Fire safe program worth saving
February 14, 2012
We can think of no other government program that has shown such obvious results as the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
Whether it was tons of brush turned into mulch in Holbrook or Genoa, or the gathering of pine needles and pinecones at Lake Tahoe, the council served as coordinator for the 135 chapters and 5,000 homeowners living in the wildland interface.
News that the council didn’t do a good job of tracking grants while it was supporting all those good works came as a shock.
Auditors didn’t find any indication that $2.7 million was spent on anything besides what the council was supposed to be spending it on. But there are always strings attached to federal grants, and Elwood Miller, who has been called in to help straighten out the council’s finances, describes those strings as a hairball.
Unraveling that hairball will require a lot of work and in the meantime will certainly see an interruption of money to the local chapters.
Miller holds out hope that perhaps finding out which Peters were robbed to pay Paul will allow the council to make up the difference.
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Nevada’s reputation has suffered on more than one occasion because its failure to do adequate accounting. Hopefully, council officials will be able to untangle this mess and restore confidence in what has otherwise been a very successful program.