SUPPORT OUR SENIORS
Here is how it stands after the first APRC Ad Hoc Senior Advisory Committee meeting on October 10, 2017. APRC took back some of its actions due to public outcry; however major concerns remain.
Listen to how the Ad Hoc committee already shows bias against public input
The committee voted Jackie Bachman as the chair and Marian Moore as the co-chair.
The following are the ‘brainstorm” ideas of what the committee wanted to address:
1. Transition staffing at the senior center
2. Marketing Plan
4. demographics - economics, age by 97520
5. Key agency partners, e.g., food and friends, foot care clinic, heating assistance
6. identifying stakeholders
7. identify underserved population - younger retiree or super seniors
8. identify social services available in Ashland and regionally, and potential of provision of sufficient access to the social services
9. opportunities for intergenerational programs
10. possibilities of multiple locations
11. gain agreement of the major functions of the senior program and center
13. space, existing and/or new buildings, flexibility, functions
14. review budget
15. senior participation information
16. considering partnerships in cost recovery program
17. cost recovery as a program for seniors
18. scope of committee’s review
19. funding sources, grants etc
20. what other organizations are doing
21. age friendly Ashland .. all ages
22. creating public hearing and input process
23. open house and the survey
24. training Senior Program staff to respond to all kinds of senior issues/needs/resources
27. official mission and vision for the Senior Program
28. Plans for Hunter Park and how it would
29. Expansion of the senior center
30. information on other senior centers
Rachel Dials and Mr. Black talked about a senior fall prevention class that will be held at The Grove. Mr. Black complimented for Ms. Dials in finding expansion programs. Yet fall prevention classes have been held at the Senior Center in the past.
The situation as of October 10, 2017
During the first Ad Hoc Senior Advisory Committee meeting on October 10, 2017, Director Michael Black changed his position on a couple of key areas due to public pressure. Mr. Black stated:
The Senior Program management and core functions of the Senior Center will not be moved to the Grove.
Cost recovery for Senior Programs is not a mandate. The Senior Program will not be threatened closure due to low cost recovery.
Mr. Black also clearly stated the following:
No established senior classes will be moved to the Grove
The expansion of the Daniel Meyer pool will not effect the Senior Center.
Concerns as of Ad Hoc Meeting October 10, 2017
1. No public input was allowed for the first meeting. In fact public input is limited to two to-be-determined dates. This breaks the promise to the Mayor and City Council that public input would be held at each committee meeting. Also, written meeting minutes will be limited to ‘action items.’
2. Discussion of current Senior Center/Program staffing during the 3-5 month transition period found it seriously lacking.
- Mr. Black misrepresented level of knowledge and experience of temporary staff.
- No experienced senior program personnel are available.
- Outreach services by senior center staff to elders in need and those unable to get to the senior center are missing.
- No knowledgeable staff for informational and referral services.
- Inadequate job search to fill positions.
- No Senior Manager in position to maintain safety net.
- Inadequate staffing hours for senior center use.
3. Senior Center hours have been significantly scaled back to ‘official hours’ of 8:30am to 3:30pm which negatively impacts many activities and senior needs. The past senior center staff would frequently keep the center open until 5pm or later to accommodate card playing, foot care treatments, Somatics, driver safety courses, late rides for seniors, etc. What happens now?
4. When committee members requested Senior Center participation data, budget date, senior center comparisons … APRC staff did not identify and share such information collected and reviewed at the past senior subcommittee meetings (Ashland Senior Center’s Quality Review Binder, January 24, 2017). Also, after the meetings when requested that the Binder information be provided to committee members so that they could review it during the month-long wait for the next meeting, APRC refused. That raises the question of whether or not APRC really wants the Ad Hoc committee to be effective.
Listen to Commissioner Lewis say how valuable the Binder is during a recent senior subcommittee meeting.
5. Facilitator confirmed that the advisory committee could make recommendations only. The final decisions are made by APR staff and commissioners. That does not make us confident due to the fact of what happened at the prior APRC Senior Subcommittee meetings where senior program/center expert's and participant's inputs were dismissed.
