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Board fires Action Center director Ezard


Rita Ezard says she had no warning, just took her last check and was told to leave

The director of the Sandy Community Action Center has been fired. Longtime Director Rita Ezard was shocked, she said, when the board of directors told her that her services would no longer be needed.

by: FILE PHOTO - Rita Ezard, shown here in 2010 working at the Sandy Community Action Center, has been fired from her position as executive director. FILE PHOTOThere was no warning or transition time; Ezard left the center as soon as she was informed. And she has not returned to the center that had become her lifestyle for more than 18 years.

The Action Center is a hunger-relief agency serving low-income people who live within the Oregon Trail School District, including Boring.

While Board Chairwoman Kate Holleran would not speak of the details of the separation agreement, Ezard said the reasons for her firing likely stem from her resistance to compliance with suggestions from some board members.

“I’m not a high-tech person,” Ezard said. “And a lot of (board members) are business people. They probably wanted somebody more high-tech, I think. And that’s not me.

“I think they’re into Facebook and computer stuff. I don’t do that. (For example) I was trained to do deposits in a certain way years ago, and that’s the way I always did it. Apparently they decided that was not the way they wanted to do it.”

Ezard did say she would have taken training to do things in the way the board wanted, but was not given an opportunity or asked if she would learn new methods.

She said the board needs to hire a store manager because her responsibilities required more than 40 hours a week.

“Quite frankly, running that center is a lot more than one person can handle,” Ezard said. “Sometimes I took the easy road, and maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do. I spread myself out too thinly in order to get everything done, but sometimes that’s what you have to do.”

However, Holleran said not many changes are in the works; all of the volunteers are still working and all the center’s services continue to benefit people in need.

“Any time there’s an organizational change, we have to look at all of our services and be sure that we’re able to do them as well as we have in the past,” Holleran said, adding it would take the board four or five months to hire a new executive director.

In the meantime, center volunteer Shirley Dueber is filling in as interim director on a temporary basis. Dueber said the center is always in need of volunteers — for any number of hours on any specific days, whatever people are able to give.

For information on volunteering, call 503-668-4746.

During that four or five-month search, Holleran said the board would be looking at anything that could be done to improve the operation.

“We’ve got some processing to do,” Holleran said of the interim period. “We’ve got some reflecting to do. We have to look over everything we’ve done and figure out if we can do it better. But we are committed 100 percent to delivering food to our community.”

Ezard said there have been some new members added to the board over the past three years, and that has added stress to the job trying to satisfy their interests.

“I always knew that my job was (an at-will position),” Ezard said. “It depended on the people on the board.”

Ezard has a bit of regret that she wasn’t given an opportunity to conform to the changing desires of the board, likely because she misses doing what she has done for so many years.

“I raised half of the town — fed, clothed, raised,” she said. “I loved that job. And after all these years, (children of the people served at SCAC) are like my grandkids and great-grandkids. They’re my family.”

Although it was a shock when Ezard learned one day that she was out of a job, she admits there’s something good in everything.

“After all these years,” she said, “I’m 63, and I’m tired. So maybe it’s a good thing. After 40 years of working, I’m finally on vacation.”