Sandy Hook families want administrator for charity fund

By: Dirk Perrefort

Several family members who spoke to The News-Times Wednesday, on the condition of anonymity, said an informal survey conducted more than two weeks ago found that out of 38 families contacted — a number that includes the families of children who escaped the shooter and two individuals who were injured — all but one believe a single administrator should handle the distribution of the money.

That information was provided to the governor’s office and officials with the United Way, family members said, prior to the flurry of letters and announcement that funds would be released.

Morgan said that members of the foundation’s board, of which she is a non-voting, ex-officio member, have been meeting with family members and “those discussions are private in respect to those attending.”

An official with the governor’s office said Wednesday that administration officials have been in contact with family members and are aware of the results of the informal survey.

According to documents obtained by The News-Times, the governor’s office had been in contact with Feinberg in the days following the Sandy Hook shooting.

An email obtained by The News-Times was sent by Feinberg, at the governor’s request, to United Way officials on Dec. 18.

Feinberg states in the letter that while the United Way, “has great credibility and a track record of success in assisting citizens of local communities,” it may not be the best vehicle to distribute the money because of possible conflicts with the nonprofits’ “ongoing charter and mission.”

At least one family member who spoke to The News-Times said that because of questions of how much money the families should receive and how much should be used for longterm community needs, representatives from neither group should have a say in the final decision.

Feinberg noted that “time is of the essence,” when it comes to distributing the funds and that he’s offered his services previously pro-bono with no request for out-of-pocket expenses.

Morgan said Wednesday that the United Way and the foundation, “want to be as responsible and responsive as possible to the families,” as the process moves forward.

She added that distribution committees have yet to be formed by the foundation because board members are still in the process of speaking to impact groups to get their opinion on the makeup of those committees.

“We want to make sure their voices are in the room,” she said, adding that meetings with family members will be held later this week.

The foundation’s announcement Tuesday said the $4 million will be distributed to 40 impacted families, including those of the 26 killed at the school, the 12 students who fled classrooms where the shootings occurred and the two who were injured.

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