Editorial: A Fact by Any Other Name is Still a Fact

RIDGEWAY – If you frequent The Voice’s Facebook page – and we hope you do – you have probably noticed that the newspaper is under attack from Ridgeway mayoral candidate and Councilwoman Angela Harrison for omitting what she calls ‘facts’ in recent stories about her perception that the Pig on the Ridge steering committee has hidden its financials as it provided general oversight of the festival for the last 19 years.

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Ms. Harrison posted that, “none of the Council members, with the exception of Don Prioleau, [a member of the steering committee], have seen a detailed list of the festival revenue, expenditures and charitable donations,” and “none of the Council members were aware those transfers [of POR revenue] to CDs were counted as expenditures in our audit, not giving us any visibility into the fact that POR has placed over $80,000 in CDs.”

Ms. Harrison’s husband piled on as well.  In an email he sent to the South Carolina Press Association recklessly impugning the integrity of the POR steering committee, he stated that, “…the POR Steering Committee had about $80,000 squirreled away in CDs, and those funds have not been reflected in the town’s audits, nor any financial report, for many, many years. The Pig on the Ridge Steering Committee has been telling the cook teams that this is their last festival, and all of their CDs were set to mature in 2018, so it looks like they were planning to cash them out and do Lord knows what with the money.”

While Mr. and Ms. Harrison are entitled to their own opinions, they are not entitled to their own facts.

The POR financial information is readily available from Town Hall. A detailed 3 – 4 page report of the POR festival’s revenue, expenses and donations is provided every year to Council and the media.

Summaries of the ongoing POR revenue, expenses and donations are provided in monthly and year-to-date reports.

Mr. Harrison is misinformed if he thinks the POR CDs were ‘squirrelled away’ by the POR steering committee. They were taken out openly by the town government under its own government tax ID number and under the mayor’s signature. The CDs belonged to the Town, not the steering committee.  The committee cannot “cash them out and do Lord knows what with the money,” as Mr. Harrison suggests. And only members of Council or the mayor were authorized to cash the CDs.

All POR revenue goes directly to the town to be recorded, accounted for, deposited and disbursed. However, the steering committee enjoyed the autonomy to decide how the festival profits were to be spent, even though expenditure requests had to be approved by Council.

As for the CDs being “counted as expenditures in the audit, not giving us any visibility into the fact that POR has placed over $80,000 in CDs,” the Town’s auditor listed all the Town’s CDs (including those made up of POR revenue) as ‘investments.’ While the auditor mistakenly counted the last POR CD ($13,000) as an expenditure, that has been corrected. The POR committee had no part in that error of reporting.


Related articles:  Harrison has plans for Pig on the Ridge’s revenue, March 8, 2018;

Comments

  1. J. P. Ward says

    Excellent reporting of the facts!

  2. Grey Brendle says

    Great article! Great reporting!

  3. Frances V. Miles says

    Again,how far we have come from our home town feeling in Ridgeway. How wrong to casually toss around untrue facts! Thankful for Ms. Barbara and The Voice for clarity and truth.

  4. Cheryl Hartness says

    My father (late) J w Joye helped start the Pig on the Ridge and walked out of a meeting because they were not providing financial statements to the PUBLIC or so called MEDIA OF the proceeds for the Pig On the Ridge! There is no transparency with the POR committee. Committee records and Town records
    WHAT are the Facts

  5. Cheryl Hartness says

    Also I contacted the Non-profit organization and the Pig on the Ridge was not listed.
    It was told it is a Municipal Event and A Town event
    All records should be in the town records, in that case
    Why is the Pig on The Ridge committee able to use any of the monies or have there on money and records
    A committee is appointed to run the event

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