Lawyer for DCARA Responds

DCARA board has been unable to speak on behalf of the board so The Deaf Report contacted Rona Layton, their attorney for a public statement regarding what has been happening with the board and their progress. This is the letter that The Deaf Report received. (The letter has been published with explicit permission from Rona Layton)

Written and Received on April 9, 2019

Trisha,

Thank you for your email.  

For background, let me state that I have done work with the DCARA Board and several Executive Directors very irregularly for a long time, sometimes going many years without hearing from them.

I do not pretend to know all that is happening in DCARA right now, but I believe that any organization in turmoil has an obligation to do an investigation, and the DCARA Board correctly decided to do that.  As an aside, I did see The Deaf Report article "DCARA Hires Questionable Investigator and Ignores Staff Requests", and I think it was extremely unfortunately titled.  Ms. DeBacker is a very well-respected attorney and investigator, and is someone in whom I have a great deal of confidence.  It is inappropriate and offensive to call her "questionable".

Investigations are not always quick, but thoroughness, not speed, should be the goal.  The Board would likely have been chastised had it not engaged an investigator, and it should not be criticized for doing the right thing by bringing Ms. DeBacker in. I am not sure why staff is unwilling to wait until the Board makes decisions based on the findings, but I hope they will be patient.

As a final note, the Board has proposed bringing in a mediator to help DCARA move forward.  I hope that will happen, as it is clear that a lot of healing will be necessary. Every nonprofit organization requires both a Board of Directors and staff to function. I am not aware of staff agreeing to participate in mediation yet, but I do believe it is in everyone's best interest to do so.  

Best regards,

Rona Layton

(DCARA Staff announced on “Accountability Now DCARA” that there will be a protest today from 4-7 PM on April 10, 2019.)

Description from Layton Law Firm the law firm representing DCARA.

“For more than 25 years, Ms. Layton has been practicing employment law representing management interests. A graduate of the Santa Clara University School of Law, she specializes in serving small- to medium-sized businesses and nonprofit corporations. For more than a quarter century, she has been dealing with the issues that affect employers, ranging from employee relations to personnel policieswage-and-hour matters to harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination. “