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Ojai Trivia: Which Ojai Non-'Profit' pays their Director $110,000 per year ? Send your letters
July 13, 2011/HELP of Ojai
9am Board Meeting at Little House
As referenced in THE VIEW pdf: Pg 2 Col. 4 of
The Ojai and Ventura VIEW, July 2011, Issue 38
The Battle for HELP
Any Solutions?

Board Meeting/July 18 Meeting Board Help of Ojai: (Tucker Adams, Board Chair) said, "Public Comment, make your comments brief and concise, we certainly want to hear completely what you're... you have on your minds.... so I'm happy to open the floor to someone to speak if they would like to."
(Volunteer Jeanie Barnett) said, "Well I can start, sure... I'm Jeanie Barnett, former volunteer, Since this is a question and answer meeting, I thought I would keep my comments more a question. This first question is for you Terri... the word all over town is that you are planning to close Oak Tree House.... Is this true, and do you have any idea how this would effect many many people in Ojai? And I'd like to ask why you are planning to close it? (Terri Wolfe, HELP executive director) said, "Oh we're not planning on closing it. There's no validity to that.... premise.... and.... open indefinitely. We are going to three days a week because the number of people that are there are reduced enough that they want to keep it to a smaller tight group so it's open indefinitely.... (Jeanie Barnett) said, "Well it's good to know that you're not closing it, and I heard that you were trying to break away from the RSVP group program... Isn't that where HELP of Ojai gets its funding from the government? (Terri Wolfe) said, "Umm the RSVP program is a federally funded program. At this point the federal government has reduced the funding by 25% through the end of this year, and then it's unknown what the funding will be for the next fiscal year, which starts October first... and so we'll have to make decisions based on what that funding decision is from the federal government when that decision is made and as we all know the federal budget process and issues are not moving along very quickly, so we'll have to see what funding looks like but at this point, again, we just did the fiscal year budget for HELP of Ojai and RSVP is in there awaiting to see what happens with the federal government.... (Jeanie Barnett) said, "And I wondered also why those of us that used to do... work the sales, the first Saturday of the month sales... we always know what the profits were from furniture, the estate sale clothing, and nobody seems to be able to give us any figures on that this time, and we were wondering why? (Terri Wolfe) said, "Um I'm not sure why that would be because the program managers actually get those figures every month and we've said that they're fine to communicate, so Kathleen has hers and Donna has hers, so... or if you call me and... I'm happy to give them to you.... (Jeanie Barnett) said, "Ok because I think we had some problems so one of us asked people... can they tell us how much... I was especially interested in what the clothing made, because that was where I worked.... and you said we didn't have the figures.... (another Volunteer from the audience) said, We usually had them that day..." (Terri Wolfe) said, "I'm not sure and they may not have felt comfortable giving that days figures, but generally by the end of the month we have our financial statements and then they're... those figures are listed in.... anybody can have those.... (Jeanie Barnett) said, "I have a few more questions, but would anybody else like to speak? Thank you. (then Jeanie Barnett - asks question of Terri Wolfe), We've all become aware that you don't have much compassion for the elderly, disabled and the poor. And we wondered why you would take over a program like HELP of Ojai that deals exclusively with these type of people? (Tucker Adams Board Chair) interupts, "Um excuse me... I have a couple of little things to say. Yeah, for one thing that's uh, that's uh.... that's a difficult comment for someone to address themself and so as a board chair I guess I would like to say that every conversation with Terri centers around folks who are in those positions that you describe... and she demonstrates her compassion on a daily basis... I have no doubt about that as a board chair... every single conversation touches on... including this morning... touches on someone who has had a need... that need has been filled either by Terri personally, or by a program that we offer at HELP of Ojai so um I don't find any credence in that at all.... the other thing I wanted to say because this is you know board meeting um I'm not sure if... normally in a comment period it's basically, we're receiving your comments and often questions are better addressed on an individual basis and I was unaware that there was a.... an opportunity to... for everyone to ask ten or twelve questions which would be an extremely long meeting for us and also sometimes questions.... I have no problem with questions, but sometimes it's just very hard to answer them if we're not prepared with numbers or papers or other things that you might need to have your questions answered. So um I guess I'm certainly happy to turn this back over to Terri and if she'd like to answer that question that's fine.... it's a incredibly subjective question and I think if Terri would like to answer, I have no problem answering it myself.... (Jeanie Barnett) said, "Ok, well I just understood this was to be a question and answer meeting... that's why I had questions, and there are a lot of things that... areas where we have these particular people that was not detracting any from the profit of HELP of Ojai but we had to stop whatever we were doing to help outside, and uh in reference to I know they used to have down at CAPS Office many pieces of medical equipment; crutches, (Wolfe) interupts, "Sure, Now it's all here.... walkers..." (Jeanie Barnett) said, "Yes and I know at least three of my neighbors that I sent here to pick up simple equipment and myself for my needing a side rail last year... the girl said, 'Oh we don't have side rails... nobody uses those so we got ride of them when we moved.' And my neighbor across the street wanted to borrow a shower chair for an elderly visitor she was having for a week and she.... when she came here, and was told 'We don't have any and uh third person... I forget what it was she wanted to borrow for a short period of time and also was told, "We don't have those here anymore." and I did tell them make sure they come to HELP of Ojai, not to the CAPS Office. So I was wondering what has happened to the large supply of medical equipment that they had at CAPS Office? (Jeanie Barnett) said, "Well the last time I was downstairs there was a lot of equipment so I don't.... personally I'm not down there all the time and I don't know... I can't answer that question... I don't know...." (Wolfe) said, "I can, let me tell you because I worked with the loan cause.... pretty much on a daily basis so we have a large number of items down there... we have um.... sometimes we have shortages in particular things, especially wheel chairs, wheel chairs we don't get a lot of.... so option if somebody calls and asks for a wheel chair they may have to go on a waiting list for a week or so until one gets turned in but we don't purchase the items for the loan cause.... it is things that have been donated and it's on a rotation basis so if someone takes something out and keeps it for quite a while it might not be as available to the rest of the public, but it's a very robust, healthy program.... we're loaning things out every day umm and sometimes we do have some items and sometimes we don't and to the issue of a bathtub rail, I just