Throughout all this, Kay was asking me for favors, she asked for some computer help, offering to pay me to teach her to become more computer savvy, I regarded this as a separate issue from the committee focus (personal). Kay was going to be out-of-town and asked me if I could do some Michigan Main Street work she volunteered for and couldn’t complete on time. The task was a downtown building inventory. She had information about her buildings (different people were working on different addresses) and she had all the information in different places, it just needed to be compiled in one document for each building. Kay gave me most of the information and was looking for a disc that had pictures of all the buildings on it, she couldn’t find them while I was there but promised to find them and drop them off before she left town.
Kay’s departure time came and went; I was working on compiling the inventory information, trying to get it done well before the deadline. I called George Brown to see if she left word with him regarding the whereabouts of the MIA pictures, he suggested I call Kay but I couldn’t bring myself to disrupting her vacation. I knew Dorothy Steedle was working on some buildings and so was Darlene Southward, surely they must have a copy of the same disc. George told me that Dorothy lives within walking distance from me, so I contacted Dorothy. Dorothy offered to drop the pictures off as she was going to be out and about any way, I waited a couple of days and contacted her again, at this point my documents were done and waiting for the pictures. Dorothy said she didn’t have time to burn me a disk and I suggested she could just throw them on a thumb drive, she hummed and hawed, I said it was a three-minute walk, I can just walk over and get it done. Finally we came up with a time and off I went to gather the pictures. When I got there I showed her what inventory I was working on, it turned out that one of the buildings I was working on was actually given to somebody else and one was given as an example to show how to do it and another was just a duplicate, so I had just five documents to compile, a fraction of what others were doing.
Darlene was someone who I particularly didn’t want to call but, I called Darlene to get the building addresses that I was missing and she said that Kay will look after them when she got back. I reminded her that Kay was going to miss the deadline and I’m in the middle of doing it; why not just let me finish, Darlene repeated, “Kay will look after it when she gets back.” The matter of fact monotone, the limited information and the abruptness are why she’s not my favorite person to call.
Okay, are you thoroughly bored yet? Aren’t wild goose chases fun?
I went to the DDA meeting that was the deadline to hand in the building inventory sheets; Without receiving any direction whatsoever, I walked them up to Wonacott and set the 5 documents beside him. As I was sitting down Darlene walked up to Wonacott and retrieved the 5 documents and sat back down. Apparently the deadline wasn’t really a deadline and apparently, there was some secret information that was yet to be entered on the documents. It was some complex mathematical formula that determined the price per square foot, Kay was telling me on the phone when she got back.
I laughed…yes, out loud but thought to myself, that’s some top-secret information; you can’t let that kind of information just fall into anyone’s hands. Only the f-troop and anybody that’s ever, or knew anyone that’s ever sold, purchased or rented commercial space would know that one.
Another set up to fail campaign, another blatant grand plan to waste my time. They gave me a task and withheld the tools by which I could accomplish the task.
Are you proud of your friends yet? Are you proud of your leadership that were meeting illegally in Kay and George Brown’s house and actively engaged in sabotaging community residents and volunteers? Well, I’ve got even more fun and games for you…
I volunteered to help make the goodies that were being served at the Art Auction and got together with a few people at Kay’s house to get that done the day before the auction (later finding out we were in violation of the health department’s food law). The committee was also in the middle of a membership drive to sell memberships for Friends of Historic Blissfield (FoHB, aka F-troop). With the membership you also got a free tan-colored t-shirt, with a sepia tone historic downtown picture adorning the front, complete with the esteemed committee’s name. They were also planning to sell memberships at the Art Auction. For a professional looking display, I offered to fold all the t-shirts so they were all the exact same size. After detecting Kay’s ambivalence about me taking the box of shirts, folding them and bringing them back, I brought a folding board to her house, folded a bunch to show her how to do it, left the board with her and let her finish folding them.
At the end of the last meeting before the Art event, someone asked me if I was going to go, the answer was yes I did want to go. I wanted to see how all the plans for the event came together, but I didn’t want to show up empty-handed so to speak. I didn’t want to just show up to take up space; I wanted to contribute in some way. I asked Darlene Southward and Vicky Schmucker if they had planned for a greeter, I added, “because that would be a nice touch.” Darlene sat there stone faced and Vicky laughingly asked, (sounding like she expected me to be all about making suggestions and not actually do the work) “are you volunteering,” she asked? “You bet, I’ll volunteer, I could hand out the programs to guests as they come through the door.” Dorothy Steedle wrote it down in the minutes.
I got dressed up and made sure to get to the event a little early; I scanned the room and spotted Darlene circling the room with a stack of programs in her hand. I walked up to Darlene with a “here I am, I’m ready to work” attitude and asked if I could have the programs to give out to guests. Without hesitation she said “no” and continued walking, I heard her say as she was walked away, “I need them to talk to the Artists.” I should have asked her why she didn’t tell me at the meeting she didn’t want a stinking greeter, or, I don’t want you to be a greeter. I get all dressed up to come down and hand out programs at the door and you’re not giving me the programs? I decided the event was not the time or place to get into it with Darlene. Of course, the ongoing and deliberate destabilization was primarily implemented to make me quit, but it was also meant to demoralize me and thwart any attempt to gain credibility…or success for that matter.
Based on the crap that was being fed to me, I expected Darlene Southward was jostling for “most valuable player,” At some point, I mentioned my suspicion to Kay and she happily let me continue to believe it. They were looking highly unorganized as well.
The Friends of Historic Blissfield membership drive wasn’t for raising membership and funds for the committee, it was orchestrated to show more support for Michigan Main Street on paper, it was to enhance their application for select level status with MMS. Knowing what I thought I knew at the time, they had no concept about volunteer retention…volunteers are hard to get and incredibly easy to lose. I was worried about it.
As Jae Guetschow and the committee exchanged numerous emails I mentioned my seven page proposal and the segment I had on volunteers as Jae stated the goal was to get 100 memberships and he voiced disappointment with the 35 they did get. After all, he pledged to wear a skirt if the numbers got to 100. Jae all of a sudden fell silent when my email was sent to the group. In fact, nobody had any comments about it and there were no subsequent “group” emails for a long period of time. Lynn Southward finally addressed my comment to another member, essentially chastising me for pursuing the director position.
Earlier, I made an appointment with Wonacott to present my proposal and Southward was invited and supposed to be there. Southward didn’t show up at the meeting and I left a copy for Wonacott to give him. Whether he agreed with it or not, Southward didn’t even present it to the DDA board, Southward made the decision for the board. I’m sure his wife got to see it though; I suspected Darlene wore the pants in the family and also ran the DDA and she wasn’t even an appointed member. Darlene was the one who did all the organizing for the DDA.
The last person I would want anywhere near volunteers is Darlene.
Wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got even more fodder to reinforce that statement. More details will be exposed in another post.
Arrogance, ostracizing and sabotage – part 4
Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net