Former YWCA employees, management meet

March 19, 2012 9:00:00 PM PDT
Former employees of Raleigh's YWCA finally got some answers Tuesday evening about the organization's abrupt closing.

It marked the first time the staff got to meet with the board since the Hargett Street facility shut down Feb. 29.

"Trust is developed when you communicate, and that's what we had here tonight, our first live communication with the board," said Olivia Robinson, a former YWCA employee.

Both sides told ABC11 that the meeting went much better than the last one when board members didn't show up.

Tuesday, YWCA staffers finally heard an apology.

"We said 'we're sorry,' we said 'we're very sorry that you're in this situation and we can't say enough how badly we feel,'" said the former president of the YWCA Marie Spaulding.

The board finally gave the staff a blow-by-blow account of the YWCA's financial collapse and its decision-making process before the shutdown of the 110-year-old community cornerstone, which was counted on for child care, senior services, and counseling.

The 23 employees suddenly laid off last month still haven't gotten paid for hours already worked and the meeting brought no guarantees on when they'll see their checks.

A YWCA board member told ABC11 it is still tallying up all of the organization's debt, but it's estimated to be somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000. It is money the board said has to be repaid before there are any serious talks about reopening the YWCA.

"Frankly, our first priority is to deal with the indebtedness," said Spaulding. "We must deal with the debt before we move forward."

Spaulding said hindsight is 20/20 and if the board had it to do again, it would have handled things differently, perhaps giving workers more notice of what was going on.

After all the apologies were said, there is still no timetable on when the employees will be paid and when or if the YWCA might reopen.

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