By Samantha Poteet
San Leandro, CA - On the evening of May 21, 2019, there was a full house at the public Board meeting hosted at Deaf Community Center. The three Board members present were Tom Murillo, Jerry Grigsby, and Rosalyn Roz Ramos. Because the Board was unable to meet the quorum for an official meeting, the present Board members invoked an executive session and went in the back room to have a private discussion. An hour and 15 minutes later, at 7:15 p.m., the meeting started.
The Board presented a timeline from their perspective, including the investigation results; the purpose of the investigation was to find out what happened leading up to that night on February 22.
The Board stated that Raymond Rodgers was terminated due to a violation of bylaws (more specifically, the lack of communication) and the lack of strong leadership skills.
Rosa Lee Timm and Raymond Rodgers were given the opportunity to present the same timeline from their perspectives, including some corrections and clarification.
Community members questioned the Board’s stance that Rodgers was not demonstrating leadership skills, endorsed Rodgers’ work, and stated that Rodgers should be reinstated.
In response to one question about the possibility of two positions being closed (Rosa Lee Timm’s and Susan Gonzales’ positions), Board member Grigsby stated that the Board decided not to close them.
The Board acknowledged that they made several mistakes, and each individual Board member made a public apology on the stage.
The Board’s official decision was announced and finalized in the form of a signed contract between the Board, DCARA’s management team, and Raymond Rodgers, effective immediately.
As of May 22, 2019, exactly 90 days since the ordeal began, Raymond Rodgers is officially reinstated as the Executive Director.
Liann Osborne, who has previously served as a President on the Board, will be taking over as interim Board President.
A transition plan is in place for the recruitment of new Board members to replace the existing Board members’ positions and fill other vacancies by September 17, 2019.
The transition plan includes the establishment of a committee to screen candidates and ensure that the new Board is truly representative of the diverse local Deaf communities. According to the management team at DCARA, the contract states that the committee includes two Board members, two current employees, and two community members preferably from the following organizations: the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocates [BABDA], the Bay Area Asian Deaf Association [BAADA], or the California Latinx Deaf Advocates [CLDA].
Cheers filled the room when the signed contractual agreement was announced, putting an end to the three-month-long saga. After the announcement, Judy Gough requested and was granted permission to come upon the stage and share her side on how the situation unfolded up to the Board’s timeline. The meeting wrapped up shortly afterwards.
A new chapter of healing has begun for DCARA, with Raymond Rodgers back at the helms. As stated in the Board’s most recent vlog, “Let’s heal together.”