Published Date Written by Barbara TetreaultFahey wrote that "stabilization efforts continue, problem areas have been identified, needed changes are being made and TCCAP continues to show signs of strengthening each week."
But he warned that "any unexpected or unforeseen situation, like the sequester, unexpected demands for payment, or loss of critical funding, could impede or derail progress."
The monthly report to Coos County Probate Court reviews significant developments as Fahey's oversight of the financially troubled agency moves into its fourth month.
The most significant losses appear to be in the transportation and weatherization programs, according to the report.
Last Friday, TCCAP announced its North Country and Carroll County Transit systems were temporarily suspending certain bus services, effective Friday, March 29. The suspension was attributed to a lack of funding and ridership. In Coos County, the Saturday Tri-Town route between Whitefield, Lancaster, and Littleton was suspended. The report notes TCCAP is having difficulty raising the local match needed to secure federal funding for the transportation program.
Fahey states an extensive review of the weatherization program is on-going. He said the main issue appears to be the delay in reimbursements to the program, which can sometimes take as long as three months. In the meantime, TCCAP has to pay vendors and its employees who do the work. One solution being explored is using short-term bridge loans secured by the reimbursements.
Fahey said concerns over bonding for the Guardianship Services Program have been addressed and TCCAP will be able to obtain needed bonding. The agency has also begun repaying the $224,000 taken from client funds and used to cover TCCAP's general operating expenses. The goal is to repay the guardianship program $10,000 every two weeks. The balance is now at $214,000. A claim against TCCAP's insurance policy for the loss will be finalized by the next status report.
TCCAP has a $750,000 line of credit with TD Bank that contained a Feb. 1 deadline to pay down $350,000 of the amount. TCCAP could not meet that deadline and Fahey said TD Bank has agreed to extend the deadline to May 31.
The report says TCCAP also lacks the liquid assets to repay the agency's use of a $533,000 advance for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Fahey said the $533,000 continues to be a "substantial financial obstacle".
Strained budgets, both on a state and national level, make it difficult for TCCAP to locate what Fahey termed "new money" to address the agency's debt load. He said, some "promising options" are being investigated.
The Coos County delegation earlier this month met with Meredith Hatfield of the Governor's Office of Energy and Planning to discuss a $1 million loan from the Electric Assistance Program. The $1 million would be appropriated to the Office of Energy and Planning, which in turn would loan the money to TCCAP to be repaid over 20 years. The proposal would require special legislation and Coos Delegation Chairman Robert Theberge said getting that into the House at this point would be very difficult. According to the minutes, Theberge recommended trying to introduce special legislature through the state senate. North Country Senator Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton) yesterday said no amendment has been introduced in that body so far.
Fahey noted that the financial team is working to produce accurate financial reports and manage affairs more efficiently. He said for the past few weeks cash on hand, plus accounts receivable, are roughly in balance with accounts payable "suggesting that the organization is stabilizing, albeit slowly".
The fiscal 2012 audit is due to be completed March 31 and Fahay said it is expected there will be many findings that will require an extensive response. Preliminary interviews have begun on hiring a new chief financial officer for TCCAP and Fahey is recommending creating an advisory council to provide input on the restructuring.
Fahey said six applications for the CFO position had been received and a seventh application was expected by the March 15 deadline. He said preliminary interviews by a team of interviewers from both within and outside TCCAP had begun and will be on going. At the same time, he wrote the strategic restructuring of senior management and fiscal support will continue with a realistic budget being created.
Fahey said he has had several suggestions to create a volunteer advisory committee from Coos, Carroll, and Grafton Counties and said it seems like the time to do that. While the idea is still in its infancy, he said the advisory committee would be chaired by someone well known and well respected in the North Country although he said that person has not been identified. The committee would provide feedback on the restructuring and help identify suitable members for a new board of directors.
Fahey also makes it clear the reorganization of TCCAP is not cheap although he notes the agency is without both an executive director and a chief financial officer.
Through February, Fahey's firm, Orr and Reno, has billed over $87,000 for his services at $275 an hour. John Gilbert, president of the management consulting firm Synchrony Advisors LLC of Exeter, has invoiced over $37,000 for services provided through Feb, 22 and CPA John Killion has billed over $25,000 for services from Jan. 4 through March 1. No fee is provided for the auditing firm of Mason & Rich of Manchester.
All invoices are reviewed by Anthony Blenkinsop, head of Attorney General's Division of Charitable Trusts.