Summary of key points made at
Ad Hoc Meeting October 10, 2017
Ashland SOS gives public input at 11/13/17 APRC Senior Advisory Committee
For Public Record at APRC Senior Advisory Committee 11/13/17
Over a month ago we asked Commissioner Gardiner: Has there been any attempt by the commission to generate data about the underserved senior community? That was the phrase the commission had used - there are underserved seniors that they want to reach by expansion. Do you have any data? Have you done the research, a needs assessment, a survey to establish this need? The answer was no. So the idea that the senior program needs expansion is APRC’s idea and it has no statistical or factual support. It is a generated need.
One of the things that we’ve heard from the commission in recent meetings is that they are listening to the senior community. The proof of their listening is they have changed some of the things that people objected to. They are backpedalling. What is indicated is that their recommendations were ill-conceived, ill-considered, formulated with no context within the community, and with seemingly no awareness as to the consequences to our vulnerable senior population.
I believe Ashland SOS group is largely responsible for making them backpedal. But it does not make APRC look good. As a bone to the public, they created this ad hoc advisory committee. You have been chosen by the APR staff and tasked with formulating a new improved expanded program. But the first thing APR has done is taken two things off the table. First: restoring the laid off employees to the senior center program. Second: any review of APRC’s entire process and recommendations. APR admits they made some errors and there was a little bit of poor communication involved but they contend we need to go forward from here and reformulate the senior program. Those two items ARE the issues. They are what broke the successful, state recognized Senior Program. As such, this makes the senior advisory committee just window dressing.
This committee has talked about wanting public input to be “informed listening” or “informed input”; trying to massage the public commentary. You should know that we are very informed.
Our issue with the committee is that you are held to the standards of impotence. You do not have decision-making abilities; you can only make recommendations which APRC then considers. Your recommendations can be completely overridden by the commission. You are bound by the very action that started this mess in the first place. If this committee cannot and does not address the underlying problem, this nothing more than a drawn out attempt to normalize serious wrong-doing.
A senior recently asked Ashland SOS “What was the problem in the first place that led APRC to get into this?”
Great question. The initial statement of what they were doing was based on financial concerns, the need to generate more revenue, and an underserved population which they never established or identified. Again, the problem is something they created. Responsible public servants should proceed by first identifying the problem and the need. Then they design goals and specific objectives. That’s followed by the creation of a plan to carry out the objectives to solve the problem. They did not do any of that. They still don’t have clear goals and objectives, and they never defined a problem. APRC has lost the public’s trust.
Video of Dec. 11, 2017
Senior Advisory Committee
APRC Jan. 22, 2018 Meeting
APRC latest actions, January 2018:
Concerns about the direction APRC and the ad hoc senior advisory commission is going includes:
• Ad Hoc committee recommendations may sound positive; however, they are mostly conceptual. How APRC implements them down the road is what matters. APRC has already showed their hand in wanting to scale back (and outsource) social services (information/referral and outreach services) and expand recreation programs where revenue generation from younger seniors is more possible.
• APRC has passed the ad hoc committee’s initial recommendations without doing an adequate evaluation of the budget implications. If the budget is not increased, everything is certainly window dressing.
• The ad hoc recommended administration, record keeping and structure are geared toward a large city (over 100,000 population) rather than a city of Ashland’s size (21,000). APRC and the ad hoc committee have not considered the costs of building the bureaucracy, supporting computer program technologies and additional staffing it will require. It will direct staff to do paper/computer work instead of dedicating time to provide direct services to those most in need.
• APRC enhanced the senior program responsibilities, position, and manager’s role without review of APR’s overall structure in order to cut back personnel in other areas that used to have such responsibilities, e.g., recreation department.
• APRC adds highly paid staff to its organization which is already top heavy.
• The program and job descriptions are all set up to outsource the information/referral and outreach to regional agencies that have slim staffing. Local staff for such services are more efficient and effective.
• The community survey is not statistically sound, slanted toward desired results and under-represents social services needs.
• With the current legal actions against APRC - senior manager wrongful discharge and contract violations, age discrimination, and ethics violation - APRC should not rush (delay) re-organization actions until outcomes of such actions become clear.