MILTON — On March 6, United Way Worldwide announced it was removing United Way Santa Rosa County from its membership and the local chapter must stop using the United Way name.
That was just the latest of a series of problems that have plagued the county office since last fall.
The trouble started when a self audit found irregularities. An internal investigation by an independent firm led to the firings of three employees, including Administrator Guy Thompson, Oct. 26.
There is still an ongoing FBI investigation into the organization.
Kyle Holley, who was named acting administrator after Thompson, is tasked with shutting down the local United Way operation.
Holley said he has been on an emotional journey, from the obvious lows of the scandal and firings to the highs of moving 12 families from the Westgate Mobile Home Park — who were living in an area where raw sewage was spilling onto the ground — to safe housing.
Holley said there were things the organization must do immediately, such as not using the United Way name or logos and removing them from all marketing materials.
There was also the question of what to do with income received from donors that automatically deduct United Way contributions from employee paychecks. That money automatically goes into the organization's account via direct deposit.
"The board of directors has decided, to best honor the donors' intentions, we will not be depositing any more payroll deductions," Holley said, adding that payroll deductions made from January through March will be returned.
That also means organizations that were scheduled to receive funding from United Way Santa Rosa County will not receive that money.
Holley believes there is a need for a local organization that can provide these same services.
Holley and his staff are notifying donors and recipients involved with the now-defunct United Way Santa Rosa County of the changes and what to expect, at least until the end of March.
The board also needs to decide whether to sell or lease the organization's building. The office will continue normal operations until March 31, according to Holley.
After that, he anticipates reduced services under a different name.
"We just don't know," Holley said.