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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

October, 2005

 

Moo Town News
What A Stinkeroo
By Judy Borello

The catastrophe that inundated Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama brought into mind how we would fare under a similar situation since we live on an earthquake fault and a flood zone? The horrifying incident that really made me ponder our own fate was in New Orleans, where a home for the aged was literally abandoned and all seniors were found dead. All 14 old folks died and who was in charge? Why weren't they evacuated? All of these questions lead to the question of what happened to West Marin Senior Services?
Who is Joan Corbett, the executive director of the organization? What were her qualifications? With the resignation of Rhea McIsaac, the area coordinator for Point Reyes/Inverness, and the resignation of Cynthia McIntyre, area coordinator for San Geronimo Valley/Nicasio area for West Marin Senior Services. These two well-qualified ladies did not resign because of health issues or the desire to retire, they literally quit because of ineptness and incompetence coming down from the leadership of the executive director.
What frustrations did Rhea McIsaac face while trying to do her job? On September 8th, Rhea received a letter from Joan Corbett that stated, "I (Joan) would like to discuss your clients, caregivers and volunteers with you (Rhea), but since you preferred not to meet with Molly (Dr. Bourne) and me, I will be talking to Angelo for an update."
First of all, Rhea McIsaac was never even asked or told or even communicated with to meet Dr. Bourne and Joan Corbett, so why did Joan state in her letter, "but since you preferred not to meet with Molly and me?" Is this manipulation or an executive director that doesn't know what's going on.
She's also mandated, according to rumor, that area coordinators cannot meet with Health and Human Services representatives (the best social workers our town could have) unless she is present.
Well Joan Corbett is only out here three days a week and the coordinators need information NOW not wait for a day or two when time is crucial.
Rhea McIsaac was born and raised here in Point Reyes Station, knows the community inside and out-the business people, the ranchers, the children, the old timers and is trusted so much that many of us have shown Rhea where we hide the keys to our homes. Many letters were written on behalf of Rhea from the community to West Marin Senior Services. For instance this one says it all.

To Martha Proctor
Board of Directors for WMSS
Inverness
My Mom, Betty Obeen has been a resident at Walnut Place through good health and bad for over three years (She's 93). We are both forever grateful to West Marin Senior Services for having helped us out on so many occasions in so many ways.
I regret not writing this letter of thanks some time ago. But now I've heard that Rhea McIsaac is leaving West Marin Senior Services, and I'm impelled to write immediately.
I have to tell you this is a disaster! Everyone I've ever dealt with at WMSS has been terrific, but Rhea is the heart and soul of the place, and I think everyone knows this. Among the residents she cares for at Walnut Place this is certainly understood.
We count on Rhea. She can manage a ride over the hill as reliably as she can manage a medical emergency. She's done both for my mother, and her assessment of my mom, and her decision to take her to the doctor saved my mother's life a year and a half ago.
She knows everyone and is so experienced in working with "her seniors," she's able to give the best advice to families who don't know where to turn, or don't know how to understand what's happening to a beloved parent. She's straight forward with her love as well as her perspective, and I'm not the only one who says so. Who would ever replace her?
I don't know the details of why Rhea has given notice, but can't you work it out? She is too much an asset to our community to lose. Please try.
Sincerely,
Doris Ober

In my estimation, a good leader draws her people close to her, gives them respect and learns from them, especially when they are the ones in the field making things work. This wasn't done! I am not attacking Joan Corbett, but I am certainly questioning her qualifications and ability to network with the people who make things happen.
Has Joan had case management or any background in working with the issues and problems facing older people of West Marin? Did the West Marin Senior Services Board of Directors perform an extensive search before hiring Joan? Some in the know say Cynthia McIntyre would have made a great executive director because of her astute skills and knowledge of our community. Why was she overlooked? Who is training Joan? Who is monitoring her performance? Who is helping the staff while Joan is learning the job?
PS As we've all learned from the Gulf's hurricane Katrina that strong capable leadership is greatly needed to get the job done!
To the WMSS Board-Pay Attention-Our lives are at stake!!


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