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CORRECTION: Senior Center Foundation eliminates positions

Corrects statement attributed to foundation Vice President Gerri McCorkle

Posted: November 21, 2012 6:37 p.m.
Updated: November 23, 2012 9:12 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Foundation — a group created to raise money for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center — has eliminated its only two paid positions including that of its director, Kathy Crone, it was announced Wednesday.

Crone’s assistant Crystal Rasmussen’s position was also eliminated.

Neither woman could be reached for comment.

The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center is directed by the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging Inc. Rachelle Dardeau is the executive director of both.

The foundation was created to raise money for the center, initially by volunteers exclusively.

The committee suggested the staffing change and the foundation’s executive committee upheld it.

“As of 11/20/12, at the suggestion of the Committee on Aging, in an attempt to lower overhead expenses, the leadership of the SCV Senior Foundation have resigned and transitioned control of the Foundation to the COA,” said Myles McNamara, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Foundation in a media release issued Wednesday.

“The position of Executive Director, Kathy Crone, and her assistant Crystal Rasmussen have been eliminated,” he said. “For contribution and volunteer inquiries please contact the SCV Senior Center’s Executive Director Rachelle Dardeau.”

Dardeau said she learned about the staffing decision Tuesday night.

“My understanding is that since donations are down the Committee (On Aging) suggested pulling fundraisers back into the center,” she said.

The foundation’s website has since been dismantled.

Wednesday’s announcement officially puts operation of the foundation entirely in the hands of volunteers, one foundation member told The Signal.

“They just worked their hearts out for the foundation,” said Committee on Aging President Rick Patterson, referring to Crone and Rasmussen. “Sometimes the harder you run the farther you get behind.”

Patterson said the recent downsizing decision “is not an indictment of anybody.”

In 2009 tax records obtained by The Signal, the senior center’s Committee on Aging Inc., reported income of $2.9 million dollars and assets of $1.7 million.

By contrast, The center’s foundation reported income of $267,038 that tax year and assets of $40,219.
Tax records also show the foundation as being a totally independent organization.

“The Committee on Aging has an operating budget of around $3 million,” Patterson said.

“We (committee) requested that they (foundation) consider folding the foundation under the umbrella of the Committee on Aging,” he said.

The foundation’s executive committee which includes McNamara and foundation Treasurer Randy Wrage followed the committee’s suggestion.

The senior center had been receiving fewer donations in recent times, members of the foundation, the center and the committee agree.

Foundation Vice-President Gerri McCorkle called the announcement issued Wednesday “a sad day.”
“The foundation has always had seniors in their hearts,” she said. “The foundation was always about making a difference in the community. The COA (Committee on Aging) has changed that vision.”

McCorkle said the city has always supported the foundation and seniors in the Santa Clarita Valley.

In August, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously agreed to provide the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center with a one-time $100,000 donation to help it stave off the effects of a severe budget crisis.

City Councilman Bob Kellar called for the donation. The city also donated money to the Boys & Girls Club.

“I think we are at a critical position here for both the Senior Center and the Boys & Girls Club,” Kellar said at the time, calling for the donations to come from the city’s contingency fund.

Kellar, who is on the Senior Center foundation board of trustees, said Wednesday: “It became increasingly clear the Committee on Aging did not feel the foundation was providing the level of financial support they had envisioned.”






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