Call to Action – Support Our Seniors (SOS)

Support Our Seniors (SOS)

Ashland citizens are concerned about the August 9 recommendations for the Senior Center. Groups of citizens who oppose the decision made by the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (APRC) are getting organized. Below are suggestions for what YOU can do.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Attend city council meetings and make public comment
  • Attend APRC meetings and make public comment
  • Write letters and/or send email to elected officials and staff
  • Write Letters to the Editor for local newspapers
  • Post on social media -always reinforce your message through social media

 

SPEAK AS ONE VOICE (ASKS):

 

  • The senior changes approved and implemented so far be rescinded. Go back the way it was.
  • Hire back the senior center staff and keep current senior center manager, Christine Dodson.
  • Move the Senior Center and Programs from APRC to the City. This would allow autonomy for the programs, minimize the focus of cost-recovery.
  • Keep the Senior Center building as a dedicated space where senior programs are offered.

 

KEY CONCERNS –  (talking points) that the public and elected officials need to hear:

 

  1. Senior staff who are experts in helping seniors get information and referrals, outreach, and other social services were all recommended to be laid off.
  2. APRC’s moving of services and programs to The Grove which will lessen the effectiveness of integrated senior programs/services.
  3. APRC’s focus on cost-recovery maximization creates barriers for the most vulnerable.
  4. APRC has no expertise in senior services.
  5. The 2016 Performance Audit by Matrix Consulting did not support the Commission approved 8/9/17 changes.
  6. The comparison of Ashland’s Senior center to other centers in “comparable” cities was faulty due to its inadequate depth and transparency (Black’s recommendation memo dated 8/7/17).
  7. Ashland Senior Center’s limited budget and facility size required focus on meeting Ashland citizens most critical needs (such as, social services emphasizing informational and referrals, outreach, low-income meals and senior activities). To expand programs would demand a sizable increase in budget and staffing for the senior center … after a comprehensive community needs assessment.
  8. Senior sub-committee’s conclusion (in Black’s recommendation memo dated 8/7/17) that Ashland Senior Center was staffed and funded comfortably and could offer more senior services were based on faulty analysis (see 6 and 7 above).
  9. Senior sub-committee’s conclusion that younger seniors were underserved was based on insufficient information.
  10. The subcommittee process gave limited notice of meetings, insufficient public input, and dismissed public comments and Senior Center staff input.
  11. APRC’s attitude towards the aged and towards the public is concerning.
  12. APRC’s plans to upscale its recreational programs and facilities will unfairly compete with local private sector businesses.

 

Watch for specifics on how to do the above!

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//inserted by Sharon