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Commissioners Grill Senior Center Director On Roles, Decision-Making Responsibilities

Fulton County Commissioners have questioned the authority of the Fulton County Senior Center Ad- visory Board to make decisions.

At the commissioners’ Monday, Nov. 26 meeting, Sandy Griggs, director of the center, was grilled by the commissioners on issues, including a decision to take county-funded meals to residents of the Fairlawn Haven apartments.

Minutes released by the commissioners’ office show Dean Genter, a commissioner, asked Griggs who made the decision to take meals to Fairlawn.

“The advisory board,” Griggs said.

“When does the advisory board have any decision on the operation of the senior center,” Genter asked.

“Well, they are an advisory board,” Griggs said.

“Right, they are an advisory board,” Genter said. “They are supposed to meet and bring program advice to the commissioners. The board of commissioners makes the decisions. That decision was not made.”

Griggs said no comment to questions posed by this newspaper.

Genter did not return telephone messages left by this newspaper. Wyse

Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, is also the chairman of the advisory board.

Wyse said in the past, the center has had a “gentlemen’s agreement” with area nursing homes that the center would not deliver meals to nursing homes.

Wyse said he met with Steve Ringenberg, executive director of Fairlawn, who agreed that the Fairlawn apartments are not technically part of the nursing home, and food service is only available to residents at an extra cost.

Wyse said the advisory board made the decision to take a meal to the Fairlawn campus, not wanting to bother the commissioners with a minor issue.

Greater Role

Wyse said he has been on the advisory board for 12 years. In the past, the board would approve reports from the senior center staff.

“We were then informed by the commissioners that they approve the reports. So we just review them,” he said.

He said in the past, a commissioner attended the board’s once-a-month meeting or sent a representative.

Then, starting about a year and a half to two years ago, the advisory board began meeting with the full board of commissioners on a monthly basis, and Griggs was meeting with Vond Hall, county administrator, weekly.

Wyse said the advisory board was not trying to grab power from the commissioners.

“We don’t like to bother them with little stuff,” he said.

Other Issues

Griggs and the commissioners discussed other issues, including a report from the Area Office On Aging. The report pointed out paperwork problems with the senior center home-delivered meal program; it also noted a senior center employee allegedly ate rice out of a pan in the food packaging area.

Griggs said the AOoA observer was on the other side of the room when the alleged incident occurred. Griggs denied the employee ate from a pan.

The minutes say Paul Barnaby, commissioner, said to Griggs, “So we’re calling her (the AOoA observer) a liar then?”

“Am I calling her a liar?” Griggs said.

“You’re calling her a liar,” Barnaby said.

“Yes… I believe that to be pretty strong terminology, as I don’t know what she thought she saw from her position,” Griggs said.

She noted, “My people have had enough training to know that you don’t eat out of a food pan.”

Executive Session

Following the exchange with Griggs, the commissioners met in executive session to discuss the discipline of an employee.

Hall said a pre-discipline investigation will be conducted into the allegation of an employee eating rice out of a pan.

The commissioners also passed a motion authorizing Hall to hire an assistant senior center director.

Wyse said the Senior Center Advisory Board is planning on a work session in January.

Part of the reason for the session is to bring commissioner elect Bill Rufenacht up to speed. Rufenacht replaces Genter on the board of commissioners after the first of the year.

Wyse said the advisory board will try to get a better understanding of how the commissioners want it to handle things at that meeting.

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