Board Accountability with DCARA: Steve Longo Shares DCARA Board Timeline
(Bald head man in black shirt against brick wall)
Hello, hello, I’m Steve Longo.
Notice the timeline was posted prior to this is DCARA Board’s perspective. (Link Included here)
The Board already shared and explained on May 21. Also, the Board already voted to make that timeline shared on May 21 public. As part of transparency, posting on social media which is FaceBook would be the best way.
The reason for this VLOG is to cover the scope of my perspective, clarifications, and some things that you may not know.
Before I go into details, you may wonder why the timeline hasn’t been posted the past four months. Main reasons were that DCARA Fiasco as it is called has affected the board real bad and they were exhausted, tired and didn’t have the energy so they put it on hold and not to deal with anything more until now they are ready and able to allow the timeline to be posted.
Also, some of the board members were and still are dealing with health issues, which a lot was a result of the fiasco.
The timeline that is recently posted was approved by DCARA’s attorney based on the facts and assurance that confidential information was not released out of respect to Staff and Board. Remember still that it is the Board’s perspective. Although there are other facts and viewpoints such as staff’s and Judy Gough’s and others. Still, it’s their perspective
Also, for 4 months now, we have received the updated information. At this point, we don’t know when or if the Board will release the updated information.
Now I will start getting into the clarifications which I hope will help minimize the confusion, wrong information, and dispute some rumors.
First clarification: What’s my role?
A. As the past president but technically, it belongs to Dave Martin however he is still serving on board in another capacity so role falls to me. I was happy to help the Board by being the communication facilitator between the Board and the attorney who I had worked with during my term as president in the past. The attorney only communicates with one person so the Board had chosen me.
B. I provide legal and parliamentary procedure advice not controlling the Board as some had claimed. Still, the decisions are the Board, not mine to make. The reason for helping the Board is because I care about DCARA. Also, some are friends of mine.
If you remembered I had worked with the attorney in the past but the rumors had it that I socialize and am a good friend of the attorney and investigator. Untrue. I have never met them at all. I do not personally know them. Since the multicultural committee within the staff has made demands from the Board and accused the Board president also racism was thrown in so the Board was taken back and contacted the attorney which was when I was asked on how to resolve the situation with multicultural committee within the staff and the Board president. Rona, the attorney advised the board to hire legal investigator whose job was to gather the facts and review the transcript from the VLOG by Board president, Bylaws, Board policies and procedures, employee handbook, social media policy, and others plus interviews to help the Board to make a right decision toward resolution.
The investigator asked who to interview so I suggested with board agreement to interview 5 people: Board president who had recused from the duties, Executive Director who was on paid leave, 2 members of the multicultural committee, and 1 staff. Then later at the advice of an attorney to calm things down, the Board president resigned but peace did not happen. The vice president assumed the interim president role which was a difficult task for him to take upon and did not do well on handling the crisis because the pressure was extreme. No board members had experience in handling this so they had to follow legal advice which was to wait till the investigation is over.
Yes, the process took a long time and the investigator told me the reason for that is she had a hard time scheduling with some of them especially with one staff was giving the demand that the investigator can’t agree on so it took some time before she decided to eliminate that staff from the interview process.
While waiting, some staff and few community members were impatient and started accusing the Board of doing nothing or something that they did not do in VLOGS which was in violation of social media policy by some staff that they had signed to acknowledge that they read the policy when hired. Also, there was a grievance procedure in the book that was not followed through.
The investigation report was completed in early April and the board had read through it and found that some of the Bylaws were violated and poor judgment was made. DCARA’s grievance policy and the procedure were not followed. To date, NO grievance was filed and it is a BIG problem.
While the Board was working on a resolution, I agreed that the waiting was a bit too long with no resolution on hand. Jeff Lewis who had given training to the staff in the past contacted me on how we can get this resolved. After talking for a bit, we agreed that 4 steps approach would help DCARA staff and Board move forward.
1) Acknowledge and/or identify the issues
2) Own up and apologize for mistakes.
3) Develop an action plan to resolve the issues with the timeframe.
4) Start the healing process by training and such. Jeff agreed so I talked with Raymond Rogers about this and he agreed and was willing to meet with the Board toward resolution. Then I asked the Board and they agreed to meet with him and they met. The timeline explains the rest.
Third clarification: rumors were that the board consisted of elites, stuck up members which is totally false. The Board is compiled of community-based members like you who VOLUNTEER their time and money to support DCARA and that the Bylaws is the “laws” of a non-profit organization seriously. Without Bylaws, the non-profit agency spirit out of control and shutdown
Fourth clarification: some people have perceived the Board as do-nothing Board which is untrue. The Board was involved in many projects. Remember the food truck - Tilden Café? and CQ - interpreter services from Santa Rosa? We were involved a lot on the planning and meetings. For instance, Judy, Dave, Ray, and I drive up Santa Rosa to meet with them. Remember Ray was working while we gave up our time on a volunteer basis. It took months before we finally purchased it. The same goes for the Trolley. It was a lot of work and some of you didn’t know. Then to discredit and bully the Board especially the Board President, Judy. That to me is disrespectful and awful so please recognize and appreciate their work. Those of you who attacked the Board please apologize to them.
In the closing, I noticed mistakes were made by Staff, Board, and the Community however I do not see the board violate any Bylaws.
Remember if fiasco occurs, it’s essential to know both sides of the story FIRST before passing judgment and do NOT rely on social media such as FaceBook to get the facts because we know some of those who create distorted truth and lies stir up trouble. Just be cautious.
We want the best for DCARA today and tomorrow.
Thank you for watching.