McAllen commissioner resigns from local nonprofit amid conflict of interest claims

Local News
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Comfort House in McAllen will soon need a new executive director, after city commissioner Veronica Whitacre announced her resignation.

February 07 2021 06:00 pm

Comfort House in McAllen will soon need a new executive director, after city commissioner Veronica Whitacre announced her resignation.

McAllen district 6 commissioner Veronica Whitacre resigned as executive director of Comfort House, a local nonprofit that provides hospice services for terminally ill patients, after she applied for federal funding for the local non-profit organization.

“Because I am an elected official, anybody as an elected official cannot receive federal funding,” Whitacre said. “Because of that, last year they applied and we were denied. We applied a little bit late. We had a few deficiencies, and that’s ok.”

Whitacre says in the 28 years the hospice facility has opened their doors to the community, the city of McAllen and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have given them funding.

However, that changed once Whitacre was hired in 2015– when the city commission debated about funding the facility, claiming it was a conflict of interest.

“My first year, which was last year, I applied for the city of McAllen and I got some controversy and rightfully so,” said Whitacre. “Yes, and no, but I accepted it and I stayed here and made a difference.”

This year Whitacre took another chance by once again requesting money for the agency, despite the fact that she was still its executive director while on the city commission.

“I never realized that there would be so much controversy,” said Whitacre. “Again, I did not apply for money for me. I applied for money for my staff and I applied for money for operations for Comfort House, and so because of that, I’m saddened.”

The organization operates solely on monetary donations, including Community Development Block Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This time, Whitacre was unsuccessful after the city commission mentioned it was a conflict of interest.

Whitacre’s last day at the facility is Friday.

As the McAllen city commission holds workshops for the next budget year, commissioners will need to discuss how to distribute funds for the organization as part of the upcoming fiscal year budget.

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