loaned one out last week so I'm not exactly sure..... (Barnett said) "It was a bedside rail that I needed.... when I had my surgery.... just the one rail for the bed and Alano? was the one, I believe that's her name that said, "We don't have those, we got rid of 'em... (Wolfe attempts to interupt) Well again we...... (Barnett continues) "And she was the one that my neighbors came here and spoke to cause they went to the front desk and they got..... and she says "We don't have any of those", Now that upset me, upset them cause..... you're saying you have a lot of equipment and she said 'We don't have those anymore...." (Wolfe) said, "Well we might not have a particular item at a particular time.... (Barnett) said, "Well that coulda been, but these were three different items uh... and a shower chairs pretty common... I forget what the other ones were but I was very surprised that three people were rejected as I was, that's four that came to borrow something cause we..... and we're told 'We don't have those,' so we don't do that anymore..." (Wolfe) said, "No well, I'm not sure who would say we don't do that anymore.... cause again, you know, probably on a daily basis we have three, somewhere between three and six requests for loaned items and I would say we probably fulfill 75 to 80 percent of them and the other ones that we can't.... they go on a waiting list and as soon as the item comes in we'll go ahead and call the person, so I'm not exactly sure where that information would have come from, but it's a great program... it serves a real need in the community... um and we are happy to have it. The one thing we do do is from time to time we'll go through and we'll take those items that are in.... um the condition isn't as good as others and we donate them to a program down in Oxnard that distributes them as well as a program that the Ojai Presbyterian Church runs, um and they're sent to Eastern Europe... so when we don't feel like it's the best quality then we'll give it to those programs... they refurbish them then they send them out to other.... so actually think it's a great program that we try to manage effectively." (Barnett) said, "I agree it is a great program and I've told many people about it, that's why I was concerned when I referred them to come here for simple items and were told 'We don't have them,' or 'We don't do that anymore' and they came back to me and said, 'Well didn't you know they don't do it?' and I said as far as I know they still down, but that did not sit well with three....." (Wolfe) said, "Yeah, I would imagine it wouldn't but it's also not accurate information." (Barnett) said, "Well these people I can trust and I came myself for the bedrail, you see and was told 'They don't keep them because nobody uses them.' Well obviously they use them occasionally." (Treasurer Lou Torres) said, "You know Jeanie...." (Barnett) said, "Yeah?" (Lou Torres) said, "I would suggest that if that situation arises again that you call Terri." (Barnett) said, "I will." (Lou Torres) said, "Don't let this thing sit there and fester because Terri....." (Barnett) said, "No, I just think that maybe the program had been dropped, or that they didn't have things here anymore. But I will if anybody needs something and they are rejected, I will certainly call and ask you about it...." (Wolfe) said, "Absolutely because it's a great program. We love that program. We love to provide the service and it's thriving.... not exactly sure of that information.....?" (Barnett) said, "Alright, I'll be quiet for a while." (Barnett) said, "Yeah?" (Tucker Adams) said, "Does anyone else have any comments?" (Ken Williams) said, "Number one, a letter than was sent out by the board.... Terri, really didn't address the second helpings problem, the ladies have not returned... because the problem is still there and as far as I'm concerned, until the problem is resolved with the Second HELPings Program, I won't donate another dime, and I've tried to donate as much as I can.... Last year was almost $4,800 dollars.... this year up through June was almost $2,800 dollars, so.... I know it's not a lot but I'm just to the point that if Volunteers aren't going to be treated right and they don't resolve this problem I can't financially support HELP of Ojai. It's just impossible. That the letters weren't published from Trudy and some other people in the Ojai Valley News.... and supposedly because the director of HELP of Ojai (Wolfe) was called by the Ojai Valley News and told them 'Oh we don't want anything negative....' Well, organizations are going to have negative stuff, but to tell a newspaper 'Don't publish it because it's negative.' No, it should be published and brought out in the public. HELP of Ojai should be very transparent. It's mission statement should be mainly towards the seniors like it was originally done, and, like I say Financially until things change I will cease my donations..... (Help Board Member/Presbyterian Pastor Jeff Holland) said, "Could I ask you where your information came from that Ojai Valley News wouldn't publish that?" (Audience Member/Volunteer) said, "The VIEW, it was published in The VIEW...." (Barnett) said, "That came from the woman that sent the letter to the paper...." (Jeff Holland) said, "So, Did you ask Ojai Valley News?" (Barnett) said, "Yes, it's in the paper." (Jeff Holland) said, "Ok" (Terri Wolfe) said, "Lemme.... Lemme respond to.... first of all the Ojai Valley News did not call me about publishing or not publishing that article or letter.... and I actually can't imagine any newspaper doing that.... and if there's a validity to the story having that story quashed or whatever quashed.... they did call me and ask me if we were planning on installing cameras at West Campus and I said 'We were not planning on installing cameras at West Campus.' That was the question they asked me, that was the question I answered. and that was the end of the conversation...." (Barnett) said, "Well Trudy Sarzotti was the one that wrote the letter in question, then she fell and broke her hip and was in the hospital.... We did go to see her. She, herself called the Ojai Valley News and was told that you had said not to publish her letter and he was sending the letter back to her and if she edited it and left out names he would consider it....." (Wolfe) said, "That's good, but again I, he, they called me... they asked me if we were planning on installing security cameras at West Campus and I said no. I never.... I mean I worked with the press [Terri Wolfe, was director of human resources at the Patagonia company in Ventura, but left suddenly amidst some sort of controversy] for a number of years... I never would say to the press don't... don't publish that." (Barnett) said, "Had you read her letter?" (Wolfe) said, "No I had not. They only letter that I saw was the one that was in...." (Barnett) said, "It was published in The VIEW" (Wolfe) said, "....yeah. They just asked me, again... they just asked me the question about the security cameras and I said....." (Deborah Moe/Volunteer) said, "Deborah Moe... I have a question about the security cameras. You referenced that you didn't have any plans to put security cameras in, but we had a meeting at West Campus where you and Donna were present and addressed this subject of installing cameras, and said that they were paid for, that you looked into it, and you know.... and now it seems like it was never an issue. And it was an issue and that I believe is what started the whole dissension of the sorting room.... because Donna Long said that many items were missing, stuff was going awry and that it's gotta stop and they're installing cameras... which the insinuation would be that the volunteers were thieves. When it came to that