Senior Center activists won’t like to hear this, but the people have spoken, loud and clear, in two ways on the future of the city’s Senior Program.
On Monday, the ad hoc Senior Program Advisory Committee voted unanimously to adopt 34 recommendations to expand and reorganize the Senior Program. Those recommendations are the result of five months of work by the committee.
On Tuesday, Ashland voters overwhelmingly rejected recall attempts against three parks commissioners triggered by the reorganization. Despite a steady drumbeat of criticism by some Senior Center supporters and an organized recall campaign, voters said no.
The advisory committee wasn’t elected, but it was created in response to the backlash over the initial reorganization and the dismissal of the center’s manager. The committee comprised public members, experts from related fields, two parks commissioners and a city councilor. The committee held listening sessions and conducted surveys, and incorporated that input in crafting the recommendations.
As a result, the recommendations include maintaining current services at the center and conducting outreach and referral to expand the center’s offerings to more seniors in the community. What’s more, the committee decided not to prioritize the recommendations, leaving that up to the superintendent who will be hired to oversee the overall program.
Critics will not be placated by any of that, but they cannot say they were not heard. Whatever missteps the parks commission made initially, the process since then has been inclusive and responsive. Interested parties should continue to participate constructively as the reorganization proceeds.