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At CRVA, no news may be the best news

Organization no longer issues monthly reports for venues

We understand why folks at the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority might be tired of the pattern they see with the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Each month, the CRVA has released a report on attendance and finances for the Hall. Most months, those reports are disappointing. The Observer reports those results. The public is reminded of the wildly optimistic revenue and attendance projections the Hall hasn’t met.

Such is what happens when you get your funding from the public, which deserves to know how its investment is doing. Now, however, the CRVA apparently has decided it’s best not to tell. The Observer’s Steve Harrison reported Friday that the CRVA no longer reports detailed monthly financial statements for the Hall and other city-owned buildings. Revenue is instead reported for the entire organization, and expenses are no longer separated by venue.

The changes will make it hard for the public to tell if the Hall – or other city-owned buildings – are doing poorly. CRVA chief executive Tom Murray says the new accounting structure better represents shared resources, and that he doesn’t want his departments working in “silos.” That’s probably a good management philosophy, but it’s not a philosophy that’s transparent. Given the CRVA’s recent history of spending misdeeds, ethics missteps and a resistance to confronting those problems, we think that the public’s comfort should be a higher priority.

Murray, who replaced former CEO Tim Newman last December, suggested that he would bring a new way of doing things to the CRVA. We welcomed that fresh start, but this isn’t the kind of difference we had in mind.

Perdue’s pre-K order

We’re relieved that thousands more 4-year-olds who had been turned away now stand to enroll in the state’s pre-kindergarten program. We’re puzzled, though, that Gov. Bev Perdue, in issuing an executive order this week to make that happen, couldn’t explain where the $20 million would come from.

Perdue said she found “projected unspent funds” in the Department of Health and Human Services. But a Perdue spokesman said it was not clear which divisions or programs would be giving up the money. That’s information we would think would be obvious before a governor would want to make such a move.

Beyond that reservation, we applaud Perdue’s goal. Due in part to legislative cuts, 7,000 fewer 4-year-olds are in the state’s pre-K program than were two years ago. That’s 7,000 at-risk kids who will enter kindergarten less prepared and are likely to struggle more going forward. That’s a path that ultimately will be more expensive for the state.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning has ordered the legislature to undo some of its pre-K cuts, and a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. It’s time for legislative leaders to end their futile fight and do the right thing.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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