William C. McNeill has something to say.
As a radio show host, blogger and preacher, he ought to. As a member of the community grappling with the issue of fair play seen most often through the lens of racism as it relates to the Mosaic Cultural Complex controversy, he seems compelled.
“What I’ve learned so far is I need to do some soul searching,” he wrote in a post dated Feb. 2 on his blog, The TruthIt Knews!. “And I also need to ALWAYS remind myself there’s 2 sides to every story. And while I certainly don’t think Mosaic is absolved of all wrong doing [sic], they certainly aren’t this group of ‘hustlers’.”
McNeill launched his blog in 2015 as an outlet for commentary on events happening in Worcester and around the country. He wrote his post last week in the wake of a Worcester Sun report on the city putting a halt to reimbursement payments to the grassroots organization while a new contract around the state-sponsored grant is hashed out and a state Attorney General review is pending.
McNeill, a 1996 Doherty Memorial High School graduate, has worked as a preacher at Bay State Chapel in Worcester the past four years. He is also, since June, co-host of Worcester’s Positive Impact Show on Flava 105.5 FM, a reggae and hip-hop pirate radio station that was ordered shut down by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010 but is still broadcasting.
“I saw the [Worcester Sun] story about Mosaic being audited again. I know some people at Mosaic, and I thought the foundations of Mosaic were something to at least take a look at,” McNeill said.
He wrote his first blog covering the issues facing the organization — “Mosaic: Is it time for the Blacit Card?” — with a level-headedness and glint of insight not often associated with blog entries, or opinions in general, related to the embattled nonprofit.
McNeill said Tuesday, Feb. 9, he knows Michael Jerry but none of the other workers or administrators linked to Mosaic.
Later in the post, he says, “Michael Jerry was accused of being a fraud and a thief and should be investigated,” before attempting to rebut timesheet evidence oft-advanced by Councilor at-large Michael T. Gaffney and antagonistic [though often validated] city blogger Turtleboy Sports.
McNeill ends his post this way: “Is Mosaic absolved of any wrong doing? I doubt it. And I disagree with many of them on many an issue. [But] I think it’s really unfortunate if Mosaic is the casualty of this war.”
We asked McNeill to share more of his perspectives on Mosaic and how he thought Mosaic’s issues affect minority-led organizations in Worcester.
How long have you been following what’s going on with Mosaic, and what are your general thoughts in regards to its situation?
“I’ve been following it since day one when I read the first blog on Turtleboy Sports. I actually like Turtleboy’s articles. Before the Kelley Square four incident happened and Turtleboy really took notice of them, I was reading Turtleboy Sports stuff about the Patriots. I do still read his stuff and I have nothing against him personally either.”
Do you think Mosaic is getting a bad rap due to the concern of how they’re handling their payroll? From what we’ve covered, Mosaic is supposed to be submitting their payroll records every three months along with their check registers. And they weren’t doing that.
“If that’s the reason they weren’t getting their money, then absolutely they should be looked at. My point is that Turtleboy would put something up on a blog, and then immediately Gaffney would call for an audit or suggest there is fraud or criminal activity.”
It’s been well-documented that the Kelley Square protesters met at Mosaic prior to blocking the difficult intersection for more than four minutes. What are your thoughts on that affiliation?
“If they all met at the building before they went out and blocked Kelley Square…even if they did say the prayer, that’s fine. I don’t think they should be confronted or called criminals. It’s a lot of hyperbole.”
What do you think about the city’s decision to ask for assistance from the Attorney General’s office to look into payments made to Mosaic?
“I don’t have a problem with them asking the Attorney General. I personally think they should’ve done the audit first and investigate on their own more. I do think they need more evidence than what’s posted on a blog.
“It’s become a personal vendetta of Michael Gaffney. I don’t think the City Council should be having personal vendettas against people. They’re supposed to be supporting people.
“I don’t think he did, but let’s say Michael Jerry did falsify his timesheet, and purposely try to get paid for work he didn’t do – then have Mosaic fire him.
“If they did do something wrong, then they should be held accountable. It just seems like the timing is wrong. When people that follow a blog are against you and they have City Council members that back up everything they say, then there’s no voice for other people that happen to not agree with them.”
What do you think this situation does for minority-led nonprofits and human service organizations in this city and state?
“I think it’s unfortunate that everything Mosaic could have done was not done. People of color are under a larger microscope, especially when they are accused of being part of Black Lives Matter.
“If you speak up against the system and you speak out against its leaders, and at the same time you’re getting grant money from the system and the city’s leaders, then you need to make sure you have all of your paperwork and everything else right.”