Letters: Response to HBA statement/Ben Nicholls dtd. June 24, 2014Editorial Thursday, June 26th, 2014
I would not consider standing up for respectful, professional and fair treatment in the workplace for staff, vendors and myself, reporting a Board Member interfering with business of the HBA to the President/Board attempting to take advantage [intimidation] of their position on the Board, “a disgruntled employee”, as stated by Nicholls in his letter dtd. June 24. I have attempted to bring these and several other issues to Hale’s attention in past months.
I had a stellar review in February from the entire Board [excluding one Board member as described in the last paragraph] with comments from board member who said “let’s let her do her job”, yet from another board member who commented ” a review after a year seemed appropriate, why was there a review after 4 months of employment” and yet another Board member said “Sonya puts her heart and soul into what she does”. As well, later in May, Board President Hale [after he solely and without Board knowledge required me to do a detailed reporting of my daily activities] stated “you’re soaring and you don’t need to do these reports anymore”. I don’t understand Nicholls comment “numerous performance problems” as per Hale’s and my last conversation — he agreed there was nothing I hadn’t done and he stated I was ‘meticulous and very detailed’ in my work.
I did not “stop coming to work” as Nicholls states. On June 5th Johnathan Hale called me to discuss an EDD claim from a former staff who resigned. He became agitated as I spoke of the board members interference, the EDD’s decision on the 4th and Hale started yelling at me. I asked him to stop yelling at me and to talk to me in a professional manner like I do him. Hale then stated “I will be at the office in 15 minutes and I am terminating you”. Hale came into my office demanded my key [I did not just turn it over as Nichols states], unplugged my computer [Hale said for the integrity of the organization] then Hale told me I was terminated and told me to leave. The last email I sent before Hale unplugged my computer, was a formal complaint about the above Board Member and their continued interference. There was never mention of a coach except, by that of Secretary Eddie Reynoso, in a meeting after Executive [I attended Executive to show my commitment and gave an outlined document of suggestions to work through this, as requested by Reynoso] on June 10th . Reynoso felt it would not be proper to have an Interim Director for me [as proposed by Hale] as it made no sense—Reynoso went on to say an Interim Director takes the place of, they don’t coach. As well, I would also have to train any Director brought in to do what I do. This suggestion by Hale seemed highly improper, then later, I learned Hale was bringing in past Executive Director Ben Nicholls— all the pieces fell into place. Reynoso suggested a “Coach for both Board and myself”. I was open to this suggestion and was momentarily excited we were taking this path. Hale was opposed and stated that’s not what is being sent to Board. Reynoso differed on the minutes that were taken in closed session. I then approached Hale at this time about his treatment towards me when he terminated me on June 5th. The conversation became highly emotional and I felt it in my best interests personally and more so, emotionally, to leave this situation with Hale. It was then I handed Hale the company credit card. I felt were not able to resolve the issues at this time and I was not comfortable with the credit card on my person.
I have reached out to the VP of the Board asking for his help on more than one occasion since June 5th. As well, I sent several emails to the Board Members since June 5th termination, urging them to hold an emergency meeting. I have had only one response out of the 13 Members who sit on the Board. I don’t consider asking the Board to please hear staff and myself, or a request for 30 minutes of uninterrupted time —“lashing out” as Nicholls states. When I have sat on a Board in the past, if a staff member were to approach me and requested to be heard, I would have gone out of my way to make sure it happened. I would have felt it my fiduciary duty to its members.
No one is trying to diminish the work the HBA does at all and I don’t recall where any of my comments or the “detractors” comments, Nicholls speaks about, does either. I have personally seen the so called “detractors” issues and they are 100% correct in their pursuit to have the HBA ran as per any Federal, State guidelines/laws, [pertaining to a public non profit] Bylaws and as a healthy organization for the benefit of its members.
I am not “joined” with anyone as Nicholls states, I am independently standing up for what is right and not allowing the events of my termination [solely carried out by Johnathan Hale and without his Board, 5a of the Hillcrest Business Improvement Association ByLaws] to be “brushed under the rug” or any attempts to hide from its members, the public, or the Board for that matter.
I have not made one false or any “unsubstantiated accusations” as Nicholls claims. I have emails, ByLaws, minutes, audios and more to confirm what I am stating is true. There is much more to this than contained in these few paragraphs and this is why I asked for the Board to hear me, call an emergency meeting and give me 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. This is all I have asked for— to be able to speak to them without being interrupted.
Sonya J. Stauffer
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