The Hiring of Jerry Moore

A number of people have asked me recently how Jerry Moore got the job of Executive Director for JACC.  I will share what I know.

Mr. Moore was elected to the JACC board of directors in October of 2005.  A number of residents questioned his eligibility to serve on the board.  He did not live in the Jordan neighborhood, so he had to either own a business located in Jordan or be employed by one.  Mr. Moore claimed that he owned the business that operated at the corner of West Broadway and Logan Avenues.  This was the blue shack where shoes seemed to be offered for sale and a very large Clear Channel billboard was perched atop the property.  Investigation by some residents found that the property was a rental and the owner thought it was rented to a non-profit that focused on youth.  Mr. Moore was supposed to be the secretary of the organization.  It all gets a little fuzzy after that in regard to that property and Mr. Moore’s role.  At one point in time after the objections were raised, Mr. Moore’s name showed up as the taxpayer for the property.

Mr. Moore was elected vice chair of the board and so served on the executive committee.

When Lance Knuckles left the executive director position at JACC less than a year later, the board voted to hire Mr. Moore as interim executive director for six months.  This was unusual.  In the past, the interim position was for just a few months to give the board time to find a new director.  I attended the board meeting where this was decided.  The motion was to hire Mr. Moore for six months at 20 hours a week.  The board delegated to Brian Smith, the board chair at the time, the task of coming up with a “reasonable” price for Mr. Moore’s services.

Mr. Smith came back to the board with a proposal for  30 hours a week at $45 an hour.  The last time they hired someone as an interim executive director, that person was paid $19.23 an hour for 40 hours a week, or an annual rate of $40,000.  So this proposal was quite an increase…the equivalent annual rate at $45 an hour for a full time position is $93,600.

The board treasurer objected that the amount was too high, and Mr. Smith said it was a typo and should have been $35 an hour (which is equivalent to an annual full time rate of $72,800).  The departing executive director was paid $55,000 annually, so it was still a significant increase.  The board treasurer still objected and suggested that the board talk with the NRP (Neighborhood Revitalization Program) first since this would be the source for funding much of the executive director’s salary.  The board saw no need to do so, and the board treasurer contacted the NRP director independently to determine if NRP would pay that amount.

The NRP responded with a letter to JACC asking the organization to provide the basis for the salary:  what comparable salaries had they used to justify that amount, a coy of the attorney-prepared contract and a reading from the IRS that independent contractor status was acceptable (all previous interim directors had been hired as employees).

Of all the neighborhoods in Minneapolis, no executive director was paid as much as was proposed for Mr. Moore unless their duties were far broader than the position at JACC.  As to the contract, the board chair authorized a check for $450 to Mr. Benjamin Myers, an attorney, to draw up a contract with Mr. Moore.  This contract, while dated September 2006, the month Mr. Moore began work, was not signed until December 2006.  Mr. Myers was paid in October just four days before he was elected to the JACC board of directors.

The contract for Mr. Moore’s services was an interesting one.  While it states in the first few paragraphs that Mr. Moore was being hired as an independent contractor, the remainder of the contract refers to him as an employee.  The duties agreed to in the contract include hiring and managing staff for JACC, preparing JACC’s budget and managing JACC’s funds, things an independent contractor cannot do and still claim independent contractor status.  In a really brilliant move, however, the contract also specified that if a government entity should determine that Mr. Moore was an employee and not an independent  contractor,  Mr. Moore would reimburse the organization for any and all expenses incurred as a result of that determination.

In regard to the IRS approval of independent contractor status, no application was made to the IRS to determine this.  This issue is important for two reasons:  (1) organizations that hire independent contractors to perform activities typical of employees can be penalized heavily for doing so, and (2) IRS rules for non-profits prohibit excessive compensation being paid to disqualified persons; a disqualified person is anyone who has been in a decision-making position at the non-profit in the preceding 5 years.  As a member of the executive committee and holding the position of vice chair, Mr. Moore was clearly a “disqualified person.”

The board voted to hire Mr. Moore over the objections of the treasurer.  His compensation was set at $35 an hour, 32% more than executive director he was replacing and 45% more than the interim executive director hired 22 months earlier.  He began work in mid-September 2006.  The JACC annual meeting was held in October, and Benjamin Myers was elected to the board.  The following month, Mr. Myers was elected board chair.  One of his first acts was to empanel an ethics committee to investigate the actions of the JACC treasurer.  The committee voted to suspend the treasurer for 90 days for disloyalty to the organization in discussing JACC business with a funder (NRP).  One member of the committee voted against this decision.  The decision was brought to the full board for a vote.  While the dissenting committee member had been told she could present her objection to the board, when the board convened, Mr. Myers would not allow her to speak because she and the board treasurer were “friends” by virture of their serving together on JACC’s Housing Committee.  It should be noted that Mr. Myers never disclosed to the board or the Ethics Committee that he was the attorney who prepared Mr. Moore’s contract and thus might have a conflict of interest in wanting to suppress any objections to the contractual arrangements.  It should also be noted that one of the Ethics Committee members who voted to suspend the treasurer had been recruited for the board two months earlier based on a pledge to support the treasurer in this matter.  Four days after this board member voted against the treasurer, his/her business received a $1,000 check from JACC to support an upcoming event.  In the past, JACC had never provided more than $200 for this event.

