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Senior center director resigns
Oak Harbor Senior Center Director Bridget DeMuth surprised city officials this week by resigning after running the center for over 16 years.
City Administrator Thom Myers said DeMuth will be sorely missed, but the center will keep running as usual. He added that Howard Thomas, retired Navy public affairs officer and chairman of the senior center advisory board, will likely be appointed as interim director.
DeMuth said leaving the job has been something shes been thinking about doing for awhile in order to pursue other interests, but it wasnt an easy decision.
If people would just quit crying when I tell them Im leaving, she said, I would quit crying as well.
DeMuth said her goal was to get the adult daycare relocated and running smoothly. Now that its been accomplished, she said shes going to take some time off to do some writing and to be a grandmother.
Its been a good 16 and a half years, she said. I love these folks and the staff.
Myers said city officials are sad to lose a person with so much experience and dedication. He said both he and Mayor Patty Cohen asked DeMuth to reconsider.
Councilman Eric Gerber, a member of the senior center advisory board, echoed Myers. Its very unfortunate for our community to lose such a highly respected individual, he said.
Gerber encourages all senior citizen to contact elected officials and advisory board members to help shape the future of the senior center administration. I will be watching closely and helping in any way possible to ensure the current senior programs stay intact, he said.
According to Myers, the city will go through a full-board search to find a replacement for DeMuth.
The senior center is funded by one-third city money, one-third county funds and one-third from community donations and fund-raising. The community has always been very generous, DeMuth said.
Yet Myers said the idea of turning the senior center into a non-profit organization, instead of a city department, is an idea thats been kicked around for awhile as a way to cut city spending at a time of budget woes. He admits the idea will likely pop up back in the future.
Its an issue that will be looked at, he said.