SAAA says Financial Problems Won’t Impact Planned Senior Center

County Supervisors are keeping a close watch on plans for a new Clarke County Senior Center after a recent announcement of possible financial improprieties at the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging (SAAA). SAAA currently holds approximately $200K of Clarke County funds intended for a new Senior Center project and also holds the deed to a farmhouse included in the plan.

“The only information that I have so far is that SAAA is starting the audit process” said Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood). “We have to allow the SAAA time to create its report. Until then we have to hope that our money is still in their coffers. Right now I have nothing to make me believe that the money isn’t still there.”

According to an electronic mail message issued by John Hudson, chairman of the SAAA’s board of directors, the agency discovered a shortfall totaling several hundred thousand in its accounts sometime in August, 2011.   Based on that discovery, SAAA’s board voted on September 8th to terminate SAAA’s president, development director and finance director. SAAA’s board then appointed Cindy Palmer as “Acting Director” and announced that it will conduct a more detailed financial review over the next few months.

The SAAA board also retained a Winchester-based accounting firm to review its financial records and provide a clearer picture of the agency’s financial status.

Staelin said that Clarke County administrator David Ash has been in contact with SAAA but at present Staelin said that he had no information regarding the status of Clarke County’s funds.

Staelin said that one immediate impact of SAAA’s unexpected financial predicament is how the County will handle construction bid responses for the project. SAAA and Clarke County have already issued a request for proposals on the new Senior Center based on budget approvals. Staelin said that Clarke County could decide to delay the construction contract award or perhaps re-issue the RFP based on the results of the SAAA audit.

The cost of the Senior Center is expected to total approximately $900K. Of that total, SAAA’s envisioned contribution meant that Clarke County’s share of the cost was expected to be $400K with approximately half of that amount coming from private donations.”

But according to SAAA Board President John Hudson, there shouldn’t be any delays in moving ahead with the Senior Center project.

“Although the agency is experiencing serious short term cash flow for the next several weeks, the board is taking steps to find immediate sources of funding to cover core expenses” Hudson said in Thursday afternoon.  “The good news – this financial downturn has in no way affected the ability of the SAAA to meet its total obligation with Clarke County regarding the new Active Living Center addition onto the Parks and Rec building.  That project is moving ahead nicely.”

SAAA’s core services for the homebound include “Meals on Wheels”, Personal Care and Homemaker Assistance, and “At Home Program”, which received the 2010 Best Practices Award by the Commonwealth Council on Aging.

“I’m a great supporter of the Senior Center and the work of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging” Supervisor Staelin said. “If the things that we’re hearing are true then what’s happened is really despicable. But right now it’s too early to say. We have to wait until they’ve had a chance to present the facts.”

Proposed  Clarke County Senior Center Budget



  1. Longterm Berryville resident says:

    There is no need to build a new senior center at Chet Hobert Park. The arrangement at the Presbyterian Church has worked out well for many years. The seniors I know are happy there. I heard the controversial Director in Winchester received an outrageous salary of over $1000,000,. Shameful!!The Director wanted to be served instead of serving. These non-profit bureaucratic parasites live off government funding and charity contributions. Some have probably never done an honest day of hard work in their life. They are not frugal and fail to recognize that local, state and federal governments have budget deficits and debt. Their inconsiderate desire for wasteful money spending projects disrespects taxpayers.

  2. Roscoe Evans says:

    There’s no need for anything new anywhere!!

    Don’t change anything, ever. Nothing for the kiddies, and nothing for the geezers, either!

    It’s absolutely sickening to see other people spending their money, your money, and my money, whether it’s on food, or clothing, medicine or housing. And too many people are having too much fun, too.

    Thanks for your inspiring comments, LB. I’m cancelling all of my magazine subscriptions and charitable donations, and otherwise cutting my own personal spending to the bone. No candy for the trick and treaters this year, and no birthday present for my wife, either.

    Viva Frugality!

    • No need to be frugal in this economy. Let’s see if we can get some free money from the federal government. They are just printing it anyway. We just built a new high school, and a new government center, let’s build a new senior center and while we are at it an indoor swimming pool for the kids.

      Why should we live within our means? No one else is. Hey we won’t have to pay for it. It will be either someone else’s taxes that go up, or it will be debt we pass on to our children and grandchildren.

      Live it up!

  3. Longterm Berryville resident says:

    I meant to say in my previous comment that I heard that the controversial Director in Winchester made over 100,000 dollars. (One hundred thousand dollars) I wrote too many zeros in my last comment for the salary figure. Right now, I don’t see the need for spending money on construction at Chet Hobart Park. Bonnie Dodson in Berryville does an excellent job.