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County Senior Center Board Disbanded, But Nobody Knew




At the end of December, Fulton County commissioners disbanded the county Senior Center Advisory Board.

But nobody told the advisory board members.

In fact, the advisory board held a January meeting while it technically did not exist, with Bill Rufenacht, a commissioner, in attendance.

Rufenacht said Monday he never told the advisory board it had been disbanded.

When asked why he didn’t inform the advisory board of its status, Rufenacht said, “That’s a good question.”

He called the decision “an error in my judgment, not telling them.”

The advisory board has since been reconstituted with the same members. A new document spelling out the advisory board’s responsibilities is being developed, Rufenacht said.

A draft version was shared with the board, he said.

Flap

A flap between the advisory board and commissioners surfaced late last year, when the commissioners learned the board had approved taking county-funded meals to residents at the Fairlawn Apartments.

Minutes from a Nov. 26, 2012 meeting between commissioners and Sandy Griggs, senior center director, indicate the commissioners were upset because the advisory board had no authority to approve such an action.

Dean Genter, then a commissioner, was quoted in the meeting minutes as saying the advisory board is “supposed to meet and bring program advice to the commissioners.

“The board of commissioners makes the decisions.”

Funding

Jim Wyse, Archbold may- or, a 12-year member of the advisory board, and current board chairman, said after the board was disbanded, it was discovered an advisory board was necessary to receive some funding.

Rufenacht said there are actually two advisory boards: one senior center advisory board that reviews programs and makes recommendations to the commissioners, and a “Fulton County Senior Center Advisory Board, Inc.”

Rufenacht said the advisory board, inc., is set up by state law to receive donations. Its membership is the same as the advisory board.

The “advisory board, inc.,” was technically never disbanded, so the ability of the senior center to receive funding was never in question, Rufenacht said.

Monday Meeting

The advisory board does not meet during February and August. It met with the full board of commissioners on Monday.

Rufenacht said the decision was made to have the two boards meet so both could hear each others’ concerns on a one-on-one basis, rather than having questions and issues pass through others.

He said the Monday session “was a really good meeting. There was a lot of good discussion about the senior center.

“We definitely came out of that meeting with good feelings on both sides.”



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