Any question of Mr. Moore’s qualifications for the position were firmly turned aside by the executive committe of the board.  When board members and residents asked to see Mr. Moore’s resume, they were informed that the executive committee and some board members didn’t feel it necessary for Mr. Moore to provide a resume.  The assurance was that Mr. Moore was well qualified.

Yet Mr. Moore hired “consultants” to help him put together the annual meeting for October.  In fact, Mr. Moore set a record for the cost of an annual meeting.  Here are the monies paid out just 4-6 weeks after Mr. Moore was hired:

$  475 Bean Scene (managed by a board member)
    24 Barnes & Noble
   300 Distribution of flyers by a youth org represented by a board member
    50 Cub Foods
   142 Sam's Club
   109 Litin Paper
   677 Famous Dave's
   200 Black Velvet services
   200 Event Coordinator
    60 Child care ($30 to a board member)
   200 Todd Barnes (writing the ED's presentation)
   150 Jordan New Life Church (space rental)
-------
$2,587 Total

And so the pattern of spending a lot of JACC’s money began very early in Mr. Moore’s sojourn with the organization.

In October 2006, Mr. Smith, the board chair, signed an application to St. Thomas for Mr. Moore to attend the Executive Director Leadership course at a cost of $2,750.  Mr. Moore began the 9-month class in February 2007 while still an “independent contractor.”  He also began paying his cell phone bills with JACC funds just 6 weeks into the job.  His contract did not include this as part of his compensation package, and independent contractors usually pay their own day-to-day expenses.

On 1/19/07, JACC posted the advertisements for a permanent executive director in the following places:  the Unemployment Office, Spokesman Recorder, Minneapolis.Craigslist.org, OutFront.org  and the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits.  The deadline for applications was 2/1/07, just 14 days after the ad was posted.  Residents raised concerns about the short deadline and the limited places it was posted.  They asked that it be extended to a four week application period, the time allotted in the past.  Some people asked if the board had already decided to hire Mr. Moore and, for that reason, wanted to limit response.  The requests were refused, and the 2/1/07 deadline held.

On April 3, 2007, JACC notified the community via a press release that it had hired Mr. Jerry Moore as the permanent executive director.

Advertisements

9 Responses

  1. Does anyone know anything about Jerry (Lamont) Moore applying for “Unemployment” benefits???

    • He did and, word has it, it was denied because he was justifiably fired for misconduct. One doesn’t get to hit people while on the job and then claim your employer should cover your unemployment when they fire you. And unemployment benefits, for the most part, are charged to the employer.

  2. (from JNS blog) “Is the “Jerry Moore” mentioned in this blog the same one who was recently mentioned in the closed Minnesota civil case 27-CV-HC-09-2559 (“SUMNERFIELD PHASE II LP vs Jerry Moore, John Doe and Jane Doe”) dated 03/31/2009 (Hennepin Housing)? This is (was) an “Eviction (UD)” case by the way… if you dig into it there is Defendent (“Moore, Jerry” DOB 04/15/1977) but no middle name listed… it doesn’t give an address but lists “Minneapolis, MN 55411” after the defendent’s name… it also lists the date “04/10/2009” of an “Eviction Hearing (8:45 AM)” with “Result: Held”… just wondering if it’s the same Jerry Moore…

    Hmm…”

    • It may very well be the same Jerry Moore. The age/birthday is about right and I think Jerry was living in that area recently (his address was on 7th. Hmmm…

  3. There is still an outstanding grievance # 1 against Mr. Moore with the Jacc Board:
    Grievance 1
    Mr. Jerry Moore miss-represented his association with the JACC neighborhood in the fall of 2005, he did this in order to gain access to membership and a board position. Mr. Moore claimed association via the Movements Youth Club located and or association with the property at 2022 West Broadway.

    If you want the details supporting of the grievance they can be forwarded.

  4. It would be easier to follow if, in some specific instances, people were named.

    Who, for example, is “one of the Ethics Committee members who voted to suspect (sic) the treasurer…” (I think you meant to write “suspend”)

    Who was the “dissenting committee member?”

    These things being a matter of public record in minutes, why not go ahead and say?

    • I will admit to some caution in view of the “old majority” tactic of using lawsuits to discourage public discourse and to punish those who speak openly. When it seems pretty clear that there is bad behavior, I am naming names. When things are not as clear as I’d like, I prefer not to name names. For example, in regard to the board member who got the $1,000 check shortly after the Ethics Committee vote: Is it possible the board (or executive committee) decided to pay five times as much that year without any thought of influencing the board member’s vote on the Ethics Committee? I suppose it is. Did the payment influence the vote? It probably was a factor, but I can’t prove it. So I’d prefer not to name the Ethics Committee member…although many people in the community will know who I’m talking about. In regard to the dissenting board member, this is a person who doesn’t like to get involved with conflicts and has done nothing wrong, so I don’t see a need to put the name out there and possibly cause that person to reconsider his/her involvement with the community organization.

      And thanks for telling me about the typo – I’ve corrected it.

    • Because there weren’t any meeting minutes notes kept!

  5. Thank you for providing some history. You do a good job of writing based on fact.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: