The Case for Background Checks

Most corporations, the military and other government offices, before hiring an officer or executive, do a local and national background check, a credit check and a personal reference check before considering hiring anyone. The military does this even before a person is chosen to attend officer candidate schools.  This process commences with a person’s application for a position.  These employment steps create an organization of trust.  Personnel “risk” management is a required leadership function from the time of application and hiring, to separation. Diamondhead’s membership, (you and me), should insist on this vetting process for electing our POA Officers, Directors and Staff. Diamondhead’s POA, as a multi-million dollar Non-Profit Corporation, could benefit by requiring the same risk-management techniques in electing officers, directors and hiring employees, as used by For-Profit Corporations.  It could save the POA time, frustration and money.

The temptation to use executive power, physical, financial or legal, over membership’s rights, has reared its ugly head in our Diamondhead POA several times in the recent and not so recent past.  Here are some real examples of moral, ethical and professional misconduct of past officers of the Diamondhead POA Board. You can check these facts for yourself…they are public record.

Donald J. Kraemer became the president of the POA after moving to Diamondhead.  Mr. Kraemer, as an Attorney at Law, was disciplined by the State of Wisconsin Supreme Court for having unsolicited sexual contact with a female client, and the neglect of a legal matter. See No. 94-2563-D State of Wisconsin, filed May 1, 1996.

Alvin Cronvich, preparing to run for a 5th term as Sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, was indicted in 1979, on charges of conspiring to “bug” telephones of suspects in investigations over a two and half year period.  He actually tapped the phone of at least, two people in Terrytown, LA.  After pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges, he was fined $2,000 and was spared prison time only because of a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office requiring Cronvich to resign. He promptly moved to Diamondhead, ran and was elected twice president of Diamondhead’s POA.

After Cronvich, Diamondhead elected at least two more POA Presidents who displayed their leadership abilities:

 Thurman Williams, (2008 time frame) in a heated discussion with a contractor, followed the contractor outside the office and assaulted the contractor. Williams was arrested, found guilty and fined in Justice Court of Hancock County.

Currently sitting on the POA Board of Directors as ex-officio,

Elton Marshall Kyger, assaulted an seventy year old woman, after an open Board meeting.  Mr. Kyger was arrested, found guilty and fined in a the Justice Court of Hancock County.

Not just officers of the Board are guilty of misuse of executive power.

Paul Montjoy, worked a number of years for Diamondhead’s original developer before being hired as Diamondhead’s General Manager.  His employment with the POA was terminated in 1996 for cause. He sued the POA for wrongful termination and won in a local Court of Law.  The POA appealed to the Mississippi Court of Appeals.  After the Court of Appeals reviewed a long list of Montjoy’s failure to follow POA policies and malfeasance of duty, the Court of Appeals found that the POA’s termination of Mr. Montjoy was proper.  The Supreme Court overturned the lower Court’s decision.  See: Case 1998-CA-01254-COA  Decided: July 25, 2000

Still unexplained is the sudden resignation of the recent General Manager, Scott Erwin.  What is the secret story behind his sudden and unexpected departure?

These above cases are just some of the reasons the POA needs a strong vetting process for election of board members, and before the hiring of any employee.  This lack of vetting is how membership keeps repeating mistakes in choosing people to serve Diamondhead.

The community deserves better.

About the Author

Gary Longanecker
Gary Longanecker is a retired Naval Officer after 22 years of Naval service. He served as the Commanding Officer, Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, Fresno, California. In 1971, he drafted the original document that was used to reorganize the Naval Surface Reserve into the force that augments the Regular Navy today. During this assignment his main job was to manage nationally twelve Naval Reserve personnel training programs that consisted of 33,000 personnel and developed these program’s training requirements. In the mid-1970s, He served as Commanding Officer, Naval Facility, Grand Turk, BWI. This facility’s mission is classified. In the early 1980’s, He served as the Director of Man Power for the Eleventh Naval District located in San Diego, California. The Eleventh Naval District area of responsibility covers the Southern half of California and the states of Arizona and Nevada. While in that position, Gary had the honor to lead the number one rated Naval Recruiting organization in the nation. During that assignment he changed and improved the national policy of how new recruits are assigned their Naval billets. He was specifically chosen by the Secretary of the Navy’s’ office to redesign the methods and put in place the procedures to recall Naval Reservists and Naval Retired Personnel to active duty in time peril which required rapid movement of personnel. His civilian employment involved aviation and real estate. He was the Senior Executive Vice President for Sizeler Property Investors, a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that traded on the New York Stock Exchange. He held the positions as Director of Human Resources and Director of Risk Management.