Lori Stone, executive director of Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG), will leave the staff position she has held there for the last four years.
Stone’s announcement was the second staff or board resignation in July, leaving two key vacancies in the organization’s framework. Perry Caranicas, board member and treasurer, also resigned, although it is not clear whether the incidents are related.
Stone will officially leave the organization Aug. 31. She stated in her letter of resignation to SNG’s Executive Committee that she was “committed to a successful transition,” and she outlined several steps to ensure a smooth departure.
In the same letter, however, Stone voiced great frustration with the SNG board, which she accused of having “conflicts of interest,” problems with “visionary leadership” and a “strong misunderstanding of what SNG’s priorities are.”
“In the last two years, the Board of Directors has been dysfunctional, showing a lack of support and respect for my work in the organization,” she wrote in the letter, dated July 19. “The board clearly does not understand its role and its relationship with the executive director.”
SNG Board Chair Jean Johnstad said she felt Stone and the board of directors had a “difference of philosophy” as to how they should work together. Nonetheless, upon receipt of the letter, Johnstad said she asked Stone to reconsider her resignation, but that Stone told her the decision was final.
“From our perspective, we’re sorry to lose Lori,” Johnstad said. “She’s done many good and positive things for the neighborhood. The board does appreciate her work over the last four years.”
Stone said the problems she cites are not unique to Seward, but that many people in her line of work, including staff at other neighborhood organizations, have had similar frustrations.
Johnstad noted that the news is still fresh, and that there has been no discussion of candidates to fill Stone’s position as of yet. “We still need to assess the needs of the organization, [conduct] exit interviews,” she said, “all regular procedures any organization would do in this circumstance.”
Johnstad said the board is also committed to a smooth transition.
Stone told The Bridge she waited to make her resignation official until August so that SNG staff members felt supported. She called her staff “very competent,” for the most part.