meeting that was addressed, and the meeting was just about the cameras, parking, a couple of other issues, um when it came time to do that you had another commitment and left and stuff, but we left that meeting more daunted that when we came in, but we left with the idea because that's what us volunteers were told, that cameras were being put in. The last meeting I was kind of blown away because you said, 'Oh we have no intention of putting cameras in at this time' like it was never mentioned. Well it was mentioned and it was a meeting that addressed that so when you volunteer at a place where stuff is donated some of the donations that are peoples treasures that people donate.... broken, are stained or no good and don't make it to the other place. Sometimes they sell quickly so when people come and say, where's my donation? I didn't see it at the thrift store...." (someone interupts) said, "There's a myriad of reasons...." (Moe) said, "To sound like the cameras were never a deal is kind of mind boggling and if they were never being considered... we could see in on the outside... we have no problem, but there's people here that have volunteered in this organization for over 20 years and to have an insinuation like that is hurtful. To be told that, you know.... it's not a glamorous job so to have that insinuation put on them I think you know.... the volunteers that have left that thing... it's not ten volunteers... You've lost over a hundred and 20 something per week volunteers... the ten volunteers that is eluded to is... was for Wednesdays. I mean there's many more volunteers that have gone by the wayside because of this dissension going on that you as a director has not coveted these.... Sarzotti's... the Mercer's.... the people that are name brands in this town that I think need to be addressed... um talked to, worked out and that hasn't happened and it's kind of mind boggling. You know I've run several businesses and I think communication is key... These people, including myself, we love what we did. We laughed. We had so much fun. It was something to look forward to in a lot of these people's lives, and um... a form letter stating that, 'Well if you want to come back, maybe we can find a spot for you' I don't think addresses what really needs to be addressed. We'd love to sit down with you and go over some of this stuff and get to the root of all the bad tension. (Lou Torres) said, "Excuse me, may I ask a question?" (Deborah Moe/Volunteer) said, "Absolutely" (Lou Torres) said, "My name is Lou Torres and I'm the treasurer. In the discussions that h as happened among volunteers.... and I can understand the level of anxiety with this issue, and the time devoted, the purpose that all of you show toward what you are doing. In all of those discussions, did anybody who is involved in the work that you do, we're they at all concerned about the efforts of their hard work possibly disappearing? Was there every any discussion as to the validity as to the concern?" (Deborah Moe/Volunteer) said, "Absolutely" (Lou Torres) said, "And so we've not heard anything about ideas that the volunteers have on how this system can be improved. It seems that it's all focused on somewhat an issue of suspicion but how about problem solving?" (Moe) said, "Well we tried to go to Donna Long to discuss some of this stuff, who runs that program out there and she didn't want to hear it, she doesn't work well.... and we said 'Gosh, you're going to lose people volunteering.' She doesn't work well under a threat and this is her comments, you know...." (Lou Torres) said, "I understand, but the point perhaps it's a little bit narrow, but what I'm concerned that there seems to be more of a distress here about some suspicion of theft...." (Moe) said, "Right" (Lou Torres) said, "As opposed to, no, I, I'm... as opposed to a concern for these are the fruits of your effort, your work and I don't hear anybody saying anything about their concern that there may be a problem." (Sue Dickens) said, "Well, you know.... x volunteer, I worked out there. It's very difficult to think about the fruits of your effort when you feel that the administration whatever you want to call it is basically calling you a thief. And that was the impression that I got." (Lou Torres) said, "...but, but, I, I, and I'm sorry you know it's something... change of directions...." (Sue Dickens) said, "You know, No because the only time you see the administration when they come to you and they say um, "You know they're going to do this, they're going to do that." It's like things are walking out here and we're going to stop it. And yes there was talk about cameras going in and that. I personally, I know, I mean I have taken stuff out from HELP of Ojai with permission from the people there to take to the humane society because the towels are no good. So anyone seeing me carrying a bundle of stuff may think I'm stealing it. And this is what we're getting back... we're told you can't do this, you can't do that. We're not getting any positive feeling from the administration. So what positive feeling you had soon gets kind of dampened because you......" (Torres) said, "But I still don't understand why the immediate dissension that something that you're doing totally authorized, totally supported by whoever's supervising there, why you would have....." (Sue Dickens) said, "It wasn't supported...." (Torres) said, "What I'm saying is someone in a position of authority said 'Yes, take those, thank you, go.' Why anybody would ever have.... (Sue Dickens) said, "This is it.... This is our question." (Torres) said, "I mean there are procedures that protect everyone. They protect you, as well as everybody else." (Sue Dickens) said, "And it's like then we're told another thing.... things come back from the thrift store that aren't sold and they go into the Saturday Sale and we can buy them if we want you know, and then we're told we need to make a note of it, which I think is correct, we should make a note of it, but then we're told we must take it, all the money straight down the HELP of Ojai... well, if you're buying a 50 cents, a canvas, you're not going to drive down to the HELP of Ojai, back again for a 50 cent item, but we can't give the money to our supervisors because they can't keep it." (Torres) said, "That's a simple accounting procedure control. I realize it's an inconvenience.... what you have to appreciate is.... while... just let me complete this thought...." (Sue Dickens) said, "If you've got a book, but you know how much so much owes and you give the money to your supervisor she's got the money and you've got the book so you can do it." (Torres) said, "The supervisor's not in a position to control and secure cash. There's no safe, there's no register, there's no facility there to make that happen properly. A lot of what we have to do we have to do because we are audited by outside accountants that have to render an opinion as to our internal controls. If it can happen for 50 cents it can happen for 50 dollars. The issue is you need a procedure to follow, now if we've been unclear in explaining why those procedures are there, we're glad to explain them, but there's a policy and procedure... and I realize it's an inconvenience, but...." (Sue Dickens) said, "But you're losing money that way...." (Moe) said, "The procedure has changed and changed and changed.... it's something different every other week." (Torres) said, "Well, we're trying to refine it and get it to a point where it's workable for the volunteers, but it has to be workable for the organization to." (Sue Dickens) said, "Then I suggest that you, we have basically item of bill system; if you want something 50 cents, at the end of the month you pay it in all at once. Why not?"
