Future of Parmelee Youth Club uncertain

PARMELEE, SD – The closure of a local youth club is being proposed after officials received several allegations against the Site Director, who was suspended and is being recommended for termination.

 

Lisa Shott has been employed as the Parmelee Site Director for over six years. She was emailed a memorandum informing her of an administrative action resulting in her “suspension from the Boys and Girls Club of Rosebud as the Site Director of the Parmelee site, effective immediately, pending board approval of termination from the site.”

 

The memorandum is dated January 2, 2014 and signed by Chief Professional Officer (CPO) Tori Whipple along with Chief Volunteer Officer (CVO) Burdette Clifford. Several alleged complaints are listed as reasons for the suspension. Yet, according to the document the “complaints have not been put in writing.”

 

Ms. Shott was recently elected President of the Parmelee Community. One complaint alleges that she is “doing Parmelee community activities.” The memorandum also states her time should “not be spent doing things for the Parmelee community.” She denies doing community work while on the job at the youth center.

 

The Parmelee Boys and Girls Club also has an Advisory Board. This body is in place to make recommendations to the Board of Directors which oversees three club sites on the Rosebud Reservation. Special meeting minutes of the Parmelee Advisory Board reflect an approved motion to “oppose administrative action proposed by Tori Whipple and Burdette Clifford on the suspension and termination of Lisa Shott.”

 

The minutes of the local advisory board also show an approved motion to hold a grievance hearing for Ms. Shott. Yet, the Employee Manual of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Rosebud does not have language affording their employees any type of due process.

 

“The decision is final,” stated Tracy Harrison, referring to the suspension and termination. She spoke at a public forum held in Parmelee last week. Harrison is a physician assistant at Rosebud Hospital and was appointed to serve on the Board as the Parmelee area representative.

 

Several other people also spoke at the public forum which was held to address the issues the local site is now facing. Other Board members who attended the forum included Burdette Clifford, Lois Antoine, Naomi Good Shield, Leo Campbell, Dion Reynolds, Dr. Gail Mason and Marianne DeCora. They heard Parmelee residents speak to activities and staff at the youth center.

 

“The rules and regulations are so vague they can be taken one way or another, the Boys and Girls Club is here to build the community,” stated tribal legal advocate O.J. Semans, who also spoke at the public forum. “The fact that management can make decisions like this is wrong and the Board is saying they support this without listening to one community member.”

 

“There are kids from the community who were told to leave the building,” stated Lila Young.

 

The site serves at least 75 families and has 132 enrolled children. Furthermore, the memorandum addressed to Ms. Shott states the site is being recommended for closure. 

 

 “My grandkids come here and I never was told about them being asked to leave,” stated Carmen White Horse. “Where else are our kids going to go?”

 

“Some of the adults will not allow their children to come here but they sneak in anyway,” George Guerue said.

 

Another meeting will be held between the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors and the Parmelee Advisory Board on January 28 to further discuss the concerns. Ms. Shott informed the community the site would remain open and she would be volunteering her services until issues were resolved.

 

A young girl stood up at the end of the meeting and asked “Can we have our Lisa back?”

 

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