.--Already facing "downsizing" because of shrinking income, the
Presbytery of Southern Kansas has been dealt a severe blow -- the apparent
embezzlement of more than a quarter of a million dollars.
On April 6, the Rev. Donald L. Brown, interim executive presbyter,
sent a letter to the presbytery's 79 churches informing them that "we [the
presbytery] discovered discrepancies in our accounts involving a
substantial amount of money."
In a May 9 interview with the Presbyterian News Service, Brown said
the loss is "about" $276,000 over three calendar years, 1993-1995.
He said police are investigating the apparent embezzlement but no
charges have been filed to date. The presbytery has, however, terminated
bookkeeper Debbie Davis "and her lawyer is talking to our lawyer,"
according to Brown.
The financial hit comes at a time when the presbytery is already
considering staff reductions due to declining revenues. The presbytery's
operating budget in 1994 totaled $435,000.
Layoff notices have gone out to some presbytery staff members, Brown
said, in anticipation of expected presbytery approval at its May 31-June 1
meeting of a recommendation from a self-study committee that the presbytery
staff be reduced from five to two full-time persons.
"This is really tough stuff," Brown said, "because the self-study
would have resulted in a reduction in force anyway, but this really
accelerates the timeline."
Reaction by churches in the presbytery has been "mixed," Brown said.
"Some want to offer us help to get over this hump, but others are saying,
See, you can't be trusted.'"
In his letter to churches, Brown offered assurances that "all
procedures and policies are being reviewed to determine changes which must
be made to prevent the possibility of a recurrence of an act of this sort."
Brown, former director of the Education and Congregational Nurture
Ministry Unit in Louisville and, more recently, the Stony Point (N.Y.)
Conference Center, has only been in his interim post in Southern Kansas
since January 1, 1995.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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