Disgruntled Senior Center Staff, Members Demand Change

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The air was hot with the built-up frustration of the 47 members and staff of Payson Senior Center Thursday morning. The group gathered at the Payson Multipurpose Senior Center, waiting for the monthly board meeting to end so they could let fly with pointed questions and demands for board members and president Bill Martin.

However, Al Campeas and Lola McKee were the only two board members who stayed to listen.

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According to Gordy Ellis, transit trips the Payson Senior Center has provided are on the rise. Funds from the Town are earmarked for the purchase of two new buses.

Gordy Ellis tried to start the meeting out on a positive note by opening with a presentation on expanding transportation by the addition of a second bus.

"I'm glad to see (the transportation expansion)," said member Arthur R. Morrison. "But how much money is this going to take in when the (thrift shop) next door is falling apart?

"I'd like to invite every one of you over there to see the walls separating from the buildings. The morning sun shines right in through the walls where the two buildings are put together."

Marian Barber has been the manager of the Senior Center Thrift Store for a little more than a year. According to her, the thrift store is getting better merchandise, averaging $9,000 a month in sales and has outgrown the building and the back yard.

In addition to storage shed rental she said, "We have furniture that is sitting out in the sun depreciating in value. We have no room to sort clothes. What we need now is room."

The roof over the thrift store, which has been leaking for several years, is being resurfaced, but Barber raised concerns that the resurfacing is only a band-aid.

Several members questioned the chance of identity theft, the legality of personnel files being removed from the facility and why those files, that have since been returned were removed in the first place.

"They were taken to be looked at to see if I was keeping good records," said director Marsha Cauley.

Kitchen staff members brought up the need for improved kitchen facilities, to prepare the additional meals-on-wheels that a second bus would allow them to deliver.

Currently, 105 meals-on-wheels are served per day using one convection oven.

The cook said she would like a second convection oven, a vegetable steamer and extra staff members.

Since the emergency meeting was held spontaneously and after a board meeting, no decisions were made concerning the future of the Senior Thrift Store or the state of the Payson Senior Center.

Many of the issues, undoubtedly, will come up again at the next board meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, May 18 at the Payson Senior Center. It is open to the public.

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