Ready for new director: Policies and procedures in place

December 2011 Posted in Community

By Kristine Thomase Silverton SeRuth Cock, center, speaks at the opening of thnior Center in July 2010.

As the Silverton Senior Center’s Board of Directors prepares to hire its third director since opening in July of 2010, board member Ruth Cock said there’s a reason why two directors have quit.

“We weren’t ready to open,” Cock said. “We didn’t know what was needed to operate the building. We were so focused on getting it built that we didn’t have things in place.”

The missing pieces included polices and procedures, Cock said.

“We didn’t have a road map for how to run the place,” Cock said. Volunteers and the board of directors was so focused on raising money to build the center that they didn’t think about what was needed to run it.

When Meg Fraser, was hired as the first director for the new center, Cock said she was expected to write the policies and procedures, organize and schedule classes, and manage the center’s membership which was rapidly growing from 150 to 600 people.

Silverton Senior Center
115 Westfield St., Silverton

Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday,
Weekends and Evenings for scheduled events.
President Kelly Hays is at the center from
6 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday to meet
with seniors and listen to their
ideas or concerns.

Visit the website for a list of classes,
activities and events.

She quit after about three months on the job.

“It wasn’t possible for her to do so,” Cock said. “The board of directors hadn’t gotten everything in place and it was way too much work for someone who was hired to work 25 hours a week.”

Cock, who served as center executive director before retiring, admitted she had 25 years of knowledge on how to run a senior center stored in her head. But her offer to assist the first two directors wasn’t taken, she said.

“I have 25 years of experience, but the past directors didn’t want the help,” Cock said. “They didn’t feel my input was important.”

When the second director, Michelle Campione, was brought on board, policies and procedures still weren’t in place, Cock said.

Campione resigned in October and board member Joyce Carone stepped in as temporary executive director. Campione is now the executive director of the New Hope Community Center in Dallas. Although contacted by phone and email, she but didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

Cock said Carone now has things organized and ready for the next director.

As an example of the lack of policies and procedures, Cock cited Campione’s concerned about a winter storm. She didn’t know whether to keep the senior center open or close it.

Cock knew the center closed if the schools were closed due to inclement weather, but the policy wasn’t written down anywhere.

Board member Kathy Hunter said now the board has worked to get everything in place: policies, procedures and the changes in group’s by-laws.

Hunter said the board has advertised for a new director with pay ranging from $15 to $18 an hour for 25 hours a week.

Someone with good managerial skills and an understanding of the local community is sought. The deadline to apply is Dec.1. The goal is to make a hire by Jan. 1, Hunter said.

Both Hunter and Cock said hiring two directors who were not from the area proved to be one of the problems.

“Because the previous directors didn’t know the community, they didn’t connect with people,” Cock said, adding that in the past the center worked with Silverton Together and Silverton Area Community Aid.

Hunter said there has been a positive change in attitude at the center with the addition of several committees – including public relations, advisory, fund-raising, budget, activities and newsletter.

Board member Alan Mickelson said he believes the problems are in the past and the center is ready to move forward.

“I think everyone is going in the same direction now and we are looking ahead,” Mickelson said. “It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the center.”

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