Thursday, March 19, 2009

Middletown's Senior Center Director

Yesterday in pointing fingers for the administration of our Senior Center, I purposely ignored the Director. The reason being that if you accept the fact that everyone involved in the Center acts rather benignly, there is only one person responsbile for anything happening at the Center- the Director, Arlene Rodrigues Kaull. She is a veteran of 30 years at Town Hall, but only the last ?10 with the Senior Center.

There seems to be little or no input from anyone else. Not that many years ago the budget ran through a vigorous vetting process by the Senior Board. However, this no longer is evident. One would hope that the Town Admin. & Council would play a central role in the running of the Center (like- they have the $), but I will point out a few factors rendering this notion somewhat irrelevant at best (oh, you dreamers).

The Director, as I've noted before, had her brother on the Council with a Democratic majority. For awhile he was the President. So how much oversight would you have given- even as a Council member not to mention the Town Administrator? Be honest. Yup, that's how much it got. Then let's get down to her being an officer for the last few years of the Democratic Town Committee. She raised the $, ran the campaigns, & got the candidates- most of whom were elected (even the Republicans that they supported!). Incestuous? Hey, I tried to tell you. How much of a commitment is there then with the Council even now, to exercise more than token oversight? And if you think that there is, you still believe in the Easter bunny, right?

Any good things at the Center must be attributed to her, as well as the bad & the ugly because, make no mistake about it, this is a one-person operation.

Not abiding by Open Meeting Laws? I've got to point to her. These laws have been around awhile & it is the department heads who often point them out at ANY town meeting I've ever attended or been a part of. What seems to be a hefty budget with half of it in salaries- keep pointing. A center run out of a private checkbook in her name only (yes, I've seen this) with no accounting to the Board that I've ever read- just plain irresponsible, not to mention stupid. A lackluster group of seniors bleeding members- yup, you've got it. Tired finger?

I don't like being negative & I don't like pointing the finger; especially at one person. But the buck does seem to stop here, doesn't it? While the Senior Center does work for some, it's not working for the vast majority. I've often been tempted to go out & join the one in Newport. Best bang for the buck & all that. Just too busy presently & still in surgery-recovery mode. My husband's parents did join & when my mom comes, that's where I'll sign her up.

BTW, there's absolutely no use in dropping a dead fish off at my house a la "fishgate." After laughing myself silly, I'd make darn good use of the thing; esp. on Friday!

So, what's to be done? Next and final article coming. Positive only. Any ideas or solutions- welcome!
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