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Queens Red Cross in Disarray After Shakeup – QNS.com

Queens Red Cross in Disarray After Shakeup

At least three Queens County Red Cross Chapter board members resigned last week after its executive director Jane Dillon left her job because of administrative changes forced by millions of dollars in budget cuts. The decision by ARC’s Greater New York organization to restructure the chapter without consulting board members drew the ire of the volunteers responsible for guiding the Queens organization.
One former board chairman, Joseph Farber, a Queens attorney, said he was resigning because of "constant changes" dictated by Manhattan ARC headquarters.
He expressed concern that the restructuring would put direction of the local chapter in the hands of the Greater New York ARC organization.
Another board member who submitted her resignation, Lucy Nunziato of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said she was troubled by ARC’s failure to advise board members of the restructuring.
"Jane Dillon worked hard for the Queens chapter," she said. "Her departure is a surprise and very unfortunate."
Robert Wingate, a spokesperson for the ARC, said Dillon left her position following a job description change that puts the emphasis on fundraising.
"Jane Dillon decided not to re-apply for the position of executive director and to seek opportunities elsewhere," he said.
The local Red Cross chapter is headquartered on Queens Blvd. in Briarwood.
Wingate said the reorganization affecting 10 local chapters in the City was precipitated by a $5 million cut in allocations from United Way of New York City from $8.3 million in Fiscal Year 1998 to $3.3 million in FY 2001.
The cut in funds resulted from a United Fund policy change that has increased the number of agencies receiving its largess.
Dr. Michael Kurtz, a board member of the Queens chapter for almost two years, asserted he was resigning because of "frustration over the non-communicative ways of the American Red Cross of Greater New York."
Kurtz, a Queens dentist, accused the ARC of "playing musical chairs with the position of executive director."
He expressed dismay at losing Dillon who was recruited as executive director after a "long and exhaustive search."
The board’s new chairman Frank Covelli could not be reached for comment. It was not known whether he intended to resign.
An ARC memorandum obtained by The Queens Courier asserted that "it is more important than ever that the chapters and service centers be fully successful in accomplishing their resource development goals" –a reference to ARC’s increased need for professional fundraisers.
The ARC denied rumors that the Queens County chapter was being closed.
"We’re just moving the teaching and delivery of services from the chapters to the Manhattan headquarters," Wingate said.
He said the ARC will be advertising for a new executive director for its Queens chapter.
The ad, obtained by The Courier, said the director’s responsibilities include "managing volunteer leadership, achieving fund raising goals, educating and informing the community of our activities and services, supervising a small staff and all administration functions of the chapter and ensuring efficient, cost-effective operation and fiscal accountability."
The ARC memorandum from Bob Bender, chief executive officer, and Edie Pearson, manager of chapters and service centers, said the position of chapter or service center director has been substantially changed.
"All directors were given the opportunity to reapply for the positions or take a severance package," the memo said. "All of the directors who chose to reapply were hired."
The document also noted that administrative support and service assistant positions in the chapters and service centers were eliminated. It said that a new position of customer service assistant was created.
"All employees affected by these changes were then offered the opportunity to apply for the new position or any other positions at The American Red Cross of Greater New York for which they were qualified."

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