Editorial: What’s going on, YMCA?Published 4:41pm Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Something stinks at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, and it’s not the gym socks.
There’s certainly some dirty laundry, however.
It’s been nearly two weeks since word spread that employees in all levels of management were being axed as they arrived for their shifts. The most notable termination was that of 16-year executive director Bret Hendrie.
The buzz around the office water coolers — not to mention the gym — is, what is going on at the YMCA? A facility of 10,000 members in a
small community like Niles means many people have a stake in the YMCA, whether through membership or donations.
While firing employees is a normal part of any business — even a nonprofit — the manner in which they are conducted and magnitude of them is highly unusual. Nearly the entire staff of supervisors and managers was eliminated; most claim they had no idea they were going to lose their jobs. Terminations have continued since June 22 at the YMCA.
What is more perplexing than the staffing changes is the response — or lack thereof — from the board of directors.
A press release sent to media from board president Sara Bell — an attorney — and Hendrie indicated he resigned, as did some other victims of the staffing changes. While the release explained that services would continue as usual, it did not answer any questions about the terminations.
The board directors have also been instructed to keep their mouths shut.
The Star continues to interview current and former employees at the YMCA; some have gone on record, some will not and others eventually will. The one recurring theme is that no one knows for sure why the former employees are gone.
There are theories and talk of scandal, but until the YMCA confirms or denies anything, the stories remain purely gossip.
And unless the YMCA board decides to speak up, the rumor mill will continue to turn.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial board.