Where were the questions about New Horizons?

The financial troubles of New Horizons Family Center have been well documented, exposing a major weakness at City Hall, where the nonprofit enjoyed a seemingly favored status in asking for money to help fund ambitious expansion plans.

No one can deny that plans to expand the nonprofit center to include a new building — increasing capacity to accommodate growing demand among low-income families for after-school child development — was a good cause, but there are many in the nonprofit sector.

In deciding to appropriate limited city and federal grant funding to New Horizons, despite clear signs that the nonprofit was precariously weak, other groups lost out on what could have been vital money during a time when private-sector donations fell.

Which begs the question: In an age of thick bureaucratic oversight, how were the signs missed? All of the information showing New Horizons was in no position to deliver on its promises to city officials was either public information — filed at City Hall, no less — or obtainable by a few phone calls.

Clearly, the process was too lax, and New Horizons enjoyed so much political support that officials felt it reasonable to overlook, cross their fingers and hope. Either way, it is now incumbent on city officials to ensure that more transparency and oversight are built into the process so that this sort of mess doesn't happen again.

To do that, they have a responsibility to report on why vital questions into New Horizons were never asked or pursued, which would have kept the city from boarding a train to nowhere in the first place.

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