Have your ever heard of RSVP? Here is their mission per their website:
“The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) provides opportunities for people 55 and over to make a difference in their community through volunteer service. RSVP volunteers contribute anywhere from a few to over forty hours a week, serving through schools, day care centers, police departments, hospitals and other nonprofit and public organizations to help meet critical community needs. RSVP offers maximum flexibility and choice to its volunteers. RSVP matches the personal interests and skills of older Americans with opportunities to help solve community problems and offers supplemental insurance while on duty, and on-the-job training from the agency or organization where volunteers are placed.”
They receive a significant portion of the real estate taxes paid by taxpayers through the Senior Levy. The Lake County Commissioners approved the allocation of the funds received from the Senior Levy. Here is the distribution for 2018:
1. Council on Aging $1,640,000
2. RSVP $ 125,000
3. Eastlake Senior Center $ 89,500
4. Fairport Senior Center $ 112,000
5. Kirtland Senior Center $ 75,000
6. Madison Senior Center $ 93,500
7. Mentor Senior Center $ 300,000
8. Painesville Senior Center $ 80,000
9. Perry Senior Center $ 87,500
10. Wickliffe Senior Center $ 90,000
11. Willoughby Senior Ctr. $ 123,000
12. Willowick Senior Ctr. $ 84,500
Here is an analysis of the Senior Levy distributions for the years 2013 – 2018.
(You may have to rotate the page for easier viewing)
Senior Levy Distributions 2013 – 2018
Please note that the Commissioners have paid $744,925 to the RSVP group for that six year period. That is an average of $124,154 per year to act as an employment agency for volunteers. We contacted the officials of RSVP and asked for the financial statements for the last five years. Here is one example of what we were given.
Let us be kind and say that we see a “lack of candor” on behalf of RSVP. If anyone can understand from this report how much they spent on what expenses, please let me know. When we see lack of transparency by any governmental body, we are going to call them out.
The problem we have is that this service, assuming it is needed, definitely can easily be done by the Council of Aging. The officers of the Council of Aging declined to discuss this topic with us. However, we did receive an letter from Mr. Tomsick, CEO of the Council on Aging. He was responding to my questions regarding services they provide to the citizens of Concord Township.
Please compare this response with the response we received from RSVP.
In 2016, they delivered 148,261 meals to Lake County seniors, and prepared another 34,123 at their various sites in Lake County. It cost ~$4.63 per meal. Therefore, we calculate that the $125,000 given to RSVP could purchase another 27,000 meals for Lake County residents.
We believe that this employment agency service can be done on the Council’s website without much cost, and the Council on Aging and the RSVP group share many of the same volunteers.
We expressed our opinion to the Lake County Commissioners and Jason Boyd, the County Administrator, that the money earmarked for RSVP should be given to the Council on Aging. However, there are politics at play. Not only did they not heed our advice they INCREASED the funding to RSVP for 2018.
Many of you have expressed to us “What can we do to help?” Well now is your chance to help, because we have been informed that the Commissioners and the County Administrator will not change their minds without hearing from the people of Lake County. If you believe we are correct in our assessment, please communicate with the four individuals mentioned below, and tell them to redistribute the RSVP funds to the Council on Aging. Here is the contact information for all four individuals:
Jason W. Boyd, County Administrator
Office Phone: (440) 350-2334
John Hamercheck, Commissioner President
Office Phone: (440) 350-2754
Jerry Cirino, Commissioner
Office Phone: (440) 350-2882
Daniel Troy, Commissioner
Office Phone: (440) 350-2752
Thank you for your help on this issue.