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Old 01-12-2008, 08:29 PM   #1
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Post Shreveport at loggerheads with YWCA Board over Contract Termination Letter

Debate Rages on Allendale ‘Y’ : “To close, or not to close? That is the question.”

Shreveport at loggerheads with YWCA Board over Contract Termination Letter

By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, SBLive!
January 12th, 2008

An apparent failure to communicate, seems to have put the citizens of Shreveport in the middle of a political power struggle. The classic “He said…She said,” scenario,
is being played out in the media, between the City of Shreveport, and the Board of Directors at the YWCA.

In a news conference called this afternoon at the Allendale YWCA, on Pierre Avenue, Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Tom Dark read the news from a letter faxed to him this morning by the president of the YWCA, Sheva Sims.

A copy of the letter, dated January 12, 2008 was given to members of the media.
It stated:

“Gentlemen: In accordance with Section 3.3 of the agreement dated July 10,2006, between the City of Shreveport (“City”) and the Young Women’s Association of Northwest Louisiana, Inc. (“YWCA”), please be advised the YWCA does hereby exercise the option to terminate said agreement. We have enjoyed our relationship with the City of Shreveport and wish you the best in your future endeavors.”

Signed: “Sincerely, Sheva Sims, President, YWCA of Northwest Louisiana, Inc.”

Dark then read from a letter addressed to the media from The Office of the Mayor, Cedric Glover that read in part:

“After we went home last night, the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Northwest Louisiana, faxed the City a letter advising us that they were canceling our right to use the Allendale YWCA facility. We heard about this decision from the local media, not from any member of the Board. By contract, we have 3o days to move out. The process will start on Monday. SPAR will work to find other locations for the programs we offered here…”

The City’s response continued: “What the YWCA Board has done is shortsighted, foolish, and could easily been avoided…Even if the YWCA Board believes that selling this property on the open market is their best option, it would have made more sense to continue our contractual relationship until when, or if they found a buyer.”

That was the opening salvo fired by Dark, in the City’s news conference. He was accompanied by City Councilmen Calvin Lester, and Monty Walford, along with the Director of SPAR, Shelly Ragle.

This whole event stems from the YWCA asking the City for $200,000 in the short term, to help them get some breathing room to get their house in order for the ‘Y’s
Domestic Violence Program to continue. This past Thursday, Mayor Glover said the City would not give the YWCA any money to help with some “breathing room.”

Bottom line: The City is not going to give the ‘Y’ any money…however, they (the City) would be willing to buy the Allendale YWCA facility for some $600,000.
(The City contends, that money would cover the debt facing the ‘Y’ at this time.)

Meanwhile, the Board of Directors for the YWCA, seem to be saying,
“Thanks, but no thanks.” In an afternoon press conference held today in their main offices at 710 Travis Street in Shreveport, ‘Y” Board Member, Debbie Martin told reporters it’s their (the YWCA’s) responsibility to get the best deal possible in contract negotiations with the City. Martin alleges, the City benefited the most from the partnership agreement spelled out in the 2006 contract, that recently expired at midnight, December 31, 2007.

Newly-elected President of the YWCA, Sheva Sims, says that the ‘Y’s number one priority is continuing to help those women and children who may be battered and abused, by housing them in the Y’s secure Domestic Violence Center, downtown, at 710 Travis Street, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Although faced with a shortfall of funds, Sims told reporters in the late afternoon press conference, the YWCA had enough money to pay its staff thru the month of January. According to Sims, the ‘Y’ is currently housing 12 women, and 9 children in its downtown facility.

Neither side seems to be ruling out a compromise…like both sides are saying,
“We want to resolve this situation, in the best interests of the City, the ‘Y’, and citizens of Shreveport.” It all depends if the concerned parties can sit down, and come to an amicable resolution. Let’s see who blinks first.

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