By Bob Weaver|
Bitter accusations and name calling
dominated a public meeting held at the Minnora Community Center Saturday
afternoon. Two widely divided groups continued their "no holds barred"
confrontation in what was billed as a meeting to resolve conflict over the
Larry Cottrell, a board member of the Minnora Community Center, told the
group of about thirty people, he had collected 400 signatures on a petition
requesting current board members to resign. Larry Cottrell (middle)
Board member Donna Jordan chaired the meeting, which often bounced out
of control. She said the organization did not use Robert's Rules of Order.
Donna Jordon (L) and Rose Jarvis (R) involved in heated exchange
About 30 people attend public meeting
Emma Deel brings some humor to tense dialogue
Cottrell's proposal called for five people to take over the operation of the
center until community members could elect new board members in
President of MCC Wanda Richards attended the meeting briefly, issuing a
statement. She said Cottrell was telling people there was a consensus
among board members, when in fact he was speaking only for his group.
She said "This is a clandestine move" to falsely influence people. She said
"The center has been functioning well," with thousands of volunteer
Richards said two of Cottrell's supporters have or are being removed from
the board for missing three consecutive meetings. "This is really Cottrell and
Jordan complaining," she said.
Cottrell appeared to accuse Richards of stealing money. "You have run this
place illegally, irresponsibly and drunkenly at times, and fudged on the
money," he said. Richards responded "If I had ever stolen one dime from this
place it would have been closed a long time ago."
Donna Jordan said an audit needs to be done. Richards said "If you agree to
pay for an audit, you can do it at any time." Richards said when Cottrell was
treasurer, he had the center's money, including grant money, in his personal
checking account. "He was asked to remove it by Bill Howley," she said.
Richards said MCC has a legally sitting board, saying actions to displace it
are illegal. She said "No one is qualified to disrupt it," and people who are
convinced to upset the board's function are likely to be held liable.
Cottrell accused Richards of changing the by-laws so no one else could be
elected but her relatives and friends. David Corson said "Two illegal
elections were held." Jarvis told Corson he had interrupted meetings. He
said "You're a liar." Corson continued to refer to a lawsuit he has against the
David Corson says his lawsuit may solve problems
Cottrell said he felt it was in the best interests of the community center for
everyone to step aside. "I am willing to step aside," he said. He said if
Richard's supporters do not step aside "we'll go to court."
Vice-president Rose Jarvis and Richards said trying to take over boards
without their involvement is illegal. They gave an example of such methods
being used against fire department boards or school boards. "It is an illegal
act," said Jarvis.
Richards warned community residents they (Cottrell's group) could be
"baiting you into something that is not real." She then announced WalMart
had given a $1000 donation to the center.
Donna Jordan said she thought everyone was in agreement about board
members stepping down. She said "Justin Wizard had virtually guaranteed
me they would resign," referring to Richard's group.
Cottrell and David Corson continued to discuss alleged drinking habits of
Richards and Jarvis throughout the meeting. Cottrell, after Jarvis made a
statement, asked "Were you drunk?" Jarvis said her work performance
counted, and her personal life was not the issue. Richards asked "Why don't
these people put their time and energy into helping the center?"
Coleman Burrows, a member of the Board of Directors of Minnie Hamilton
Health Care said "It seems to me many of the problems are about how
boards should function." Donna Jordan said the Richard's faction declined to
go to special board training.
A visitor to the meeting said "This is sad for the community. A house divided
cannot stand. It breaks my heart to see Minnie Hamilton leaving."
Cottrell asked Jarvis "Have you ever been arrested DUI?"
The meeting ended in a heated exchange with Jarvis and Cottrell accusing
one another of alcohol and marijuana problems. Those attending the
meeting left the room, with no resolution of problems that have been
on-going for about two years.