Letter: Fired STARS volunteers seek more than ’empty words’
On Nov. 14, 39 individuals signed a confidential letter to the STARS board raising concerns about their leadership. See http://bit.ly/STARSconcerns. An article in this paper as well as several letters to the editor documented that over 20 volunteers were fired for speaking out in this private communication.
Now, two and a half months later, the board has invited us through the newspaper to return if we meet with the program director who fired us. We appreciate their desire to have the 20-plus volunteers return with their average of 2,800 hours of service per year, 134 years of experience with STARS, seven PSIA certifications and eight Volunteer of the Year awards; however, this invitation is sorely lacking in three ways.
First, the board’s letter does not acknowledge our concerns or any actions they are taking to resolve them. It seems to be business as usual despite the resignation of their long-term executive director. Continuing the practices that brought STARS to this crisis is not a path to excellence for STARS. We hope the board can and will begin to rebuild confidence by inviting all constituencies in to achieve excellence. However, that requires tangible and committed actions, which we have not seen from this board.
Second, an essential step toward rebuilding bridges includes an apology from the organization at large and the individual who fired us. We will not ask for forgiveness in order to return as a volunteer when we communicated with this board in a confidential letter and they publicly fired us. And how can we return when we still have unaddressed concerns?
Third, we do not understand why STARS chose to make this offer through the newspaper rather than calling or emailing each of us to invite our return. STARS fired us by email and continues to solicit donations from us by email even after we were fired.
This letter is signed by the leadership team for the fired volunteers and by donors who are sadly disappointed in the STARS board’s lack of care and consideration for their constituencies. We hope the board will address concerns in a meaningful manner and with actions, not just empty words.
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