F. R. Weed and Seed Chooses New Fiscal Agent
By Miriam Rosenberg
Special to The Wave
In a vote at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, the Far Rockaway Weed and Seed steering committee selected the Police Athletic League (PAL) as the new fiscal agent to oversee the site's finances.
That selection will now go the United States Justice Department, the agency responsible for controlling money under the federal origram through its Community Capacity Development Office. That agency, which runs the federal Weed and Seed program, works out of Washington, D.C. and it must give its approval before any money can be drawn from the local program's operating account.
"The Police Athletic League made an excellent presentation," said steering committee chair Ed Williams. "We believe they can do this important job."
According to Alexi Mantsios, of the Justice Department, the process to approve a fiscal agent for a Weed and Seed site takes approximately six to eight weeks for the process to wind itself through the federal bureauacracy.
Once Washington gives their consent, the funds for the Far Rockaway site can be transferred to the PAL.
"I'm going to contact Washington and we can start moving ahead," Mantsios.
Mantsios told the steering committee if they didn't make a decision on a new fiscal agent at that meeting, there was a "real possibility" of the $225,000 being held for Rockaway would be taken back by the Justice Department.
Mantsios also said he would look into whether money for summer programs can be reimbursed or if the programs - such as DEFY (Drug Education for Youth) - will lose their funding for this year.
Next week, members of a selection committee will begin reviewing the, resumes that have been submitted by applicants to take over the job of site coordinator.
There are reportedly five people in the running for the position.
The Far Rockaway Weed and Seed has been without a fiscal agent and site coordinator since the end of April.
The previous fiscal agent, the Queens Library, stepped down effective this past April 30. In addition, Mike Daly of the Queens Library left the position of site coordinator at the same time.