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Somerville aldermen approve ordinance change aimed at nonprofit transparency

Posted by Jarret Bencks  November 21, 2012 09:20 AM

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Aldermen in Somerville approved an amendment to the city's ethics ordinance Tuesday aimed at bringing more transparency to nonprofits.

The amendment, unanimously approved by the aldermen, calls for nonprofits awarded grant money through the city to be subject to the same financial scrutiny as any city department, including opening its books to the city auditor.

Its approval comes in the aftermath of discoveries that the former executive director the Community Action Agency of Somerville allegedly charged over $28,000 in personal purchases to company credit cards between 2010 and 2012. Kimberly Smith-Cofield resigned in June. A forensic audit of the nonprofit has been submitted to Attorney General Martha Coakley for review.

Alderman Robert Trane submitted the proposed amendment change months before the issues at CAAS came to light after reading about similar issues in other communities, he said Tuesday. 

The amendment will have to be signed by Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who sponsored the proposed change.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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