YMCA reputation not harmed, says directorPublished 7:25pm Sunday, September 9, 2012
The Niles-Buchanan YMCA’s leadership transition, in which several employees either resigned or were let go in June, hasn’t harmed the YMCA’s image or reputation, according to interim executive director Mark Weber.
Weber said he was expecting to hear lots of questions about the leadership transition when he took over as executive director in mid-July. That wasn’t the case at all.
“I haven’t heard a single comment, not from employees, not from members and I’ve definitely been out there and engaged,” said Weber, a Niles resident. “What I see from our staff is a focus of forward. We are looking at the future and some of the changes we are making, and I know the staff in particular is getting excited.”
Weber said the YMCA’s board of directors wanted him to take over as interim executive director when Bret Hendrie resigned June 21. However, Weber said he wasn’t able to take the job at that time, leading the board to use Daniel Fullenkamp, an experienced YMCA director, as a placeholder until Weber could take over.
Weber has an extensive background in finance and serves as chief financial officer for Bay Federal Credit Union in California. Weber also worked for several years at United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph.
“My mission from the board was to help develop some formal processes and try and keep the program running and going while they do their search for a permanent CEO,” Weber said.
In other words, Weber is doing an assessment of YMCA programs to make sure they are meeting core objectives.
“Are we getting the participation we need? Do we need to tweak the programs? How do we build them? How do we grow them?” Weber said. “We are also looking at the individuals who are teaching or coaching these programs and if they have the training tools and resources they need to do the job or is there something we can give them?”
Weber said the board has also asked him to create more youth development opportunities and increase the YMCA’s involvement in the community.
Since taking over, Weber said the YMCA continues to grow in membership. Since opening in 2006, the YMCA has gone from 2,700 members to 10,400 in 2011.
The growth has prompted the board to create a plan for a $3 million expansion. Weber said the board has generated about a quarter of the funds for the expansion. He said it is too early to speculate on when construction would begin.
“They (board members) are moving forward and are very confident they will get the funds, but until we get engaged with that I’d hate to put a line in the sand,” Weber said. “But I can tell you sooner is better.”