I have several points to make regarding the recent article and subsequent letters about the Durham Crisis Response Center (“Crisis at the Durham Crisis Response Center,” July 19).
The actions regarding the executive directors were undertaken by the entire board of directors, not just one or a few members. Since it is a personnel matter, the board is not allowed to go into details about its reasons. It can be said that those reasons were present for years, and it was the board’s clear obligation to take these actions, or it would fail in its obligation as a fully informed governing body.
The board acted with professional external and internal legal, financial and board governance advice. Amy Brannock, the former–not current–board chair, led the board through this process at great personal cost. The staff members quoted in the article are, in my experience as a volunteer advocate and interim crisis line coordinator, compassionate, qualified professionals. Their loyalty to Joy Cunningham and Ada Gregory is laudable. They do not have all the information the board had in making its decisions, nor should they have. Governance of an organization is the duty of the board; enacting the board’s policies is the duty of the staff.
While I filled in as interim crisis line coordinator, no volunteer shifts were unfilled, and the next scheduled training, by the new coordinator, filled out the volunteer roster for the summer–a notoriously difficult time for this agency to have an adequate number of volunteers. It was a joint decision by staff and management, including staff members who have since left, to respond to the Duke lacrosse incident by publicizing their services.
The reporting by Erin Sullivan was biased and inadequate. I would be interested in seeing more balanced reporting in the future on the performance of the DCRC. It is a wonderful institution, serving a sadly necessary function. The board, staff and volunteers are generous with their time, paid or unpaid. They are compassionate people quietly serving members of our community brutalized in what is an underreported cultural norm of violence against (primarily) women. There is a story worthy of an investigative reporter’s time and effort.