He’s baaaack!

  • Gary Haakenson<br>For the Enterprise
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:57am

I’m back after the newspaper-imposed blackout of my monthly column!

The South County Senior Center has been in the news of late, and I have heard from many concerned seniors about what is happening there.

Recently, the center’s Board of Directors dismissed the Farrell Fleming, the executive director. Farrell had quite a loyal following who were naturally disappointed by the action. Those who have contacted me were also disappointed in what they perceived as a lack of transparency by the board when the action was taken. This newspaper has already covered the events, so I won’t go into all of that.

I have recently sent a letter to the board expressing my concerns about the matter. I believe that it is their decision to hire and fire their director. I did share with them, however, my concern about how the process was handled from the public’s perspective. I believe they could have done better from a public relations standpoint.

In the many phone calls and e-mails that I have received, a common theme seems to be that the board is attempting to close the center and sell the building. While I don’t pretend to know what the board is thinking, from the city’s perspective, nothing could be farther from the truth. The city owns the building and to my knowledge, there are no talks about selling the center or even moving it to another location. I think the discussions about the possible development across the street from the center have folks jumping to some wrong conclusions.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, I spoke at the Senior Center to address those very same concerns. Hopefully, they have a clearer picture now. And hopefully the Board of Directors will begin a dialog with the users of the center, which will result in a more free-flowing information exchange.

In closing I would offer our thanks to Farrell Fleming for the service he provided to the center during his tenure as executive director. His expertise was invaluable as we applied for grants to make improvements to the facility over the years. We wish him well.

Gary Haakenson is mayor of Edmonds.

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