Norwalk pols among those on former NEON board

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State Sen. Bob Duff participates in a February 2012 press conference calling for then-Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now CEO and president Joe Mann to resign. Duff is a former board member.

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NORWALK, Conn. – You asked, we answered – you were wondering who has been serving on the board of directors for Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) and here is the list:


Carvin Hilliard, Herbert Grant, David Washington, Janet Hodge, Douglas E. Hempstead, Berdella White, Daisy Franklin, Sherelle Harris, Greg Burnett, Maria Borges-Lopez, Michael Coffey, Tracy Golden, Deidra Davis, James Hayes, Valerie Lyons, Robert Duff


Carvin Hilliard, Herbert Grant, David Washington, Douglas E. Hempstead, Berdella White, Daisy Franklin, Sherelle Harris, Greg Burnett, Maria Borges-Lopez, Deidra Davis, James Hayes, Valerie Lyons, Robert Duff, LaTanya Langley


Carvin Hilliard, Herbert Grant, David Washington, Douglas E. Hempstead, Berdella White, Daisy Franklin, Sherelle Harris, Greg Burnett, Maria Borges-Lopez, Deidra Davis, Valerie Lyons, LaTanya Langley, Brian Baxendale


Carvin Hilliard, Herbert Grant, Douglas E. Hempstead, Berdella White, Daisy Franklin, Sherelle Harris, Greg Burnett, Deidra Davis, Valerie Lyons, Brian Baxendale, Douglas Burke, Ted Ferrone

2013 (as of August 2013)

TaShun Bowden-Lewis, Vanessa Parker, Alan J. Rossi, Christopher Ruzzi, Susan Weinberger, Ed.D, William Westcott*, Dale Ferguson, Rosemarie Michel, Robin Peterson, Katherine R. Williams. Mike M. Meyer*, John J. O’Dea, Terry Adams, Jonathan Steinberg, Cynthia Bowser, Bishop Elizabeth Dukes, Angela Edwards, Michael Berkoff, Elda Mas (*-resigned recently)


8 responses to “Norwalk pols among those on former NEON board”

  1. jlightfield

    FYI The NEON board according to a change of its by-laws in 2007 is supposed to have 18 members. For example, in 2009 you are missing Rick McQuaid and State Rep Joe Miolli.

  2. Norwalk Spectator

    I think that there are somethings that everyone needs to keep in mind, one of which is that the Board Members are not involved in the day to day administration of an organization like NEON.
    Secondly, in the other NON NEON article, Ms. Davis pointed out that Board members had asked questions and had not been given the answers. Right, wrong or otherwise, it sounds like this is what happened.
    I don’t know the ins and outs of this whole situation, but it sounds like the problems are beginning to surface. I know people talk about transparency and accountability and the phrase “should have known” will probably be tossed into the mix before too long, but “should have known” and “knew” have two different meanings.
    I’m still of the opinion that NEON should be shut down but I also believe that the past Board members were kept in the dark just the same as everyone else.

  3. Jlightfield

    The fiduciary responsibility of NEON and for that matter all corporations, profit or otherwise, lies with the board of directors. If the board did not hold staff accountable for the lack of accurate financial reports, then the issue becomes the failure of the board to act. There are numerous free advisory groups that specifically help non profits and their boards act with proper due diligence and practice. NEON’s problems with accounting and Head Start date to at least 2003 if not a decade earlier. The consistent theme has been the failure of the board to manage its responsibilities let alone manage the goals and objectives that staff are required to meet.

  4. Norwalk Spectator

    As I said in my earlier comment, the “should have known” argument wasn’t long in coming.

  5. Don’t Panic

    But “should have known” is absolutely the correct standard.
    Anybody missing a fiscal reporting deadline in a public company would know that their job was at risk. That folks here did not feel the need to respond to board questions is a management problem on top of a reporting problem.
    It is unclear here what this board thought its job was.

  6. dawn

    Thje board can only doo so much. They cannot make the financial records appear before them.
    They also are not able to discern what is true and false unless they are in there every day.
    the only mistake they made wich makes them at fault is that when the truth began to come out they continued to accept what they were given.
    When the truth came out they needed to clean house.
    they needed to look for a director with a background that was going to help fix things not take someone who lied about her credentials and was a part of the original problem.
    Had those steps been taken correctly they would not be in the mess they are in.
    My husband keeps telling me that they don’t really want to fix the problem because the money that is being “MISSPENT” is lining someone’s pocket.
    And I still cannot believe that the state has not stepped in and done what Norwalk has done, which is cut them off from funds until the financial book are cleaned up.
    If the faucet gets turned off the crooks will run for the hills.

  7. Norwalk Spectator

    Thank you, Dawn. I agree with you. It’s baffling to me, too, as to why the State and the Feds haven’t stopped the money flow.
    It’s all too easy to arm chair quarterback and pretend that you or others would have known something that someone else didn’t.
    It’s important to remember that the point of theft or embezzlement is not just to take what rightly belongs to someone else, but to GET AWAY WITH IT. That involves deception. How many times have there been interviews on the news broadcasts with people who were deceived by others? Bernie Madoff comes to mind. His victims included no less than fifteen banks and the Town of Fairfield pension fund (ouch!)along with a Fund group in Darien. And you all can say, “They should have known.” Take a look at some of the companies and names on the list. You’ll be surprised. I was.
    I think it was a very prudent and wise move on the part of the City to stop funding when they did. I also think many of the board members, both past and present tried to rectify or at least understand what was going on and when they couldn’t, they left the Board.
    I don’t think NEON will ever get out from under this cloud and still feel the best course of action is to shut it down.

  8. Oldtimer

    Instead of cutting off the grant the City had been giving Neon for many years, appointing a qualified accountant to Neon staff to get Neon’s books in order and take full control of spending could have solved a lot of problems two years ago. It is clear Neon desperately needed somebody to take control of cash flow. Cutting off the City grant without helping fix their problems just added to them.

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