The recall questions the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission’s continued service. Leadership inspires people to achieve common goals through vision, team-building, thoroughness, empathy, etc.
I noticed five men firing five women with dubious cause last August. Changes APRC pushed were resisted by the former Senior Program director for good reason. The community also protested moving seniors to the Grove and pulling revenue from them. Those changes went away.
What also vanished was the safety net for vulnerable elders, the community’s trust, and the staff’s decades-long relationships with clients, volunteers, and resource providers. It was dangerous for APRC to terminate experts without adequate replacements. My dad benefited from expertise available in 2016 and 2017 through crises involving decline from Alzheimer’s. I shuddered at the unconscionable lapse created by APRC. Concerned letters fell on deaf ears.
Fiscal waste raises additional questions. After committing Ashland to expensive consultants for Lithia Park without taxpayer input, APRC's staff terminations created unbudgeted costs for facilitation, outsourced experts (higher expense for 20 percent coverage), likely wrongful termination settlement, and proposed 75 percent staffing increases. Meanwhile, services and hours have been reduced. Yikes! Will our taxes and utility bills go up again?
Finally, arrogance undermines leadership. The ad-hoc committee created to provide recommendations on senior issues lacks neutrality. APRC stacked membership and prevented discussion of the Senior Center terminations, let alone input from former staff who had critical information. Now I see APRC's signs requesting no votes in the interest of Ashland’s unity. Does anyone else find this hypocritical?