ALEXANDRIA, VA. — Aggressive fund raising and bill collection have allowed the National Recycling Coalition Inc. to erase a $200,000 deficit that had thrown the organization into turmoil for much of the past year.
The group also is considering paying its former executive director, Marsha Rhea, $30,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from its decision last year to fire her, said NRC President Susan Hubbard, the technical/recycling coordinator for the Four County Regional Solid Waste Management District in Fayetteville, Ark. NRC's insurance company and Rhea reached the agreement, Hubbard said.
Much of the deficit was eliminated by the new management collecting old debts, including getting $25,000 from a security deposit and rent overpayments from the landlord of the organization's previous Washington offices. The group paid rent to the landlord for about five months after they vacated two years ago but never sought to get the money back when the error was discovered, said NRC Executive Director William Ferretti.
The group accumulated the deficit over the past 18 months because it tried to do too much and its board was not told by the former managers that ``you bit off more than you can chew,'' Hubbard said.
The group's fiscal problems were a ``crisis of accurate fiscal accounting,'' said Ferretti, who took over in late 1996. NRC of Alexandria made the announcement at its board meeting May 17.
The group closed the gap with a $54,000 fund-raising drive and collection of $150,000 in debts, including money owed from grants and from other organizations, Ferretti said. About $28,000 came from a February donation drive and $26,000 from other gifts, including from members of the Buy Recycled Business Alliance.
Hubbard said NRC was able to cut the deficit without dipping into its investments or laying off key management people. But the group went from a few more than 20 employees in January 1996 to eight by November, Ferretti said.
NRC now has no support staff, though it is adding two employees, he noted. A recycling technology program NRC had worked on now is administered by another organization, he said. Ferretti added that NRC is not able to provide information to state recycling officials as quickly as he would like.
The group wants to diversify its funding away from traditional sources, such as Environmental Protection Agency grants, Hubbard said.