(Torres) said, "If, if, if, that is something that makes it more convenient and allowable for people to deliver those payments to the store, then please recommend that. You know... granted......" (Sue Dickens) said, "You, that, you say stuff like that and we're told, 'No you can't do it.'" (Wolfe) said, "I'd just like to make sure that we address some of this.... these issues. So um I think one of the things that we've found, um, way before me in terms of other.... um... other directors can refer to it and, Marlene Spencer was only.... you know made a comment... a really very positive comment about Second HELPings, but that it's always been, you know it's a challenge.... a challenging program... um and so I think what, what we've found since.... you know, since I started and then last year when we made the significant change of the store in one location and the donation and processing in the other location... is that things that previously worked because so much had changed that some of those things needed to be adjusted, now before it was ok to buy something at the store when you're sorting it because the sorting room was in the same location as the store.... so there is just some things that as major changes like that happened we have to go through process changes and.... and they will.... they will change, they will evolve, will talk about what's working, we'll talk about what's not working.... um and hopefully be making changes where you kind of walk that fine line between the amount of controls that we need to have to be running ourselves umm according to generally accepted accounting principles and controls, but at the same time not making it so inconvenient , umm that it's really a hard system to work in. I will also say that that's going to be a work in progress given that we've made some major changes. Um so the issue of the.... we've made a policy that we don't want to keep cash at the Second HELPings donations center. That all of the transactions need to happen at the store... um and I do believe, I could be wrong in this, but I do believe that the process is that you write down what your purchases are and you don't have to go that day, you can take that sheet with you and clear out the sheet and it doesn't have to be done that day. So I think there is, tried to be some leeway in terms of being a little bit accommodating. The other issue I would say about security is umm... first of all I completely apologize, absolutely, and I know Donna would if she was here if any of you felt that you were being accused individually... umm I'm not going to give names and there were at least three volunteers that came and said 'We have a whole security issue.' K, and it wasn't about volunteers necessarily, it was about security of the key system, the way that things are donated, that things that went into the dumpster, the way that things were sorted, umm so that, we also just noticed throughout the entire organization that there were security issues for whatever reason; we have thefts and break-ins here, we put in alarm system at the new store. The good news about the whole alarm system is that we have a really wonderful partner in that at Next Alarms, that's a locally based company... and they've donated everything. So one of the reason that all of a sudden we have a lot more security that we had before isn't because all of a sudden we feel like we need it, but all of a sudden somebody gave it to us in a way that we could effectively use it, and to that point you know when I... the first year I was here I think we had three or four break-ins in this building, and thefts. Since we put in this security system we had none. So we're constantly saying what's the right amount. And so one of the things that he said, Alex at Next Alarms says, he said, 'You know, you might want to consider when, when we had... here, here's one of the situations that happened. K? Senior nutrition.... had this huge industrial meat slicer, it walked out of here one day. I mean just broad daylight, $500 piece of equipment. So they said, you might want to consider installing cameras in different places where you guys aren't there all the time where people just have open access. So, as of course part of the conversation.... it was part of the conversation for West Campus, but we've also decided that there are some security systems we'll use and some we won't... Cameras we won't, but alarming buildings we will. Putting in systems and processes, we will. What I, What I I guess am most disappointed about is that uh, ya know, um Moe you talk about transparency, you know from the very beginning of the time that I've been here we've... we've talked about transparency and I've tried to work on transparency. The problem is that when you have so many people in an organization and if you add all the staff and volunteers and if you added all the clients, we are talking about 8,000 people. It's really hard to communicate transparently with the needs of 8,000 individuals, so for the people that come, we can try to answer questions... We can get ideas.... but for the people who rely on somebody else to give them that information... sometimes what ends up happening is what they have is incorrect information. And that's I think most disappointing to me, is that we love to give accurate 100% knowing information at the time which could change, um but unfortunately it, the case is that a lot of times the people are depending on one another for the communication information. Communication..... as opposed to coming to the board, coming to me, and I think what I ultimately am most concerned about is certainly not me, it's not even the board, it's secondarily it is you, you folks, but primarily it's our clients. And the reason that I, uh, Deborah, to talk about you know the reason that I didn't want to respond to the article in The VIEW is because ultimately what happens is our clients get hurt because any lack of confidence in this organization or this program ultimately hurts the person we drive to the doctors, it's the person that we bring lunch to, it's the person that needs The Oak Tree House care every day and I want to make sure that there is... you know, open communication so that those people can be served because those are the people that need us. And to be honest I'm.... I have to say, I am very... I am actually hurt Jeannie about um, the supposed lack of compassion that I have for seniors... I don't know... We have... and again who will go unnamed.... we have this wonderful client that lives on the east end and I personally spent probably 12 hours working in his home because he was a hoarder, who now has dementia who was not eating properly and I cleaned his house... I worked with him. I've worked with his family in Sacramento and I guess that's just an example of where it's.... it's you know it's certainly one of those things that we don't trumpet and we don't tell and we don't advertise but it's just the way that we quietly work with the seniors in the valley so that they can maintain a