Salvation Army major suspended after audit shows irregularities
Paul Dodson, Tamaqua Hunger Walk chair, presents checks to Major Sharon Whispell of the Salvation Army. Also receiving checks were Pastor Rick Clemson of the American Primitive Methodist Church and Pastor Darryl Kensinger of Trinity United Church of Christ.
The local administrative officer of the Tamaqua Salvation Army, Maj. Sharon Whispell, is suspended after financial irregularities were discovered during an internal audit.
“The Salvation Army discovered financial irregularities in the management of the Tamaqua Corps Community Center,” a press release from the Salvation Army’s Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware division stated.
“Subsequent conversations with local vendors supported our findings. We are deeply disturbed by these developments and are taking them very seriously.”
The investigation has been turned over to Tamaqua Borough police, who could not comment on Friday.
Administrative officers have been appointed to oversee services in Tamaqua.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, The Salvation Army will not have further comment until its completion but we pledge to fully cooperate with the authorities in their investigation, to continue to serve this community with the highest integrity, and to ensure that all services we provide continue in full,” the press release continued.
Kelly Malone, executive director of the Schuylkill United Way, called the situation “sad.”
“It’s unfortunate when you’re trying to make an impact in a community and this kind of thing happens,” she said.
The Schuylkill United Way has suspended its monthly allocation payments to the Salvation Army of Tamaqua, which comes to $5,000.
“We will hold those funds until all facts surrounding the defalcation are made known to us, and we are assured that the appropriate preventative security measures have been implemented to prevent a re-occurrence of this nature,” Malone said.
“A decision will then be made at that time as to the disposition of the money being held.”
Malone said there is also emergency food and shelter funds Tamaqua will not be receiving during the investigation.
“They will have to come back and show us what has changed in their checks and balances before we release money to them again, and when you’re found to have been distrustful that could be a year or more,” Malone said by telephone Friday.