“I was fired”

Sister Ann Weltz, founder and executive director of Bay Area Crisis Nursery in Oakland diocese, forced out after 37 years; board of directors won't say why

Sister Ann Weltz (image from The Catholic Voice)

For 37 years, the Bay Area Crisis Nursery has been Sister Ann Weltz’s life. She lives in the house next door. She didn’t have a personal telephone number. Anyone wanting to reach her called the nursery.

The Bay Area Crisis Nursery, which Sister Ann founded and has served as executive director, is the only emergency, 24-hour nursery in the Bay Area. Parents facing a crisis, or needing a respite, place their children temporarily at the Concord home, knowing they will be well cared for and loved — free of charge. That’s been the mission of the Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for four decades.

Her work has been recognized by local and state government — from which, by the way, she doesn’t accept funds — as well as recently by the Jefferson Awards, Contra Costa County Commission for Women and the Threads of Hope Visionary Award.

On Sept. 21, Sister Ann’s life changed. Two members of the nursery’s board of directors came to see her and tell her that on Sept. 24, an interim executive director would take her place.

“I was fired,” Sister Ann said, describing the meeting, which took her by surprise.

“We never said ‘fired,’” said Lynne Vuskovic, president of the nursery’s board of directors.

“We gave her the option to resign,” she said. “She rejected it.”

After its regular board meeting on Sept. 17, Vuskovic said, the board had another meeting at which the vote to change leadership was unanimous.

“Certain events precipitated us taking swift action,” Vuskovic said. She did not offer specific details on those events, other than that there was “no danger or big event” and “no children are in harm’s way.”

Sister Ann said she had asked for a reason for her dismissal. “They could not give me an example,” she said, in the meeting that lasted 40 minutes.

“It’s never just one thing,” Vuskovic said.

Sister Ann’s reaction — to not go gently — surprised the board. “We did not anticipate her reaction,” Vuskovic said. But the board held steadfast to its decision. “We as a board are charged with keeping the doors open and making sure children are cared for properly,” Vuskovic said.

The board, Vuskovic said, had been working on a succession plan for Sister Ann. “Our vision is for her to remain as an ambassador,” she said.

The offer would allow Sister Ann to keep in contact with the nursery, and, importantly, its donors. Individuals provide 75 percent of the nursery’s $1 million budget. Foundations provide the remainder.

Sister Ann has two milestones coming up in 2019: her 80th birthday and her 60th year as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet. The nursery board has offered to celebrate those milestones publicly.

“Why would I celebrate with people who took away 40 years of my life?” she asked.

Full story at The Catholic Voice.

Comments

  1. http://Fred says

    37 years is a long time for someone to lead an organization. Recognizing that everyone’s life is finite, perhaps the nursery board is engaged in succession planning. JJ&M

  2. http://Charles%20Teachout says

    I have seen situations where someone makes a mission “their personal mission”. Is this the case with the 79 year-old Sister Ann? It seems to me that when someone in highly personal leadership hits the age of 75, there should be provision for a change. It appears that the Board is in a difficult position of not wanting to start a personal spat, yet wanting to bring about that provision for change. It is their right to do so. Perhaps there were missteps leading up to this decision that need to be addressed further. “With charity for all and malice toward none.” Let us pray for all parties concerned that this resolution is peaceful and happy.

  3. Sue the board for wrongful termination and use the court award to start another crisis daycare.

  4. http://mike%20m says

    The CSJs just got ‘burned’ in Redondo Beach by long term school teacher/administrators. Recognizing no human is immortal, any responsible Board would have a succession plan. Preferably this would include input from the incumbent.

  5. http://Diane says

    If it ain’t broke….don’t fix it!!!

    I hope Sister gets a great lawyer and she wins enough money to open another Crisis Nursery Center!

    Bless her beautiful heart!!!

  6. http://Chardin says

    “Why would I celebrate with people who took away 40 years of my life?” she asked.

    Not a statement that would engender a sense of credibility in a non-biased observer.

  7. http://Art%20Uvaas says

    This is a disgraceful situation. Ageism is today’s only accepted prejudice. The same thing was done to Mother Angelica of EWTN. If Sister Ann can still do Christ’s Work for these children, why ask her to resign? Lynne Vuskovic can’t be taken seriously can she? “We gave her the option to resign,” she said. Are you kidding me? Sounds like a firing to me. Ms. Vuskovic and commenter Teachout, you’re very insensitive..
    This is Advent for crying out loud! Sister Ann deserves the continued opportunity to serve within this organization she founded. Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well with this particular board-of-directors.

  8. http://carrie%20lee says

    God bless u sister ann! U and sisters of st joseph fight the good fight! U should be promptly reinstated/all board fired! Fund with federal grants and crowdfunding! A nonprofit is not ‘a business‘! U served god with honor faith,, kindness, compassion, love! Board stinks/horrible!!/reprehensible!! That is definitely age discrimination!! That‘s illegal!! U go girl!! Go sue and get your job back!! Back where u belong!! God bless!! Am praying for u!! Go on national tv (like good morning america etc) and get national outrage directed at board from hell! Your charity needs your kind and loving heart back at its helm!! And the whole board fired asap!! Cold, callous bullies! Stay strong, fight for justice and what‘s right! Am here for u if u need…

  9. http://Jane%20Doe says

    This was not ageism, this was not discrimination, this was the first responsible step the board took in quite sometime. Frankly, 37 years of leadership, and a chronic inability to distinguish between the founders’s own faith-based ideologies and the mission of the organization – a for mission business accountable to the public – reals of ‘Founder’s Syndrome.’

    This is simply a case of a person who is having a very public temper tantrum and endearing herself to no one, while making it painfully obvious that the board’s decision – the board to whom she as the former ED was accountable to – made a responsible decision, asked her to step down, and offered her an Emeritus position on the board, which she refused to even consider.

    Knock…

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