If you want to run an organization out of business (Texas GOP take note), just put Allen West in charge. Dallas’ National Center for Policy Analysis NCPA is a cautionary tale of sorts. It’s where spectacular mismanagement can brought an organization to its knees, no matter how old or respected it was. The NCPA, a nonprofit and free-market think tank, had certainly gained respect during its 34 years.
The NCPA hired West to be its new CEO in 2014, causing West to relocate to Dallas. West told the Dallas Business Journal that the board tasked him with growing the think tank to a $20 million organization by 2020 from approximately $5 million to $7 million now.
However, not long after West took charge, a CFO was hired who wound up embezzling more than $600,000 from the group. In fact, a few months after his hiring, the financial officer got sentenced to 10 years’ probation stemming from a felony conviction in another embezzlement case. Great vetting by West!
Understandably, the NCPA really began to suffer financially. Leadership changes were desperately needed. So, after just one year, West got demoted from CEO to “executive director” to make room for the former CEO of Mail Boxes Etc., was brought in to serve as president and chief executive. But the new help came too late, as the group continued struggling financially; with just $2.6 million in revenue and expenses totaling $3.5 million — leaving it $932,580 in the red for the fiscal year ending in September 2015. That’s a far cry from the $20 million West was supposed to attain for NCPA.
When the group closed its doors in mid-2017, West was full of excuses — just like he was after losing his job at PJ Media and losing his seat in Congress before that. On taking the CEO job at NCPA, West promised that, “Once I get some experience under my belt, everything will exponentially take off.” Well, that’s the exact opposite of what happened. The organization which championed Health Savings Accounts, Roth IRAs, and automatic enrollment in 401(k)s is no longer in existence.
Even worse, the organization planned to sell its assets, including its intellectual property, research archives and analytical models. But instead, thanks to lousy leadership by you-know-who, “35 years of public policy research disappeared from the Internet” because “the NCPA directors (including executive director and board vice chairman Allen West) made no attempt whatsoever to copy them or preserve them in any way. That means they were accessible only through their URL addresses. Virtually all the NCPA documents existed only online. Because the links no longer worked, these documents were no longer widely disseminated and widely used. They literally disappeared from the Internet.” Lousy leadership by West saw the website for the NCPA become a domain name sold to a pharmacist association. So, when the pharmacists converted ncpa.org to their own use (thereby automatically severing all other think tank-related links), all the links described above were destroyed. Way to go, Allen West.