ACCOUNTABILITY. It matters — whether it is applied to governments, corporations or school districts and county commissions.
But there is another area where answers are not just about trust and reputation, but good stewardship of good will provided by the community as well.
Nonprofit organizations might be noble in deed and mission, but they are subject to the same pitfalls and bad acts of any organization where a lot of money changes hands.
There have been discussions over the years about a lot of them — and some of them are major names like Wounded Warriors, the national branch of the United Way and the Humane Society of the United States. Even venerable organizations like the Boy Scouts have been under the microscope for questionable decision-making.
And that is how it should be. Those questions should be raised — and answers given.
A nonprofit is excused from paying taxes. And that is because technically, there isn’t supposed to be a profit — hence the name.
A lot of these organizations are staffed by volunteers or dedicated employees who do the work at lower salaries — that is expected in the nonprofit world. The money is supposed to go to the mission, to help those in need.
But that doesn’t mean no one is making any money — or that a lot of funds from private and public sources are not in these organizations’ accounts.
And that is the case at Primary Health Network.
Nearly $90 million flowed through that organization in its most recent Form 990 reporting year. It likely could be much more than that now.
Those funds came from grants, millions of which likely came from state or federal tax dollars, along with private donations from individuals and money from foundations and other private organizations.
That means the money came from the community — in one form or another.
A lot of people are making a lot of money managing the Primary Health Network empire — and so, too, are some contractors and others who are benefitting from the business PHN generates.
And don’t forget that the PHN Charitable Foundation manages millions of dollars as well.
So, you bet, this community is entitled to answers about the recent federal inquiry.
And you can also understand that while the federal investigation is going on — those answers are not going to be very forthcoming.
But there are some questions that Primary Health Network officials could answer — about the continuation of services and patient care. They could say the organization is cooperating with the inquiry and is confident there is nothing to see here, that its books are clean and its use of federal funds pristine.
PHN CEO Drew Pierce could reassure the community that there is nothing to be worried about.
But he isn’t talking.
Kudos to the board members who have spoken up — even though it is very obvious some of them don’t know much about the investigation or the subpoenas.
And the charitable foundation’s board president assured his community that the good works being funded by his organization are continuing.
So as the community waits for answers and a clear vision of what exactly is going on at PHN headquarters in Sharon, there are public records that can tell a whole lot about the organization, its overhead and salaries as well as some interesting information about its finances.
And that is how some of the questions about the money that is flowing through Primary Health Network and its associated partners will be answered — at least for now.
And this county and the 16 others like it that have welcomed PHN facilities into their communities deserve that.