I am a graduate of Penn State, professor of health science at Lock Haven University, and longtime volunteer for AIDS Resource Inc., a community-based agency serving Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Snyder, Union and Potter counties. The agency has offices in State College and Williamsport and about 180 clients living with HIV/AIDS.
AIDS Resource was abruptly informed by the North Central District AIDS Coalition, North West PA Rural AIDS Alliance (Clarion) and the state Department of Health it would be “unfunded” of about $630,000 as early as Aug. 1 and the money would be contracted to the Clarion group. AIDS Resource has an excellent reputation for fiscal management. The decision was made without input from AIDS Resource staff, board, volunteers, local leaders or clients with HIV/AIDS. The Department of Health informed AIDS Resource there was not an appeal process.
As a taxpayer, I am appalled by this decision from the Department of Health to “unfund” a stable agency. I am upset at the apparent “secrecy” with which the decision was made. Why were the parties affected excluded?
I urge readers in Centre and Clinton counties to contact their legislators and request an investigation into this process, seek involvement by all stakeholders, hold public hearings and place these monies in a formal bid process for other coalitions. In addition, readers may go to www.aidsresource.com and sign the protest petition.
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Dr. Rick Schulze, Williamsport