To the editor:
As recent, former board members of the Cody Council On Aging at the Cody Senior Center, we would like to address several issues.
First, we have worked with former director Bonnie Emmett, and feel strongly that for the eight years she was director, she was honest, hardworking and dedicated to the Center and its members. As former employee Susan Jensen stated in her letter in the Dec. 12 Cody Enterprise, oversight of finances comes from several directions at the state and local level, and is very transparent. We never doubted Bonnie’s integrity, and feel our oversight was adequate.
Secondly, this fall when Bonnie was informed by new board chairman Terry Hinkle and the new board that there would be an internal audit due to “possible discrepancies,” she was uncomfortable turning over original invoices, checks, etc. Since Mr. Hinkle has served on the board for many years, including two of the three years being audited, it was inappropriate for him to be involved in the audit, let alone be the one to appoint the lay committee and conduct the audit (primarily off premises). The stress of the situation and the manner in which it was handled ultimately caused Ms. Emmett’s resignation.
Thirdly, Mr. Hinkle asserts that the recent problems with staff at the Senior Center are a result of the request for this audit. We disagree.
Tensions have been building ever since he returned to the board in 2018. Staff complained of him bullying and micromanaging, and we experienced at our meetings an anger and resentment toward us as well. In our opinion, the current board president used tactics to keep the board from making progress, was very short tempered, and fostered an atmosphere of divisiveness. As a result, nine valuable staff members have left, attendance at the Center is down and the board has been in turmoil.
We chose not to run again when our terms ended, and others have resigned. Although we each had personal reasons, the hostile environment on the board certainly was not conducive to wanting to remain.
The CCOA is a wonderful organization that serves an important function for the seniors in our community. The staff is very dedicated and honorable. We believe a change of board leadership is in order and wish the Center well.
(s) Nancy Tia Brown, Bill Crampton, Stephanie Weed
Former CCOA Board members