‘Bring Karen Back’ campaign launched by supporters of ousted West Seattle Senior Center director Karen Sisson

August 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

For almost four weeks, we’ve been covering the aftermath of citywide nonprofit Senior Services‘ decision to fire longtime Senior Center of West Seattle director Karen Sisson (WSB file photo at left). While the center has its own board of directors, they don’t have hiring/firing power over staff, but the board voiced their support for her leadership, days after learning of her firing.

Now community supporters are launching a campaign, telling WSB that tomorrow, a community petition drive will kick off to urge Sisson’s reinstatement. Volunteers are gathering at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market at 10:30 am Sunday to ‘share information and collect signatures and support for bringing back Karen Sisson as director of the Senior Center of West Seattle,” according to a note we received today from Cindy, who adds, “Any volunteers are welcome to join us. We are also setting up a Facebook page, ‘Bring Karen Back,’ for people to start their own petitions and upload information.” That page is here. Sisson led the Senior Center for a quarter-century, with her accomplishments and the center’s growth detailed and celebrated in the center’s newsletter earlier this year.

Meantime, the West Seattle center’s board president David Robertson told WSB this past week that they “continue to work on this issue.”

10 Comments

  1. They should look into change.org also, and put down emails and recipients of all people in power over this.

    Comment by Joe Szilagyi — 9:31 pm August 9, 2014 #

  2. Joe mentioned emails needed. This seems to me to be a matter of WS Board members needing to cut the cord from the city’s program if they want to reinstate her without interference. Also, I cannot figure out why the WS Board has agreed to an organization model which does not inform them of these top-down matters which are so important to them. The center will be supported without the agency association. If people are willing to sign petitions without exact knowledge of what was in the emails at issue, that is their prerogative. My take on this is the Senior Center needs to split from the city’s mangling hands and carry on with what will probably be more support from WS community. That’s just my two cents, but somebody already published this list I found back in the previous comments copied in its entirety:
    —————————————————
    A few emails for everyone:
    I can’t find John Norden or Troy Pladson’s emails on the internet but here are the other officers:
    Mark Stensager: mstensager@gmail.com
    Joe Creed: jcreed@cefirm.com
    Shannon Fuhrman: shannon.fuhrman@regence.com
    Also, the CEO Paula Houston’s email is paulah@seniorservices.org if you’d like to contact her directly. Nearly all of the staff emails are Senior Services are the first name followed by the first letter of the last name.
    I encourage everybody who can speak up to do so. There are many more people (like myself) who would like to be more vocal, but can’t given our relationship with the organization. Please be nice to the Board members – the ones I’ve met are good people and may not be aware of the whole situation.
    Comment by Sparrow Gill — 6:27 pm July 16, 2014 #
    —————————————————————-

    Comment by westseattledood — 10:56 am August 10, 2014 #

  3. Does everyone understand that pulling away from the main senior services needs to be fully researched? You have alot of financials to take into consideration. Retirement, healthcare, operations, etc. This is quite a bit of money! Then you have the programs. Many are all tied together. If a split happens then new programs have to be established. Again more money.

    Comment by coffee — 1:00 pm August 10, 2014 #

  4. I would love to sign a petition, because it doesn’t seem right that someone would lose a job after 25 years, but no idea what the issue is here, probably like a lot of people reading this, who are not involved with the senior center.

    Comment by Dis — 1:43 pm August 10, 2014 #

  5. Dis – please read the past blog articles regarding the issue about Karen termination due to inadvertently sending an email within Senior Services. This is not the type of issue to justify termination.
    Regarding coffee’s comment about researching what it would take to pull away if Karen is not brought back – probably not that much more in local funding.
    The Senior Center of WS is one of the top senior centers locally (if not the top)for bringing in funding. The biggest huddle would be for the Center to get City of Seattle and United Way dollars that flow through Senior Services. We need to be able to apply for those funds directly.
    Let us not be scared to support Karen because of fear of losing something more. We will not lose the programs – those programs already exist in centers that are not part of Senior Services. We have already temporarily lost a very amazing supporter/leader and we need to be strong in our voices to bring Karen back.

    Comment by WS Supporter — 8:10 am August 11, 2014 #

  6. Yeah, so no more speculation or opinion from me. Too much hearsay, too few actual facts.

    Good luck peeps.

    Comment by westseattledood — 10:48 am August 11, 2014 #

  7. The updates from WSB and the thoughtful comments and actions from people concerned about a perceived injustice that affects our community has been a surprise upside to this for me. The petitions are a great idea. It would be one way to know that our concerns over Karan’s termination are being at least heard by the Senior Services board. Has anyone received a response from writing to the email addresses posted so far? I’ve written to them twice with no reply. Surely someone has and would be willing to post the rest of the Senior Services Board of Directors email addresses.

    Comment by SeattleSenior — 2:38 pm August 11, 2014 #

  8. I for one, who is directly connected to the center, appreciate what Karen was trying to make aware to all employees and board members by the writing of her letter. New leadership laid down a new and controversial law and Karen is fighting to reverse it. I applaud her attempts, her fight, and her concern for all her coworkers. Sorry to see her as the scapegoat.

    Go Karen!

    Comment by justme — 4:18 pm August 11, 2014 #

  9. Her pension must have been about to fully vest…

    Comment by Thomas M. — 7:15 pm August 12, 2014 #

  10. I want to let you know that I have know Karen for 40 years. She works tireless for older folks raising funds, developing programs and owning her heart to all she meets. I met Karen and worked with her in walla walla wa.@ the center . I have great respect and admiration for her . She is a wonderful woman I can not understand why an easy mistake would result on this disaster . Of the Boeing exec can call his employees cowering with no backlash surely we can get over Karen miskeying! Kathy beckman

    Comment by Kathy beckman — 10:22 pm August 14, 2014 #

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