dignity and their family can maintain the dignity and it's not just about you know financial statements but it's also about how do we touch these people every day and um I you know... I just find it um sad that um that people don't trust the intentions.... that they have to hear or they have to see it even when we're tying to do it in a way that is confidential and private so people can maintain their dignity, so I just would say there's a lot going on that you might not know about... we'd be happy to tell you in a way that confidentially we can help maintain people's privacy." (Barnett) said, "Well there are many things I could bring up but right now I would like to go back to Lou's comment in the beginning. What we did... now I can only speak for the Wednesday workers because that's... Wednesday was the only day we worked at West Campus in the sorting room. There were nine or ten of us always worked together, we've known each other, we're neighbors, we were good friends, we trust each other. If there was any article that somebody wanted to buy from the clothes we sorted, and believe me they were not wonderful clothes, mostly we would buy work shirts or something that we could use around the house and the garden. Isabelle and I were in charge of that. We had a book and, say Sue wanted to buy a T-Shirt for 50 cents, she would show it to us and tell us she's buying a green T-Shirt, but she didn't bring any money. Well the T-Shirt is 50 cents, we entered her name, green T-Shirt, 50 cents... the next time she came to volunteer she paid the 50 cents.... many of the women were paid the amount right then and there, sale was complete. Isabelle and I, we kept track of the money, we put it in an envelope, we each had our own envelope we would take home with us. We also had the book that said how much money there should be. On the day of the first Saturday Sale of the month which we had had out there for quite some time, we would turn the envelopes over to Kathleen who was in charge of Volunteers... And she did a wonderful, wonderful job for the Volunteers.... She knew we were being trustful, we've known her for years, she's known us for years. We turned it over, every penny that we got. And that was put in the cash box that would go to HELP of Ojai along with the proceeds from the sale. That was the way it was decided we could best handle the few cents that we took in Wednesday. And we kept a running record in the book and everybody to our knowledge paid what they were supposed to pay and we turned it in." (Torres) said, "What you have to understand is that is an elegantly useful and functional system, but when an organization is being audited by outside auditors that have to express an opinion as to the overall internal controls, first of all that item in and of itself, that policy/procedure would probably be dismissed... it would be analyzed, it would be commented on and dismissed because it's not material, but the problem is, is that an organization has to have policies in place, not for the good people that work there and are devoted to what they're doing but to a large degree to satisfy people outside of that organization that don't know you, don't know the years of your involvement in the organization. We are a very public entity and we have to have even a higher level of performance in that regard because we have to earn the trust of the community that we hope to serve, and that we hope to encourage to support us. So you have to understand something that this shouldn't be taken personally. It's just a function of an organization and what's disheartening to me is that however it was presented or perhaps however it was understood, it's first assumed to be an issue of distrust, that is not the case. There is a purpose, there is a reason. If we can do it for 50 cents, we can do it for $5, we could do it for $50, we could do it for $100... then you're at risk because as soon as it becomes knowledge that people are leaving a facility that remote with any amount of cash, they're at risk. And so it's as much for your safety as it is for the integrity of the organization, and... and we do this to show the community that we are upstanding. That we have policies and we have procedures. It has nothing to do with your integrity. It has nothing to do to diminish your years of service. I am sad to hear that that was the assumption because that's not why we do what we do here, also as volunteers to try and help this organization succeed. So if an apology is necessary because of that we apologize, but in a sense, we still have to do these kind of procedures." (Moe) said, "It was not an assumption....." (Tucker Adams) said, "Pardon me, Deborah? Pardon me, we... we've been.... we're about 45 minutes into this.... and...." (Moe) said, "Does this board meeting have a time limit?" (Tucker Adams) said, "The board meeting has an agenda and actually..... 10 or 15 minutes..... pardon me.... we do actually have an agenda, and we do actually have some things that we do need to cover this morning... we have a long meeting... we planned a long meeting because we have a long agenda for ourselves, and I'm happy and I think all of us are happy to hear from you, however some of this discussion it occurs to me might have a different.... might be useful in a different forum, there's some very specific concerns... in a sense that Lou's been discussing, um and actually we've had an opportunity to talk about some of those in the meetings that have been going on out at West Campus.... um the open meetings...." (Alan Rains) "I'd like that...." (Tucker Adams) said, "Yes, exactly, so we've had umm monthly meetings at West Campus and we were hoping that some of this conversation would be able to take place at those meetings because that is a way to dialogue with volunteers and you know we began these.... two months ago.... (Moe) said, "Well we weren't told about these meetings." (Tucker Adams) said, "Right, well the active volunteers are....." (Barnett) said, "I'm still active... uh.... I don't work... I'm still on the active list...." (Tucker Adams) said, "I would hope that if we had a forum like that to..... and in fact I think Lou, have you been attending?" (Torres) said, "I missed the first one but.... the last one....." (Tucker Adams) said, "Right, and Alan was at the last one.... and they're really very specifically about..... so, so.... about these kinds of particular processes. So I guess what I'm saying is the person nominally running the meeting at this moment is that there are some very specific things that might be addressed more than officially at a different... in a different context.... because what you know, what we came here to hear is more generalized information and not necessarily specific processes of how you're processing the money at West Campus and so forth. Those are in... those as concepts are important for us to hear about and we have heard about that and uh all of us have heard and that's why partly we're having these other meetings because we know that this is in