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Frustration over funding

United Way of Westmoreland County has launched an adversarial relationship with one of its staunchest supporters — The Salvation Army. Why has the United Way’s administration badgered the Army corps in Westmoreland County (” Salvation Army wages funding battle with United Way ,” Sept. 11)•

For months, Salvation Army staff members have been diligent to complete what United Way demanded.

But apparently it wasn’t enough to please Nancy Kukovich, president of the umbrella fund-raising agency.

United Way withheld $21,000 from the Salvation Army in April. The Salvation Army tried to meet all United Way demands. But there was always something else dictated, while community programs went unfunded because the April allotment was pulled.

As for an audit, the Army agreed with that mandate and expects to do that by February 2004.

As a member of the Greensburg Salvation Army Advisory Board, I have listened for too long to details of what has turned into a runaround by United Way. The whole episode has been an exercise in frustration and confusion for Salvation Army units in the county.

United Way has flexed its muscle. Charles G. Urtin, United Way chairman, stated in a letter that “both organizations need to step back and re-examine the basis for this relationship.” That sounds reasonable, but then there’s this touch of intimidation: “Any additional adverse publicity created by the Salvation Army between now and then will weigh in on the decision.”

Sounds as if Mr. Urtin wants to fuel the dispute rather than look for ways to mitigate it with a dedicated agency whose only mission is “Soup, Soap and Salvation.”

Wash Gjebre
Greensburg


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