Letters to the Editor

Stafford: CADA board owes answers

About a month ago one of us wrote a letter to the editor expressing concerns that the CADA Board of Directors would have a very difficult time replacing Valerie Stafford as executive director. At the time the letter cautioned the board that the community would be watching how they handled this delicate matter.

Now, thanks to the excellent coverage by the Whidbey News-Times, those concerns have grown to the level of outrage. We believe that as a public non-profit agency supported largely by tax dollars the board needs to answer some questions.

On what grounds was Valerie Stafford fired? While hiring and terminating the executive director is certainly a matter of the board’s discretion,Valerie Stafford is a high-profile professional who represented the agency to many other agencies and to the community at large. Unwillingness to disclose any of the circumstances surrounding her termination only fuels the suspicion that the board cannot justify its action and fears a potential lawsuit. Claims to agency policies of “confidentiality” are ludicrous in this case since those policies refer to the clients’ right to privacy, not the board’s.

Were proper procedures followed for Valerie’s termination? These procedures are spelled out in the Personnel Policies manual for the organization.

What plans and provisions did the board make for the transitional period?

Who has been running the agency? How are applicants for the replacement being recruited and screened?

Is the board in regular contact with the state to make certain that CADA stays in compliance with contracts and accreditation standards?

What qualifications does the interim administrator have other than being a “fine gentleman?”

How can the board justify the violation of procedure, which is clearly spelled out in the by-laws of the organization — a matter of public record, for choosing and terminating board members?

Does the vice president of the board speak for all the board members when making statements to the press?

If the board refuses to answer these questions or if the answers suggest the level of impropriety that many members of the community are beginning to suspect, then they need to resign immediately.

A volunteer board of directors for a non-profit organization must inspire the trust of the public when it comes to oversight of the agency’s funds, programs, and policies.

We expect them to provide leadership with honesty, openness, and integrity.

Perhaps the summarily “fired” board members, who were not in any way a part of this debacle, or other concerned citizens in the community will step in to help the agency out of this mess. Election of officers for the CADA Board of Directors for the fiscal year 2002-2003 are held in June.

Richard Shepard,


Barbara Moburg,

Oak Harbor

Diane Robbins,


Peggy Whitford,

Oak Harbor

Past four presidents of CADA Board of Directors

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