Letters to the Editor

CADA: Stafford firing needs explanation

I was outraged to hear of the firing of the executive director of CADA, Valerie Stafford. How can five people who make up the board of directors of CADA make such a decision that will seriously harm the citizens of Island County?

I first met Valerie while forming DV/SA Services of San Juan County. We were in the process of getting the first ever federally funded agency in our county. I found her professionalism to be of the highest quality. She was not only helpful in my many visits, but shared unselfishly ALL her material to insure that San Juan County got an agency of its own. San Juan County owes her for her many contributions in making it possible to receive our grants.

In my experience in working with agencies that work with women victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, the staff often come from the experience of the clients they work with. Often, but not always they may have come from a shelter experience and now want to help others. While that can be a good thing, it is not uncommon that these same people have not had the time to heal themselves and work through their own issues. The executive director’s job is to set policies and procedures, create new programs, work with granting agencies and personnel, just to mention a few.

The executive director should be a strong, empowered leader. To the staff that has not healed from their own abuse issues, the strong leader is often seen as controlling, thus constantly bringing up their own issues of being around controlling people that contributes to their low self-esteem and insecurities.

Working with personnel is a challenging task, always trying to delicately balance personalities, on a day-to-day basis, this being the most unrewarding part of our jobs. Staff turnover among personnel in agencies such as this is normally very high, often it’s because people move on, or grants run out and programs need to be cut.

Unless Valerie embezzled funds, misused grants, wasn’t seen by the community as a leader, I simply do not understand why she was fired.

Your community is owed an explanation. You deserve that, and I deserve that. You should be outraged by this action of the board of CADA. It is my tax dollars that support your agency as well as every agency that works with victims/survivors of abuse.

Pat Reveles

Friday Harbor

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