The leaders of a youth football and cheerleading organization are making good progress toward improving the way the team is run and financial records are kept, according to a report released by the Attorney General's Office this week.
The document, sent to Milford Mustangs Youth Football and Cheerleading Association President Kirk Palladino, refers to the “sincere interest and commitment” the team's board of directors has shown in response to a report issued by the Charitable Trusts Unit in February 2011.
The AG's office began taking a close look at the Mustangs in 2010 after hearing allegations from individuals regarding families involved with the Mustangs who wanted to leave the program and play instead for teams in surrounding towns, such as Amherst, Bedford, Hollis or Nashua. To play for another team in the region, they had to obtain a signed waiver from the president of the Milford Mustangs, but claimed they were unable to do so.
The individuals also raised questions about the financial health of the organization, with numbers showing a steady decline in membership (and consequently revenue) over the last few years.
In 2007, 195 youths took part in the program. By 2010, that dropped to 112, which some blamed on a feeling of intimidation that allegedly surrounded the board of directors, and questions about how the team's money was spent.
The AG's office found no evidence of theft, fraud or embezzlement, but wrote in its February 2011 report that “the board of directors should and must change and improve its policies and procedures used to govern the organization.”
An advisory committee was set up, consisting of volunteers from the Milford community, to work closely with the AG's office to oversee the changes.
The group has chosen to not adhere one recommendation Charitable Trusts Unit officials had — establishing term limits for the board of directors.
“The board chose not to accept this recommendation,” writes Blenkinsop. “While the (Charitable Trusts Unit) supports the changes that were made to the bylaws, it continues to recommend that the board initiate term limits for its members in order to encourage new leadership within the organization.”
Blenkinsop points out this is a recommendation the Charitable Trusts Unit makes to all charitable boards and is not specific to the Milford Mustangs.
The final report also outlines future moves it would like to see the Mustangs board make, such as establishing policies regarding what information the board will provide to members and post on the Mustangs' website, including financial statements, fundraising results by event, annual enrollment, number of scholarships awarded, number of waivers approved and other topics of interest to members.
Attempts to reach Milford Mustang's President Kirk Palladino for comment on the final report were unsuccessful.