Senior Citizens and Midland City Councilors Tackle Issues at CSS Meeting 7/31/13
CBS 7 News
Although it was heated and at times awkward, senior citizens agree this is the first step in communicating with the leadership with The City of Midland and the Community Senior Services.
“This is just a ground breaking opportunity to get some of us on the floor and we're not going to get all of the problems solved today,” said councilman Jerry Morales.
The crowd overflowed into the next room in a meeting that he called for. Between the city and Community and Senior Services board members.
“I’ve been hearing discussions from the senior center and they've been reaching out to me in the past 120 days,” Morales said, “We are reaching out to the senior center and having a better understanding of it.”
It quickly turned controversial as city councilman michael Trost spoke for a few members of CSS who were banned from the center. He and many meeting attendees also had an issue with the dance program shutting down.
I would like to see all of the seniors who are banned reinstated and the dance reinstating, said Trost who also suggested a proper appeal system if a member is banned.
“I think it is a start,” said Carol Barrett who was one of the members Councilman Trost is talking about. She says she was asked to leave the center.
“I was banned and escorted out of the building and was threatened that if I came back to the senior center I would be arrested,” she said.
But The Community Senior Services Executive Director Jody Sneed argues that despite individual complaints, overall the membership is growing. Sneed did not want to discuss in detail why Barrett was banned from the center.
"It would be easier, but we are going to respect the members privacy and not discuss personal matters," he said, “Even though they have not shown us the same respect.”
As for the dance program, Sneed says they're attendance dropped and had trouble with seniors smoking in the building.
Some came to the meeting to defend Sneed and the Senior Center Director Linda Jackson.
“We have been treated royally we have been treated nicely,” said senior citizen Jack Haul.
Council member John Love was there to address yet another issue a committee, made up of seniors to represent the center.
He took offense with a decision to replace some members because the group couldn't get along.
“I don't understand why you circumvented a group of people to start your own group who would do what you say,” he said with an applause from a crowd after.
Sneed says they went with a new committee for better efficiency and one who work well with the center director.
“CSS has different programs they been here for 30 years,” Sneed said, “There's no value in disrespecting seniors.”
Jerry Morales says the city has a five-year contract with community senior services for $300,000.
Board members say they will inform CBS 7 when a private meeting with the senior citizens will take place to get these issues resolved.