process for all of us, as Terri said, there were some big big changes and we have big big changes.... things do change around it, so we're all working hopefully together to come to a better set of processes that everyone can agree to." (Torres) said, "How are these folks notified about the meeting?" (Tucker Adams) said, "About this meeting, the board meeting or? Oh about West Campus meetings? I'm not sure." (Wolfe) said, "It was in the letter that we sent out after you attended the last um board meeting. I'm pretty sure it's in the newsletter too." (Alan Rains) "We've had two meetings." (Barnett) said, "Well this was the only meeting that most of us were aware of. That's why, and we thought this is why we would come to the next...." (Tucker) said, "Sure, Sure, Sure That's great but I do, so there.... it's the third Monday." (Torres) said, "The letter says that the.... in this issue it says we'll hold a one hour session the second Monday of the month, 1:30pm at the West Campus dining room. During the meeting, Volunteers and the Staff will come together to update one another on happenings, concerns and plans..... (Wolfe) said, "And that was in the letter that we sent. And we've had two meetings, there's been great things that have come out of those; one of the requests was that we would rotate between West Campus and here, so the next meeting is actually here, um at Little House so that some people won't have to drive all the way to West Campus so umm... so you can.... you can absolutely you know if you're wanting to come and make systems and process suggestions and get some more information to Tucker's point that's a very specific focused programmatic meeting around whole programs for Second HELPings and it's a great place for us to come to you know what makes sense for all sides that are working in trying to help Second HELPings support HELP of Ojai, so that would be a great place for us to have this conversation." (Jeff Holland) said, "I work with a lot of committees that deal with conflict and I don't know of anyone who gets excited about going to a meeting to deal with conflict." (Bob/Volunteer) said, "Could you speak a little louder please?" (Jeff Holland) said, "Sure, I'd be happy to, sorry. I deal with a lot of committees that deal with conflict in organizations, and noone gets excited about dealing with conflict. And conflict usually, not always, comes down to trust and appreciation. If I feel like I trust the people I'm working with, I will grant them the benefit of the doubt. If I feel like I'm appreciated, I build trust. I understand that. In... one of the things that often happens in any place of conflict is all the attention gets focused on the immediate details. Did I feel appreciated? Do I feel trusted? That's human nature. There's no way to get beyond that. I get that. I'm a human being. I go through those same emotions. But from my experience, not HELP of Ojai but just in all the committees that I work with, what conflict does better than anything else is it causes a loss of focus on why the group existed in the first place. What was it about? Why did I engage in first part in this whole organization. And I would guess, and it's a guess, that the reason that all of you engaged in the first place in serving HELP of Ojai is because you care. OK? And you care passionately enough that you're still here at this meeting to talk about the issues that are still troubling you. We get that. We appreciate that. We do. But what I would suggest in all of the meetings that will follow up, and the meetings that will take place to talk about procedure, procedure won't solve the issue. What's gonna solve the issue is a couple of things. One is remembering why you serve HELP of Ojai regardless of who's on the board or what's running what. Remembering what it is that engaged you in the process and rebuilding trust. And so you can talk specifics and some specifics and procedures have to be worked out for clarity. I get that. But I have sat, not in HELP of Ojai, in other meetings that have gone on for months if not years because it never got back to the issue of why I'm so passionate. Why I serve. And I would want to challenge you as we face the same challenge in the midst of conflict, I would say that the reasons you engage in serving HELP of Ojai are not different today than they were when you started and that they're still valid and serving those in need and helping this organization, whether you agree with everything or not, it's still valid. And we have to find a way to get back to a place where we can serve together and there's a commitment to that and meetings always go back to the details and what was said and who said it and what was their inflection in their voice and what they were wearing that day and how it effected my perception of something - that's human nature. We can't rise above that. But I would say that the mission that you and I, the rest of the board is engaged in at HELP of Ojai is larger than this conflict. It's more important than this conflict. And if we can hold that in our hearts, we can work through the trust, we can work through the procedures. So the bottom line is we're not giving up on you and we're asking you not to give up on us and let's find the things that work, both the serving and the building up of this valley is larger than our feelings and we need to recapture a little of that focus if we're going to achieve what we originally set out to do." (Moe) said, "....and that's a.... you know what I really appreciate... I appreciate that and I think a lot of what you've said is really true, but when something is foisted upon you about being distrustful it's really hard until that issue is leveled out, which we have brought to the attention and it does come back to the greater good, and that's why all of us volunteered.... 15 years I've given to this organization because I have a compassion for what I do for this community... so yeah, you're right it has to come back to the greater good, and communication. So I guess the volunteers of Second HELPings will show up at this next meeting, we'll talk about going back to what we love, to why we were there....." (Jeff Holland) said, "....and if you didn't have the passion you have, we wouldn't have changed. And we will address that. I'm simply saying is, there's gotta be a place and a time for the expression of frustration, otherwise you can't move forward... I get that, absolutely I get that, but that in and of itself won't get us together back to serving this community that we all hold so dearly.... and I'm simply saying I think all of us have to have a 500 foot view of this conflict as opposed to a 5 foot view and understand that the intent has to be getting back to the place of serving this community together. And I think that's doable." (Barnett) said, "May I ask who you are?" (Jeff Holland) said, "Yes, I'm sorry. My name is Jeff Holland and I'm on the board and I serve as the pastor at Ojai Presbyterian." (Barnett) said, "If you introduced yourself when you came then I