(03/08/2001)
By Bob Weaver

Accusations and issues surfaced with personalities flaring at the official board meeting of the Minnora Community Center, Wednesday evening. President Wanda Richards read prepared comments regarding her position at the opening of the meeting, after board member Larry Cottrell made comments regarding the behavior of Richards and Gene Hicks.

Richards said "The bickering must stop. We're going to move forward." About fifty people attended the meeting, with the principal participants managing to keep their anger in check.

Board members wade through agenda, finances discussed

Dissenting community member David Corson did not appear, although he has announced he is moving forward with a civil suit against the center and President Richards.

Prior to the meeting, Larry Cottrell circulated his position in a document which listed six items he considers inappropriate, covering possible fraud, drinking problems, sexual harassment, raffle problems, bid discrepancies and the handling of money.

Richards discussed at length the finances of the center, producing numerous documents about financial management. The issue of mishandling a $1000 grant from the Family Resource Network to develop a Starting Points Program was discussed.

Rev. Peig Schmitz told the group "This is an enormous undertaking which needs more commitment from community people.

Board members larry Cottrell (L) and Rev. Peig Schmitz presented views

The board elected Donna Jordan the new treasurer, after which she announced she would ask for an audit before assuming the position.

Discussion regarding the election of Hershel Yost as a board member remained unresolved, with dissenting parties accusing each other of misunderstandings.

Richards stuck to her sixteen item agenda, some of which addressed past problems and new projects for the center.

Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center CEO Barb Lay offered to redirect some grant funds for assisting the MCC board to overcome problems. Cottrell said a Conflict Resolution Workshop was scheduled at Spring Heights in Roane County and board members are encouraged to attend.

MHHCC CEO, Barb Lay offers assistance to board members

Richards ruled Cottrell out of order later in the meeting when he attempted to discuss personal concerns, stating "My personal life is none of your business."

"We want to have tea and cookies and laugh again," said Richards, who says she is not enjoying the conflict. She said more people would come forward to help with the center if "You would stop spreading trash around," referring to Cottrell.

Personalities flared, issues raised at MCC meeting

The meeting was quickly adjourned as board member Donna Jordan was presenting a "compromise proposal" which asked for the President to step aside for six months, allowing time for mediating problems and by-law review.

Other business details of Wednesday's meeting will continue in The Herald.


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