Rock in Prevention Loses $150K Grant from Polk County

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A long-time nonprofit that uses music to discourage bullying and drug use is under scrutiny after the Polk County Board of Supervisors received some conflicting information about the director’s salary.

On Tuesday, the Polk County Board of Supervisors pulled the plug on a $150,000 grant to Rock in Prevention. All five supervisors voted to rescind the grant.

Supervisors say the organization's executive director, Pat McManus, was not clear about how the money would be used.

“We just saw that it was too hard for us to fully grasp what was going to go into Rock and what was going to go into implementing this program throughout the school district, and so out of an abundance of caution we decided that we would pull back from this grant,” Supervisor Matt McCoy said.

Polk County Communications Specialist Jon Cahill said McManus told a grant administrator that his annual salary was $174,000. But tax documents for Rock in Prevention show a salary of more than $260,000, in addition to more than $180,000 of other compensation.

“We were concerned about the salary of the director and we were concerned about the method of payment. They used a third-party corporation to actually produce the videos and the director actually owned that company as well,” McCoy said.

McCoy said the supervisors did support the overall mission of the organization.

“We support the mission of anti-bullying, empathy in the classroom, trying to help kids that feel picked on find an opportunity for them to build up their morale, their self esteem. And, obviously, the anti-drug message and anti-bullying message as well I think are really good messages,” McCoy said.

Channel 13 News reached out to Rock in Prevention and Pat McManus via phone, email, Facebook and in person at their office and did not receive a response.

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