Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 9:27 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seniors have questions, no answers

I've become quite concerned about the revolving door history with the executive directors of the Homer Senior Center after the recent dismissal of Sue Samet. As a result, I've attempted to determine the specific reasons for her dismissal starting with a review of the board minutes. To my surprise, the minutes contain nothing negative about her performance.

Instead, her reports were consistently accepted and there were several occasions where she was praised for work; she was even given a Christmas bonus.

Even more puzzling was the manner in which her dismissal was handled. It occurred at a special board meeting, not a regularly scheduled meeting, at a time when the president was absent. This raises a host of questions: Was the dismissal based upon fraud or malfeasance, something with potential legal ramifications? Or, was it something petty, such as a new policy like having a happy hour for residents? Was she notified of any performance deficiencies and given an opportunity to improve? Was the scheduling of the special meeting meant to circumvent the chairman's presence?

If her dismissal was an arbitrary or petty act by the board, when added to our history of revolving door directors, it speaks poorly of our ability to attract and retain good directors in the future. I suggest the dismissal be reviewed again by the full board and, absent a major cause for dismissal, she be reinstated and her performance be thoroughly documented.

Other questions needing answers:

1. On April 18, I presented to President Keene and the board of directors a proposal to be put on the annual meeting agenda. I understand it was discussed and denied in the April 19 board meeting. I found nothing in the minutes to substantiate that action. Was it considered and if so why was it denied and not in the minutes?

2. As a result, I made a second request on May 5 to President Keene and the board of directors that a place be inserted in the annual meeting agenda following the reading of the previous year's annual meeting minutes to allow members a time to express their thoughts, suggestions, motions and recommendations for the good of the Homer Senior Center. Will the board permit this?

3. Was the president of the board in town, notified and present at the special board meeting on March 19? It appears from the minutes this is the meeting the board decided to fire Ms. Samet, but since no action was taken another special meeting on March 23 was called. The president of the board was out of town. This was the meeting in which Ms. Samet was dismissed without a 30-day written notice to her and all members of the board.

4. Had the board president consulted with Ms. Samet prior to his planned vacation to see if there were any questions or problems that needed to be discussed prior to his return?

5. Who prompted the calling of this special meeting? Were board members notified by mail or telephone of the purpose of the meeting?

I know the board members only through the senior center and not socially. I also believe all members of the board are good people, who probably believe in God and apple pie. The problem is that good people don't always make good corporate decisions.

If the board does not offer Ms. Samet her job back, I hoped the selection process for a new director is not tainted by an insider deal. I hope all members of the senior center will attend the annual meeting today to get some answers to our questions.

George Meeker