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SHARON AW/ARE board to move on plan



Published: Tue, August 21, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The board still plans to meet with its staff in a private meeting Thursday.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- The board of directors of Alternatives for Women -- Advocacy, Resources and Education (AW/ARE) said it plans to move forward with a plan designed to focus on the agency's strengths.

The agency has been hit by a work stoppage by 11 of its 14 staff members that began last Tuesday after the staff felt the board wasn't responding to concerns raised about what it felt were breaches of policy and procedure, including compromised confidentiality, unclear communications and undependable leadership and direction.

The staff walked out after board members failed to attend an Aug. 13 meeting to discuss those issues.

The move shut down the agency's abuse and domestic violence hot line and its emergency shelter, although AW/ARE was able to get the hot line back on line using remaining staff and volunteers.

The agency also has been referring clients to other social service agencies for assistance.

Board statement: The board met Monday and issued a statement outlining steps it has taken to improve agency operations while focusing on its strengths and said it remains committed to that process.

Donna Barton, board president, said the board had scheduled a private meeting with staff members for Thursday before the work stoppage and still intends to have that session.

AW/ARE hired a private consulting firm in March to help develop a process of evaluation and change. That study resulted in a May 21 report suggesting an initial plan of action, the board said.

Implementing plan: That report was given to all board and staff members, the board statement said, adding that, since then, the board has begun to implement that plan.

A staff retreat has been planned for September to review developments, the statement said.

"We are committed to continuing a process which will lead to meeting the needs of our communities and, more importantly, the victims of domestic and sexual violence in the best way possible. This can only happen with everyone working together," the statement said.




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