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Published: Wednesday, 10/7/2009

Proposed oversight of YMCA postponed


The Lucas County commissioners yesterday held off again on forming an independent oversight commission to look into the operations and finances of the YMCA & JCC of Greater Toledo, which is under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to table the YMCA task force proposal after hearing a request from a neighborhood coalition seeking two more weeks to negotiate on its own with the Y's board of trustees. The commissioners last tabled the proposal in September, again at the coalition's request.

Gary Batts of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens and Y Members said at yesterday's meeting he requested the added time so coalition members can work to convince the Y board to agree to a separate, three-person arrangement. The three members of such a group - one from the Y, one from the coalition, the third of a neutral party - would examine the nonprofit's operations and issue recommendations on how to improve the YMCA's "financial stewardship" and change its "corporate culture," Mr. Batts said.

If the Y board does not agree to the arrangement, county commissioners could take up the oversight commission proposal at their Oct. 20 meeting.

The chairman of the board, Paul Schlatter, did not return messages seeking comment.

The YMCA has in recent months faced criticism of its compensation to top executives, as well as accusations of nepotism surrounding its chief executive, Robert Alexander. Mr. Alexander and several family members are paid more than $630,000 a year in total compensation.

The organization's board has refused to make public detailed records of its executives' credit card and travel expenses.

Y officials last week confirmed the state Attorney General's Office is investigating the organization's financial operations, although neither the Y nor the attorney general will give details of the probe.

The YMCA recently relaunched a campaign drive with the support of coalition members to generate 500 new, two-year memberships for its South Toledo branch, once slated to close. The membership challenge runs until Dec. 12.

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