What I said to the committee
Below is what I said during the public forum of the Ashland ad hoc senior advisory committee meeting on Jan. 8:
On Aug. 6, Ashland was proud of its enviable senior center program staffed by dedicated highly skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate workers. Overnight, for no legitimate justifiable reason, that program was terminated. All staff laid off.
Why? "Needed new blood" said the director. But the program was working. The staff was qualified.
You, each of you, I am sure, are public-minded citizens who accepted the call to research and build a senior program. Have you asked yourselves Why? A superb senior program including social services and outreach was already in place. You are now spending a great deal of effort and time re-inventing the wheel. What are you laboriously trying to do had already been refined over decades to a model, efficient, always under budget, compassionate, widely admired program which did not need to be fixed. Instead it has been decimated.
Oh yes, finally an apparently skilled worker puts in one day a week at $58 an hour plus travel. The admired but laid-off director was in place five days a week at $32 an hour. What kind of an upgrade is that?
Do you feel good about being part of destroying such good? Currently in the dead of winter needy elderly seniors are not being properly served.
You probably choose not to think about it much, but APRC is under no obligation to accept and implement a single one of your eventual recommendations.
A favorite device of government at all levels is to appoint a commission. The commission cranks up, has meetings, hears testimony, writes a report and, blank, disappears. Nothing is implemented or adopted. Pure window dressing.
It’s doubtless late to point that out; you are involved and committed. But please do think about what I just said. Are you doing good, or are you being used to cover up damage to a senior population? Some, many of whom, have no where to turn.