didn't hear" (Jeff Holland) said, "I didn't and I apologize for that." (Wolfe) said, "One... one...Last thing I wanted to actually address was the mission of HELP of Ojai... was it at somewhere in the beginning ummm I'm sorry I don't recall which one... made the comment that mission was serving the elderly. Um or something to that effect... um actually the founding mission back to the point of organization was incorporated, the founding mission is that HELP of Ojai is a basic needs organization.... basic needs is food, access to appropriate housing, access to health care. We prioritize within basic needs, seniors, low-income families, and the homeless. But this is actually a basic needs organization. It wasn't incorporated and founded as a senior organization. And I think umm, it doesn't need that they are in conflict with another.... it means where we put our focus is to make sure that people have food, adequate healthy food, adequate housing and shelter and wherever we can, access to health care... that's appropriate with their needs. We choose and we continue to focus on seniors first and more of our funds, 60% of our funding goes to senior programs first. But just... I just want to make sure we're clear on that, that HELP of Ojai is a basic needs organization. For many years the basic needs in the valley weren't such that it would take up 100% of HELPs resources, but since you know, the last few years the basic needs needs in the valley have grown exponentially and that's where our resources have to go cause that's the founding mission, so just want to make sure in no way do we do anything other than really focus and prioritize on seniors as you can see by senior nutrition, senior transportation, Oak Tree House, those...... but is is actually a basic needs organization." (Barnett) said, "Now those are fine comments, but you're discussing areas that we're not involved in. We're all, I believe, involved in the clothing part of it, sorting the clothing getting it ready for sale. So we're not concerned with how the other areas are going, although we have questions about things that are happening there too that are not very pleasant. So it's the clothing because seniors come in. They have a very limited budget and they come in to buy clothing at the sale, knowing that they're going to get it reasonable and sometimes they just don't quite have the money. We may have it listed for five dollars and they only have $3. Well doggone it we let them buy it for $3. You got the item for free, we prepared it for free, so you get a $3 profit compared to more than $5 for something. We do this only with those that we know, and we have gotten to know our customers over the years because it's the same ones that come back. And, yes we make a little allowances there, but we are not giving away the product and I think you'll have to admit those Saturday Sales where we had the $2, $5 bag sales, we did very well. I don't know how furniture or anything else did. We're only concerned with clothing and that's why I was concerned with nobody's telling us how much the clothing made this time. We're still interested. I'm still a volunteer. I just have not gone back to work and I've talked to Kathleen who was originally head of the volunteers and we're sorry to hear she's leaving." (Wolfe) said, "I don't know where that information came from because at this point she is not going anywhere. So again...." (Barnett) said, "Kathleen herself. I spoke to Kathleen who says she's here til December and that's it" (Wolfe) said, "She is making that decision then... so..... it's not a decision....." (Barnett) said, "No she's unhappy. Cause Kathleen treated us volunteers with a great deal of respect and concern. She knew everyone of us by name and she never passed us by without a smile, a hello how's it going? Something. And if we were doing a job she would Thank us for what we were doing, and we miss this because Kathleen is not head of the Volunteers essentially, she's kinda demoted to Donna now, who should be just tending to the store - that was her job, started running the Volunteers in the clothing and the sorting things... so it has changed. It's not that we've totally given up on the organization. We don't want to see HELP of Ojai fail, but it was going along nicely and then all of a sudden all of the rules change and his has gone downhill badly. And our former customer's tell us how unhappy they are and we're not doing anything to make them unhappy they just tell us, they go in the store the prices are too high, they can't afford them. So they look for the sales at HELP of Ojai, at West Campus Sale. That's our concern, how the other nutrition things are doing, that's another department." (Tucker) said, "I'd like to speak just briefly to that because really kind of going back to... to Jeff's point whether we're... whether you're a volunteer in clothing, whether your a volunteer who teaches Yoga which is what I do, whether you're a volunteer at West Campus, which is what Kelly does, whether you're a volunteer driving Meals to those who can't get food otherwise? No matter what portion we're in, we're all in it together. It's all... it's all... we're here because of the passion for helping because we wanna be available to help others, and so in that way Jeannie what you're doing is the same thing, that we're all doing, it's just that it has different details, so, so, we wanna you know I, I, I would go back and say that it was a wonderful thing for Jeff to say, to hold that intention for all of us, and remember that's why we're here, and that these details are important because we all wanna be recognized, we all wanna be acknowledged and we wanna have our voices heard, all of us want that. But the larger picture is we have to hold those voices and those attentions inside of a much larger container... those 8,000 people you know? Who.... those who receive, those who volunteer, those who give on all levels, all of those folks, so I guess I would say if there's something pressing that's really different for us to hear from you, I do want to hear it. If this is kind of where we are today, I'd like to say there may be other and better more maybe avenues for us to communicate, including this meeting, that we're having where some of these more specific things you know can be discussed. Hopefully holding them still in that larger container or framework. (Barnett) said, "If we could have any meetings that we could discuss the problems? and it was a, excuse me, you brought up the issue with the theft, about not reporting, whatever. We know of a theft that occurred from the sorting room. We knew who committed the theft, and when we reported it, I reported it, it was just blown off. And the person who committed the theft is still well respected at HELP of Ojai, Second HELPings. And this we find unacceptable that when we know somebody has done something wrong and we report it, it's brushed under the table and nothing is ever said about it. Then we hear complaints about theft." (Tucker) said, "Jeannie