Opinion: Rocky Mountain Human Services’ woes still a mystery

From The Denver Post:  By Jeremy Meyer

A troubled nonprofit that accepts Denver taxpayer money still has not divulged why it suddenly had financial problems.

Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS), formerly Denver Options, which provides services to adults and children with disabilities, fired its founding executive director and chief financial officer.

The agency, which receives federal, state and local funds, has cut staff, eliminated programs and raised administrative fees on subcontractors.

But it has yet to say why all of this needed to be done. Even though the agency receives most of its funding from public sources, it doesn’t have to comply with Colorado’s open records laws.

Denver City Councilwoman Debbie Ortega is concerned about the lack of information and fears the city may not be able to get out of its contract because the relationship with the agency was outlined in ballot language.

To change providers, the city may have to ask voters.

In 2003, Denver voters approved the property tax hike to fund Denver Options — one of 20 community-centered boards created by the legislature to provide services to the state’s developmentally disabled population.

Last year, Denver taxpayers provided RMHS about $13 million, but city officials are having trouble learning how that money was spent. Agency officials says they are reviewing the problem and have assured the city the tax money is being spent as expected.

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