Petition Continues to Circulate at Cape Henlopen Senior Center - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Petition Continues to Circulate at Cape Henlopen Senior Center


REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - At the Cape Henlopen Senior Center debate is rising after a petition filled with dozens of signatures has called for the resignation of two center leaders. The most recent petition, which has 79 signatures on it, calls for the resignation of both the Executive Director Leslie Boehlert and Board President Patrick Canan.

The center has 1,054 members, according to Canan, who told WBOC that the majority of members are not as critical of the two leaders' performance. But on Wednesday afternoon a group of about a dozen members told a different story to WBOC.

"We would like to have the director removed," said Ann Callahan a senior citizen who is a member. "And I guess the board should be re-elected for the way they're acting."

The group of members said that the leaders lacked transparency, and that they made many decisions, including the firing of staff without consulting members. Some also mentioned concerns with "inappropriate behavior" in the center.

 "We want our senior center back," said another member Nellie Shaffer. "Not the way she wants to run it like a business. It's a senior center. Not a business."

WBOC reached out to both of the officials in question, and they each said that the majority of people support them.

"With any organization there's bound to be people who agree to disagree," said Boehlert. "But 95 percent of the membership are very positive, very active, and very happy with the center."

Another member named Jeanie Sisk told WBOC that these complaints have turned into action as well. She said that various staff members have filed labor complaints against the leadership of the center. She also said that various members were going to attempt to file criminal harassment charges to police on Wednesday afternoon.

The senior center has a 16-person board, including a 4-person executive board, made up of President Patrick Canan, Vice-president Richard Blazovsky, Treasurer Robert McDaniels, and Secretary Cheryl Snyder.

The senior center also receives state funding through grant-and-aid funding. For this reason, the debate has even reached the point that elected leaders are getting involved. Representative Peter Schwartzkopf has had multiple meetings with the board members, to hear about the petition, and the growing conflict.

"When you have a senior center that is in this much turmoil you have to look at the day to day operation." he said. "And who is doing all this. And that is the executive director and the president of the executive board."

Many members like Bill Gordon have come to the defense of Boehlert and Canan, arguing this is a "small group" in opposition.

"This seems to be in my estimation the tail trying to wag the dog here..." he said. "They're working on rumors, lies, innuendos, and half-truths."

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