By Leslie Scanlon, The Presbyterian Outlook
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is facing more unwelcome news – this time involving financial mismanagement of the 2013 Youth Triennium, which was held in July 2013. An audit review has discovered that costs for the 2013 Youth Triennium exceeded the budget by nearly $600,000 (more than 29 percent over the $2 million budget), even though the attendance of more than 5,000 was the highest ever for a triennium.
In investigating what happened, the Audit Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board determined that some Presbyterian Mission Agency policies were “ignored, partially observed or outsourced to non-PCUSA entities, resulting in inadequate and therefore unacceptable financial administration of the program.”
The Audit Committee investigation also found that “the financial administration and oversight was found to be lacking, evidencing a failure to comply with PCUSA standards of stewardship, transparency, and accountability.”
The investigation does not specify which staff members made the errors or whether any disciplinary action has been taken. The Audit Committee is recommending changes involving the Evangelism and Church Growth ministry area – the same area in which another investigation already is underway involving the 1,001 New Worshipping Communities initiative.
In that earlier investigation, four staff members were placed on paid administrative leave in November at the request of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board Executive Committee while a lawyer from Charlotte investigates how $100,000 in Presbyterian Mission Agency funding was sent to an unauthorized independent corporation that employees set up in California. All of the money was returned to the PCUSA after denominational officials discovered the corporation’s existence.
Word of the Audit Committee’s findings regarding the 2013 Youth Triennium was made public Jan. 27 in a news release, following a series of closed-door committee discussions. That’s become a standard way for denominational officials to release controversial information in recent months.