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October 10, 2010; Source: Bradenton Herald | The Manatee County Rural Health Services has recruited a politically well-connected board of directors plus one or two well-positioned staff members and consultants. Undoubtedly, that helps with MCRH’s ability to secure government funding, though it’s not exactly obvious how hiring the retired Manatee County sheriff as a fundraiser and marketer for MCRH’s foundation arm actually works (maybe he had time to pick up his CFRE certification during his 23-year stint as sheriff).

Is anything wrong with this, especially since most of the pols and ex-pols in the organization are unpaid board members? One side might argue, this is how a sharp nonprofit has to function nowadays given the nonprofit competition for scarce public and philanthropic dollars. The other side might be, as one person commented on the Bradenton Herald site, that this is a toxic “old boys” (and a couple of old girls as well, apparently) club, and that has to spell trouble. Is this the fragrance of a politically smart and savvy nonprofit or the odor of a politicians likely to abuse the public trust?—Rick Cohen