By Matthew M. Robare
Rich Garabedian, executive director of Saugus Community Television, is still concerned about the board of selectmen’s decision to implement a mandatory by-law policy that changed the organization from a 501(c)3 nonprofit to one under town management. The unanimous vote was taken July 18.
Garabedian read out a prepared statement outlining his concerns: “So, why a change in ownership— why go from self-management, with no issues, to town management? There have been no issues of noncompliance stated by the board or any issues that need to be rectified regarding Saugus Community Television… Our audits have been clean and our federal and state filings up to date. All our contractual obligations and responsibilities with the Town of Saugus have been fulfilled.”
According to an earlier story in The Saugus Advocate (“Selectmen discuss new status of Saugus community TV,” July 3), the policy was instituted in ordewr to have more checks and balances within the organization and more transparency.
That theme was echoed during a phone interview with Board of Selectmen Chairman Michael Serino, who said he disagreed that there haven’t been issues with the SCTV organization. “The new structure improves openness and transparency,” he said. He added that it would also improve stability within the organization.
“The bottom line is that they did take control,” Garabedian said in an interview.
In the earlier story, the chairman of the SCTV board of directors, Chris Peatridge, was quoted as saying that it was a “better business proposition” for the organization’s $600,000 to be in the hands of the town.
“There was no support from our own board,” Garabedian said.
In his statement from July 18, he said “Allegations have been made . . . these falsehoods empowered this nonexistent issue to exist. We were never notified nor were any allegations ever brought to our attention of alleged improprieties regarding any missing checks . . . We are and have always been accountable.”
Serino said the new policy of having SCTS’ budget be approved by the board of selectmen and held by the treasurer would provide security for it. “The old structure just seemed to not work out,” Serino added.
In the interview, Garabedian said he’s had very little communication with the board of selectmen about the transition from SCTV to SCTS. He said the policy was supposed to go into effect July 31, but there will be no hiring and no new programming until the transition was finished. He added that he didn’t know if it was already completed or not. “Communication is a two-way street,” he said. “Am I frustrated with it? Yeah, of course there can always be better communication. I’ll stand by our record.”