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- The senior changes approved and implemented so far be rescinded.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:
- Senior staff who are experts in helping seniors get information and referrals, outreach, and other social services were all recommended to be laid off.
- APRC’s moving of services and programs to The Grove which will lessen the effectiveness of integrated senior programs/services.
- APRC’s focus on cost-recovery maximization creates barriers for the most vulnerable.
- APRC has no expertise in senior services.
- The 2016 Performance Audit by Matrix Consulting did not support the Commission approved 8/9/17 changes.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- Senior sub-committee’s conclusion that younger seniors were underserved was based on insufficient information.
- The subcommittee process gave limited notice of meetings, insufficient public input, and dismissed public comments and Senior Center staff input.
- APRC’s attitude towards the aged and towards the public is concerning.
- 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!