Langley Seniors Centre board wins vote of confidence

The current board of the Langley Senior Resources Society will stay in place after a strong vote of support from the membership Tuesday afternoon.

The board had called an extraordinary general meeting and put forward a resolution to remove the entire board. The move came in the wake of months of turmoil with a number of members upset by staff and volunteer changes, and the stripping of one member of access to the center.

After a two-and-a-half hour meeting, members voted 147 to keep the board, 48 to remove them. Hundreds of members were packed into the main hall and the lounge area nearby.

“This needed to happen, because this board could not move any further without the confidence of the members,” said board chair Shauna Sailer.

A group of society members including Vic Rurka and Joyce King have been petitioning for changes for the past several weeks. Rurka says he unfairly had his membership and rights to visit the center revoked.

Before the vote, King said that their petition never asked for the board to resign, but to review actions of the board that didn’t follow bylaws.

“We are not here to destroy the society or the centre,” said King.

She said she didn’t like the way staff members have been  mistreated and was standing up for people she loves.

While King spoke critically of the board, most of those stepping up to the microphone were in favour of keeping the current board.

“I believe that there could not be a better board,” said Marvin Shore, himself a retired former board member.

Others launched accusations of bullying or rudeness against some of those who were discontented with the way the centre has been run.

Sailer admitted during a presentation before the vote that there have been problems in the center, including an internal investigation now taking place into missing cash, a WCB investigation that a staff member was being assaulted by a member, and the fact that executive director Shelley Wells has been on sick leave for some time. Financial issues prompted staffing changes and there were resignations and other departures that complicated things.

Sailer said there had been bullying of staff and volunteers by some of the members of the society.

She also defended the board, saying that they have always acted in the interests of the center and the society.

With staffing shortages in key positions, board members have taken on work at the centre to ensure staff were paid and the books were in order, Sailer said.

The board asked for members to come forward to apply to join as additional directors, to help out before an annual general meeting scheduled for September.

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