in Houston, Texas
Panhandle Community Services hires consultant to fix accounting mess
Tuesday, Jun 05, 2012, 01:37PM CST
By Steve Miller

A rogue social services agency in Amarillo, which we noted in an April item, had board members that rarely showed up for meetings and – surprise – was unaccountable for $400,000. Panhandle Community Services paid its director $94,000 a year to manage the agency, which, among other things, allocated funds to weatherize homes.

Now it seems that the simple task of redoing the accounting for Panhandle is costing $35,000 a month in public money, paid to an Iowa company, Meliora Partners, that specializes in such things.

The board, which it appears now shows up at meetings, heard a request on Monday to reimburse the state $1.2 million. So the public gets to pay back…the public.

Here’s a pretty telling assessment of the situation at Panhandle, where staffers go without reviews, money is paid to nameless clients and board members continue beyond their expired terms.

This all didn't happen overnight. But as it did, the director of Panhandle, Phyllis Cook, saw her base salary increase 30 percent, from $73,114 in 2008 to $94,794 in 2010. Cook resigned in mid-May.

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or

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