I would strongly suggest that, with that information you come, make an appointment and see Terri or just come to Terri's office and discuss that with her. I would strongly suggest you go to Terri." (Barnett) said, "I went to Donna. Well the reason I don't is because I went to Donna. I made an appointment to see Donna. I took evidence of a problem with person, and I don't know if you recall the time I came to see you with those six handmade sweaters that came from Norway and Denmark, and were beautiful sweaters and I laid them on your desk and I said what's wrong with these sweaters and you said, Nothing, they're beautiful. I said, we were told we're wasting our time, and they were hung on one of the racks that we got from Mr. Rains, to Throw them out! Throw them in the bag. They're trash, don't waste time on them. There wasn't a thing wrong with those beautiful handmade sweaters. This is the kind of attitude that we were getting down there that we felt... people don't understand. We're trying so hard, and there are people that are still valued in the organization that so things like that." (Tucker Adams) said, "Well perhaps Jeanie we have to try again. I, I think that at this point we have to maybe all of us, attempt to set aside whatever the context is that we're carrying around with us and step into something new. Or step into something together and hopefully create a newer and better and more accommodating and more communicating situation. Because if we continue to refer back to what happened, we're just going to get mired over and over. (Barnett) said, "But these are examples, Tucker, of how we've been reflecting, treated when we have presented a problem." (Tucker Adams) said, "Absolutely, absolutely, and I know that that must have been incredibly frustrating." (Barnett) said, "It was!" (Tucker) said, "Absolutely......" (Barnett) said, "I'll tell ya, I wanted to give Terri a punch in the nose I was so angry. (audience belly laughs)" (Tucker) said, "hahaha incredibly frustrating......" (Terri Wolfe) said, "....I don't understand what I had... to... I guess..... why would you punch me in the nose?" (Barnett) said, "Because the person that told us that... it was written in my letter that I sent you before our meeting, was considered a very honorable person, and I was considered just.... well just forget it.... he has good..... excuse me I said "he" I shouldn't have said that, but you told me, he has very good sense in women's clothing. I'm sorry he's a jerk. I'm a woman. I know woman's clothing. Excuse me Tucker for that.... (Moe) said, "Excuse me. I have to go to work, but I want to say that I think you're right. I think we have to start anew. I don't think that we can just keep going on the same negative, negative, negative, negative" (Tucker) said, "Right......" (Moe) said, "If we can have a meeting like Terri has set for all of us, or whatever to keep going down the old path of poor pitiful pearl, whatever is not going to work. We want to... we loved what we did, so you know I think setting up new venues, setting up new stuff, even though we did have a meeting that was.... stuff... ok we did whatever, let's start anew, let's start on a positive path and see where it goes. I mean, and I really appreciate what you had to say Jeff because yeah, uh we don't want this to hash on for years. We don't want this to hash on for another month. We want continuity." (Jeff Holland) said, "Absolutely......" (Moe) said, "We want to work together because I think all of us heard that we're at Second HELPings and I do senior nutrition and things like that. But we were here for the greater cause, you know and we have to kind of look at that. I just think that when, you know sometimes, hey we all want this and I think sometimes that goes awry. You know and we don't do it to say, "Good Job." We do it because it's the right thing to do. But just to be appreciated once in a while is really nice, so to my fellows I say let's start anew. Let's look to, let's veer left instead of staying on the same old same old and see what it brings us because like I said, we donated over 120 hours out there per week." (Jeff Holland) said, "And that's significant" (Moe) said, "We miss it! You know, we don't know if we're missed." (Wolfe) said, "Absolutely you are missed, absolutely." (Moe) said, "You know? and um you know? I don't know.... I have to go deal with my job that is dealing with seniors so hey, I'll see everybody and um......." (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "I think a lot of it comes down to lousy communication. Just like I went to the website this morning. David Nettles sp? still the chairman, Peggy Russell sp? is still on the board. I will say one thing, in the HELP of Ojai newsletter, it's the first time that they ever advertised the board meeting. Actually was on the calendar......" (Tucker) interupts, "It's actually been on the calendar for the last......" (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "It has never been on the calendar....." (Tucker) said, "I think it......" (Bob/Volunteer) said, "When will it be on the calendar so we can attend the board meetings?" (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "But this is the first time because I do read it cover to cover! Whether I agree with all the stuff or not, I still read." (Tucker) said, "I'm so glad you do." (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "On financial side. I hope there's a written policy on handling money. If not, there should be, and it should be disseminated, not verbally but in writing to all the people that are involved, even the volunteers so they know what the real procedure is. Ok, in Business, as Kelly knows verbal don't hack it." (Torres) said, "We do have written policies and they've been distributed principally to the people who are responsible for that, but there's no reason that everybody shouldn't have an appreciation for what the rules are." (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "....and that way they would understand why. And as for my donations, they're still set aside but I've got to see a difference before I backfill." (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "Well I hope to see you at the next meeting on Second HELPings. I will be there and will continue this on." (Tucker) said, "Thank you all very, very much...." (Bob-Volunteer) said, "Is there another meeting here next month?" (Tucker) said, "There is no August board meeting.... No August..... no...." (Ken Williams/Volunteer) said, "It will be in September...." (Bob-Volunteer) said, "I think Moe glossed it over a bit. You can't smooth it over. There's more to be said and I would like to know when the next meeting is." (Tucker) said, "Will someone be sure that he hears about the Second... the meeting, the monthly meeting? Because I'm not sure he probably doesn't hear well, a good worker....." (Bob-Volunteer) said, "I'll hear about it." (Tucker) said, "Thank you very much for coming...."

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