What Really Happened - DCARA Board’s Side of the Story
(Shared by Steve Longo)
2/19/2019 – DCARA Board meeting
A workshop by Rosa Lee Timm on “Image” was presented at the DCARA Board meeting per her request. The board gladly participated. Rosa Lee emphasized the importance of the board having a professional image and being careful what they say at all times because they represent the agency 24/7. When she said that, some of us wondered why this statement was made and if there was an issue with one of us not representing DCARA properly. When Jerry Grigsby asked her if anyone on the Board did something improper, she did not respond. We found it suspicious and later learned that Raymond knew something we didn’t that was not shared with us. If there was an issue of concern, Raymond could have requested an Executive Session with the Board so we address the problem right away, but this was never done. DCARA also had available grievance procedures and a complaint form that an employee or concerned community member could fill out but those procedures were never followed nor was a complaint form submitted. Not knowing what the issue of concern was, did not help us. We had no idea that this issue would eventually blow out of proportion and become the nightmare that it is.
2/22/2019 - DCARA Board and Staff Meet and Greet Night
The Executive Director knew there would be a meeting after meet and greet scheduled between the staff and board members but he failed to inform the board the date it was to take place. So, when Judy Gough, President of the Board, was asked to sit in front of multicultural group unaware after the non POC employees were asked to leave, she was ambushed by the POC employees while Raymond Rodgers sat nearby watching and few board members were stunned. The meeting was coordinated by Rosa Lee Timm. When we learned that the event was recorded, the Board requested that the tape be released so we could review it and determine what the issues were. However, Joey Moss, DCC manager, asked Raymond for permission but he said no. Eventually a short-edited clip was shown to Jerry Grigsby and Alison Amble (community member) by Rosa Lee Timms. Jerry Grigsby is the only board member that has seen the clip so the rest of the board has not seen this video to fully understand what took place.
2/24/2019 – DCARA Board Executive meeting
Judy Gough, President, called for a closed session so she could share her vlog that the POCs (employees and community members) were upset about. It was a personal video message for Sam Holden, who happened to be her friend and the President of NorCal. She was concerned for Sam and mentioned that she as DCARA President and Sam as NorCal President needed to be accountable to the community they serve. The few employees that did watch it, believed Judy misused her role as Board President on the vlog. The video was posted on Facebook and shown for 30 minutes before it was removed. Judy’s intention was to share her concerns about Sam’s lashing out to her family and the members of ROAR. She removed it when she realized that it should have been private between her and Sam. However, the POC staff felt the vlog was inappropriate and demanded immediate removal of Judy as board President and member and demanded a public apology from the rest of the board who had nothing to do with the vlog nor knew of its existence until that night. The board met with Judy and she agreed to recuse herself while they look into the matter. Then Steve Longo, as one of the past Presidents of DCARA, was asked to contact an attorney that DCARA had worked with in the past. When the name and contact information was located, an attorney secured. The board then requested that Steve serve as a communication facilitator between the attorney and the board. Steve agreed to volunteer his time to assist with the communication.
3/4/2019 – Investigation
Board met and reviewed the facts. At lawyer’s advice, we decided to hire an investigator to gather facts relevant what happened on February 22. We also agreed to put Raymond on paid suspension until investigation is over so we can agree on what action we will take.
3/13/2019 – DCARA Board president
After several meetings and discussions through electronic means (Email, Glide, and Marco Polo) and with consultants and a lawyer to reach a decision to have Board president resign, she did at Rona’s advice with the intention to calm things down.
Ongoing – Staff protest
The Board has sent all evidence on staff protests by videos and posts to the lawyer so she can put them all together. They had main concern regarding the leaks since the staff apparently learned of Board’s actions before they happened, such as the firing of the Executive Director, the closing of two positions, and so forth, but they have a suspicion. Mary, a former staff, told us the staff had broken several policies by protesting and by demanding the Board’s resignation so they were wondering why some of the staff were afraid of the investigation.
Discussion with Raymond Rodgers
Board had asked Raymond how he would feel if we agreed to let him return to work. He said he will have a hard time trusting the Board. Board felt the same way about him because of his actions of not sharing critical information that would have prevented the whole thing from escalating. He agreed to look at our offer and then submitted his counteroffer to the Board with his list of requests. Since the Board was his supervisor a counteroffer was unacceptable. One of his requests was to suspend the bylaws which is illegal. Then he said that our request for mandatory meeting was invalid because it was after his work hours (see 2/25/2019 section). That is not true, as a meeting can be held at any time, particularly with an exempt employee. He apologized for the unfortunate situation and agreed to the fact that a lot of mistakes were made.
Discussion with Management Team
The Board had stated to Raymond for not doing his job as ED properly but he kept avoiding those issues. David Kerr requested to have Raymond returned before DCARA staff reaches a breaking point and have DCARA closed. Jerry suggested having the Board hire an Interim ED but MT declined. Patty said that it will take months to teach ED how DCARA finances work. All were afraid that we will sue each other to a point where there wouldn’t enough funding to cover legal fees if not covered by liability insurance, however, the discussion was very good so we should have a bi-weekly meeting to keep MT informed of Board’s progress.
Raymond did not follow the Bylaws regarding communication chain and the investigation also had said the same thing. He knew the staff was upset with the Board but chose not to share the information.
We want a strong ED who can work with the Board in the best interests of the organization.
This has been a learning experience as we continue to serve our diverse community. Again, we value the community but we have to stand by truth, have trust, and follow the Bylaws.
Jerry shared DCARA’s our Values statement #7: Each of us self-identifies in different ways; thus, we model mutual courtesy and respect of each of our identities. We strive to learn from each other and support each other’s learning processes when we make mistakes.
Approved by DCARA attorney as revised.