The egos of Salt Lake County's elected officials haven't been boosted much by the reaction of advisory boards who were told the county wants more control over the money they spend.
Most were blunt."As a group, we do not trust elected officials to keep their word where money is concerned," said a letter signed by Frank Zenger, president of the Friendly Neighborhood Center Site Council.
However, county officials said that state law requires the county to control money raised by its 31 cash-generating boards. The boards have been making those decisions themselves - decisions that involved $767,434 in 1988, the most recent year for which figures were compiled. If a board needs something, it simply writes a check.
The money comes from people who pay to use multipurpose centers, visit Wheeler Farm and the Hansen Planetarium and participate in several other county-related events or programs or donate to those programs.
"That money would be considered public funds," said Terry Hogan, the county's human services planning and budget coordinator. Hogan headed a committee of county officials that recently completed a report outlining the need for more county involvement.
The committee's solution, endorsed by county commissioners earlier this week, would allow the boards to control the first $3,000 they earn each year. Anything over that would go into a separate county fund, which the board could spend with the county's approval. The county also would have access to the boards' records at all times and would be able to perform surprise audits.
Hogan said she hopes the solution can be viewed as diplomatic, noting that the county appreciates the long hours board members voluntarily serve.
"The response we got from the groups was almost totally negative," she said. "We're trying to balance this with the need to encourage volunteers in the county.
But the solution, which commissioners seem intent on approving at an upcoming meeting, likely will lead to bad feelings.
"We are concerned, disillusioned and appalled that so much time was spent on developing a working draft of changes which bear directly on our lives without any input from those of us affected," said a letter from the Anderson Senior Citizens Council. The letter also said some participants would be reluctant to raise money that would be given to the county.