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UCDD meeting set for Thursday
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Upper Cumberland Development District has called an Executive Committee meeting for Thursday at 10 a.m., following an Aging Committee meeting at 9 a.m.
On the agenda for the Executive Committee is an internal review update, future and immediate action regarding Living the Dream, personnel search, and review of policies and procedures of Upper Cumberland Development District.
The meeting is for the board to receive information regarding findings by independent legal counsel hired by the development district to look into past actions by former executive director Wendy Askins. Discussed will be her use of development district funds in regard to Living the Dream, a $1 million mansion that was intended to be an upscale retirement center, but instead basically became Askins’ upscale home.
Askins resigned last week amid an avalanche of corruption allegations, after being placed on a 30-day suspension by board members Feb. 24. She admitted to making “some mistakes” in her resignation letter.
Living the Dream is not a project of the development district. However, without board approval, a transfer of $300,000 was made by Askins in 2010 from development district funds to Cumberland Regional Development Corporation to be used on the project.
During the February meeting, UCDD board members expressed concern about the project, the need for members to attend meetings associated with Living the Dream to protect the interests of UCDD, and voted to take the legal steps necessary to retrieve its $300,000 from CRDC.
When it comes to policies and procedures, the board could be considering changes that would prevent a new executive director from making the same mistakes made by Askins. UCDD board member Kim Blaylock says the organization lacks control.
“It is glaringly obvious this organization is lacking in control,” Blaylock said during the February meeting.
The board appointed Earl Carwile as interim director and Ashley Pealer as interim assistant executive director. Carwile will remain in that position until a new executive director can be found.