2 Nashua-based nonprofit groups getting contracts

Local organizations to receive state money despite concerns about auditing

GREENFIELD – Two Nashua recovery nonprofit organizations, Harbor Homes and the Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism, are getting state contracts worth millions of dollars.

On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu and members of the state Executive Council approved two contracts for Harbor Homes worth up to $5.3 million, and one for the Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism worth up to $300,000. They did so despite concerns raised by recent audits of these organizations. Sununu said audits of recovery organizations are now going to be routine.

“For years and years and years, we were handing out money to these organizations without oversight,” Sununu said. “We were handing money out and hoping for the best.”

The council met at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield on Wednesday as part of the traveling series of meetings. Crotched Mountain provides services for children and adults with disabilities.

Thomas Pristow, the deputy commissioner for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said recent audits of Harbor Homes and the Greater Nashua Council on Alcoholism discovered instances in which the organizations overcharged the state for services, in addition to poor record-keeping.

Pristow said plans are in place to provide more accountability for these organizations, and to remediate the issues found, such as overcharging.

“We won’t be in the same place next year,” Pristow told the council members.

Existing contracts will be reviewed, and more service providers will be under the state microscope going forward, Pristow said. State officials want to make sure there is transparency for these organizations that receive state contracts.

“Some of these providers are not used to that kind of oversight,” Pristow said.

Sununu wants to avoid a repeat of what happened to Serenity Place in Manchester, the drug treatment facility that was forced to declare bankruptcy earlier this year.

“That’s a tragedy and we want to make sure that does not happen again,” Sununu said.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.