Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Opinion Piece by Linda Sutter

Today before the BOS was a decision to try to oust Roger Gitlin from Area 1 Agency on Aging in his advisory position, and from the Chamber ofr Commerce Board.

McClure made attempts to persuade the audience with negative results.

“Area 1 Agency on Aging Board people are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation and getting bullied by Gitlin.”

McClure’s explanations were sheer pettiness. For example she babbled on:

 “Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz conducted a survey regarding the senior citizen Meals on Wheels, a Federally funded program of which the county receives $25,000 per year.  This was against the wishes of our board members. Expansion of the program is not timely.”

Oh my, such a criminal act to pursue.  Shame on Mr. Gitlin and Mr. Berkowitz for wanting to include all people of the county instead of McClure’s chosen few.

Hey.  So much for equal distribution of food to senior citizens and if you buck the system, or make noise, then those democratic few start bellowing, “Oust Gitline. He hurt my feelings.  Boo Hoo.”

Gitlin pointed out that there was no cost to the County. He is very cognizant about the $2.5 million deficit the County has.

Gitlin said, “No one is asking for any money.  I approached Smith River Church and asked them if they would have any volunteers willing to help. Then I went to Ron Phillips at Rural Human Services and asked if they have extra food to feed seniors. The answers were, yes. There’s no reason to wait for money to be budgeted.” In Gitlin’s can-do passion he expressed that if seniors need a hot meal, let’s get it to them.  Waiting for money to be budgeted is nonsense.” 

Chamber of Commerce submitted a unaminous letter of support on behalf of Roger Gitlin, only to be undermined by Dave Finigan. It became a non-issue and there was no vote.

Hemmingsen said, “If I’m on a committee and can’t do the job I would personally ask to be removed if I could not work with people.”

Chris Howard was the voice of logic and reason, “I don’t believe it’s enough to warrant the removal of a board member because there are differences of opinion.”

The BOS gave a favorable 3-2 decision to keep Gitlin on his current committee assignments. The Vote: Gitlin, Howard, and Hemmingsen to retain Gitlin on the A 1 Agency on Aging advisory Board.  Then two votes against by McClure and Finigan to oust Gitlin. Majority rules. Gitlin stays.

What is ridiculously annoying in attending these circus type meetings is the mere blatant fact that these very people who want to crucify Roger Gitlin for doing something spectacular for the community, will,  in the same breathe, allow an alleged pedophile to continue to work on county paid computers and receive county paychecks.


2 thoughts on “Finigan and McClure Unpersuasive to Oust Gitlin”
  1. Thank you for your salient comments and be clear the County contribution to the Area 1 Agency is just over $24,000! My concern centers around the spiraling deficit in which this Agency is operating. The deficit has grown and continues to do so and is unsustainable. I have brought this to the attention of Director Kraft over my years on the Advisory Board. To no avail..

    My intentions are simple; Deliver services to Del Norte seniors..since Meals on Wheels was discontinued to Smith River some years back, would it not make sense to find folks and food and establish the contact tomdeliverbservice to a few hungry seniors in SR.? Or as two of my colleagues and Ms Kraft would have you believe, Government is the only answer..Nonsense! I will never be party to mindset by telling vulnerable, frail individuals, “be patient we’ll have food for you soon. ” Outrageous!

    We must all do what’s right and find solutions..with respect to my two esteemed colleagues who see this issue differently, I say to you, ” Take a very long reflective look at who you have become. Change now or retire.”

  2. Here are my remarks to the board at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

    Chairman Finigan and the board

    I just read Maggie Kraft’s letter recommending that Roger Gitlin be removed from the Area 1 Agency on Aging’s Advisory Council.

    It’s interesting to read the reason for his removal. According to the letter, they want him to be removed because, “he has formed a coalition to help seniors in Del Norte, separate from the Advisory Council, our board, or the involvement of the Del Norte Senior Center. Issues are simply too great, and resources too few, for coalitions to form and not work collaboratively with already existing services and agencies.”

    I want you to let that sink in for a moment. She wants Roger off of the advisory committee because she thinks that any new coalition that is formed to help seniors will not work collaboratively. You would think that she would welcome any additional assistance that would benefit needy Seniors, but instead she rejects the notion that an outside organization that does not demand federal dollars or draw funds from the county budget should even exist. How crazy is that?

    In her final paragraph she says that “without a new appointment from your Board, our advisory council will be forced to vote Supervisor off of the council for cause…” What cause? Is it because he acted on his own in working with a church in Smith River to try to get more food assistance to seniors in need in Smith River? If that is the reason as Maggie Kraft implies it is, he is indeed guilty and should be embraced by every low income senior who has ever asked for assistance and been denied help they so desperately need.

    One of the things Mr. Gitlin is indeed guilty of is attempting to find ways to help this board of supervisors dig itself out of a two and a half million dollar hole. Every county expenditure dollar needs to be justified, even something as small as the $25,000 the county contributes to the A1AA. In asking for A1AA to account for the funds it received from the county, he was only doing his job as a county supervisor, something every supervisor should be doing. It’s prudent boardmenship, it provides effective oversight and beyond that, it’s the right thing to do.

    This board needs to stand for what is just, right and just makes good sense and vote to retain Roger Gitlin on the A1AA advisory board.

    Bob Berkowitz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *