We are members of the Rogue Valley Manor board of directors. It has now been seven days since our executive director, Kevin McLoughlin, was unceremoniously removed from office and replaced without our consent by a Pacific Retirement Services "yes-man" in violation of our bylaws. It is also seven days until, according to the constraints in those same bylaws, PRS can fire us, which is PRS's stated intention.
The PRS strategy clearly is to disrupt our communications, disempower us and depend on time and hope for Manor resident apathy to allow the legitimate grievances of the Manor and its residents to blow over. PRS then will most likely appoint a new board of its choosing. Presumably, the first item on the new board's agenda will be to terminate the Manor's current legal firm that filed our lawsuit last Friday. In the meantime, justice grinds ever so slowly in the courts.
Brian McLemore, CEO of PRS, was quoted in the Mail Tribune Tuesday as saying that RVM never offered any real proposals during our negotiations these past months. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Although we believe the Manor clearly would be best served by true independence, we explored many avenues in which the Manor would regain some degree of control over its own destiny and have an executive director who was able, without fear of loss his job, to give the Manor board independent information that was in the Manor's best interest. PRS steadfastly refused to consider any such lessening of financial or governance controls. The removal of Kevin McLoughlin as executive director of the Manor is the best possible evidence of the legitimacy of our concerns.
We have a lot of respect for several members of the PRS team. Bill Thorndike, Lyn Hennion, Doug Schmor and others are community-minded, good people who want to do good. Indeed, PRS has done a number of good things in its history. It supports low-income housing in this community and others. It has rescued some retirement facilities that were on shaky ground. Our interest is not in harming PRS, but in protecting the Manor from further financial abuse over which we now have no control.
When the Manor formed and funded PRS in 1991, the initial goal was, or should have been, to provide cost-effective, value-added services. We now realize there were hidden agendas of some of the PRS executives directed toward growth, expansion and increased for-profit activities, all to the detriment of the original lofty intent.
In our many negotiations, PRS's attitude at times was arrogant and paternalistic. PRS officials talked proudly about their "Billion Dollar Company" when, if their vision and mission were correctly aligned, they should have been talking about how they could reorganize to best suit the Manor's needs, along with those of the other supported organizations. After all, that's what a Nonprofit Supporting Organization (as defined by the IRS) is supposed to do.
Our only interest is ensuring the best possible environment for the Rogue Valley Manor residents. After all, several of us have placed our deposits to eventually live there.
We envisage a PRS-Manor relationship in which the Manor board, along with its executive director, is free to pursue the best interests of the Manor and its residents. And the PRS board is composed of members from affiliates who can truly represent their interests at the PRS level. And then maybe PRS will really focus on value-added, cost-effective services.
The following Rogue Valley Manor board members signed this opinion: Len Merryman, Bruce Van Zee, Jim Wright, Rick Hutchins, Dave McLaughlin,Carol Christlieb and Patti Metz.