By Kim West
Officials for the Athens-Limestone Family Resource Center announced today the immediate resignation of Executive Director Sarah Chadwell but did not indicate a reason.
Chadwell had supervised the day-to-day operations of the center since it opened in 2007. In addition to a director, the center has three other full-time employees.
When the center opened, organizers set the director’s salary at $40,000. Chadwell previously confirmed to The News Courier that her position still paid $40,000 annually. The center’s employees do no receive benefits.
Debbie Wilson, president of the FRC board, thanked Chadwell “for her years of service and commitment to meeting the needs of families who struggle with issues such as unemployment and homelessness” in today’s press release.
The center provides legal aid, mental health counseling, parental education and family mediation through partnering agencies, and it assists about 250 families per week.
In December, Chadwell requested $25,000 apiece from the City Council and County Commission to prevent the center from closing at the end of this month.
Council member and county commissioners have declined to appropriate additional money to the center, which already receives $20,000 each in budgeted funding from the city and county.
The county also pays the center’s utility and landline phone services each month, and paid the monthly rent for the first five years.
Three local churches help pay the $1,000 monthly rent for the FRC office space at the Crutcher Shopping Center on South Jefferson Street.
The FRC is a nonprofit that depends on grants, government allocations and donations, with an operating budget of $130,000.
Wilson said the board intends to keep the center open, with plans to to save money by being more efficient. Board officials also previously stated they would seek more money through private donations, fundraising and grants.
“With this announcement, the entire board wished to assure these families and those area churches and individuals who have provided funds and services to the FRC that we will remain open at the same location as we look at restructuring the agency to function in a more cost-effective and efficient manner,” Wilson said.
Other active board members include Limestone County Department of Human Resources Director Caroline Page, Athens-Limestone Hospital CEO Kelli Powers, Shannon Cameron, Claire Jones, David Palmer, Carol Copeland, Darlene Turner-White, Monica Nelson, Beth Patton and Joan Cox.
“Board members welcome input from the community as we move forward, seeking always to better serve our clients,” Wilson said.