Options deserves another chance

Published 5:15 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

By Staff
The state’s decision to reinstate funding to Options for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is a step in the right direction.
Now it’s up to Options to prove it deserves the money.
On Thursday, the Options board of directors unanimously agreed to accept the money and abide by state-imposed contract stipulations. Options, which is based in Washington — has for years provided advocacy and shelter services for battered women in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
The funding from the N.C. Department of Administration — which controls state money allocations for Options — will allow the organization to stay open through March, said spokesman Trent Tetterton. The money comes in the nick of time, because after a long fight with the state, Options had run completely out of money, Tetterton revealed.
In our view, there are few causes so worthy as protecting battered women and their loved ones. So we’re heartened Options is getting back on track and the state is willing to invest in the program. We hope and believe that the organization will overcome the controversy that has hounded it.
Options lost its funding after the Governor’s Crime Commission determined it owed almost $52,000 in grant funds that either weren’t spent or were spent on items not covered by the grants. A subsequent review by the Office of the State Auditor found that funds had been poorly accounted for and spent on unapproved items, but not stolen.
Options has already moved to erase that stigma. The group has hired a new financial officer and is looking for a new executive director — a stipulation under the sate contract. According to Tetterton, the contract also requires Options to find board members from each of he counties it serves. Tetterton noted that the group has identified potential board members but has waited to activate them until funding was secured.
With restored funding, the group will begin working to restaff other positions within the organization, Tetterton added.
According to Options board member Darwin Woolard, the organization is trying to turn over a new leaf with the state. We’re glad it is, and we hope Options will be able to serve its clients for many years to come.