ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
The Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse has made a major change to its staff.
The board of directors for the clubhouse, which provides counselling and work opportunities for patients who have recently left the Centennial Centre and people recovering from addictions, has terminated executive director Debbie Lamey.
At a special meeting open to only members of the clubhouse and the board of directors, it was announced that Lamey would be terminated — much to the displeasure of some clubhouse members.
When members found out about the action, a petition to reverse it surfaced.
The petition, which was delivered to the 10 members of the board of directors at the meeting on June 23, cited Lamey’s ‘tremendous amount of effort into successfully getting as many members as possible actively involved in the community,’ along with six others as reasons to prevent her termination.
According to one member, who preferred not to be identified, the board took in the petition and personal accounts from members, but did not respond to any requests.
A small group of members left the clubhouse visibly upset following the meeting.
The major issue for many of the members is the question of why Lamey was terminated.
“We just want to know why she’s being fired,” said member Laurence White Jr., who initiated the petition. “If it’s for a just reason, that’s fine, but we want to know why.”
According to a member of the clubhouse, the board of directors cited the fact that Ponoka is a small town and letting that information out to the public could affect Lamey in the future.
Lamey has been quiet on the issue, but offered her thanks and appreciation to the community for their support.
“As I go forward in my new endeavours, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for all your support you have shown me and the members of the Ponoka Rising Sun Clubhouse,” said Lamey in an email sent to the Ponoka News.
Speculation and current events have some members believing that the termination of Lamey was precipitated by two clubhouse subordinates leaving their positions.
According to the clubhouse’s bylaws, part of the powers and duties of the board include ‘hiring and evaluation of Executive Director’ and are not subject to member votes, unlike many other issues that are discussed at board meetings.
After a brief phone call with board chair Sherry Krammer, she insisted that they would have no comment on the situation until after a special meeting on June 27.
Many businesses in the area use the clubhouse’s recycling services and participate in activities put on by the clubhouse, including the annual garage sale.
The clubhouse receives $250,000 annually from the provincial government and receives the rest of its income from membership dues and fundraising.
Krammer was unable for comment following the June 27 meeting.