LEBANON, Missouri- Randal Johnson, in correspondence with numerous officials including the members of the Missouri House of Representatives, the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce and the Lebanon Family YMCA, has lodged a complaint against the firing of Yellowjacket Swim Team Coach Chris Williams and raised related issues connected to the termination. Williams announced on November 20th he was let go. We have republished the content of the letters below:
Dear distinguished members of the Missouri House of Representatives,
Committee members of:
Children and Families
Health and Mental Health Policy
Crime prevention and Public safety
My name is Randal Johnson, I am a resident of St. Robert, MO. In contacting you directly, I have a requirement of oversight that cannot be met, more egregiously, will not be met or pursued locally (YMCA specific). Please read the body of text that I have utilized in correspondence with my local YMCA COO, Lebanon City Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau. At issue is the gross unprofessional behavior exhibited by the staff at the Lebanon YMCA. I am a paying member, tax payer and voter.
While it may seem odd that I am contacting members of the Missouri House of Representatives to provide insight into a local issue: this issue is important, such that exposure to your level of inquiry is necessary. Issues at hand resonate from the psychological traumatization of children, misappropriation of YMCA funding streams, lack of certified professional staff management, and negligent personnel activities. Of note, be aware that a local investigation of fiduciary mismanagement has been levied against members of the YMCA staff. Please read the message postings below, such that you are able to gain an insight into this longitudinal and systemic problem.
Very Respectfully Submitted,
Dear Sir, Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce,
Today I wish to lodge a formal complaint against the Lebanon YMCA, falling within the jurisdiction of your city. Said complaint against this organization is resultant from activities that occurred on the evening of 20 November 2017 at the Lebanon YMCA.
Please read the body of correspondence below for an initial understanding of the issues at hand: harassment and traumatizing of children, gross mismanagement practices, violation of the YMCA code of Conduct (attached), the potential intentional mismanagement of fiduciary activities for personal gain, and lack of professional accreditation (degreed and certified) resident within the existing staff.
I have CC’d State Representative Donna Lichtenegger. She is a committee member of Health, Mental Health, and Social Services: extending relevancy to this issue.
To make clear: as noted by Ms. Custer, true, the firing of Mr. Williams may be an internal business function activity; that is not at issue. At issue are the actions, behaviors, lack of accountability, and mismanagement of the staff. My grievance is with the management of this organization.
Code of Conduct. The YMCA is a Christian based organization where children are often present. To promote safety and comfort for all, we ask individuals to act appropriately at all times when they are in our facility or participating in our programs. The YMCA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all members and guests.
Dear Board Member,
A responsibility of mine, as a ‘Y’ member,
is to inform you of gross failures exhibited by members of
your staff. I speak of administrative and local executive
level failures witnessed by myself and members of the
Lebanon, Missouri YMCA swim team last evening (20 November
2017). Prior to swim practice Ms. Brandi Prock and Ms.
Dawn Decker fired Mr. Christopher Williams. A management
failure in that no prior notice was provided to any member
of the swim team of this action. Further, no explanation
was provided to support this action to myself or any member
of the swim team. I will be plain with you, I directed two
honest and plain assessments about your staff’s ability to
administer personnel actions. Neither Ms. Prock nor Ms.
Decker possess any experience related to the administration
of a swim team; organized, competitive. Further, neither
individual has ever coached an organized sport. My
assessments of and about your staff’s ability to manage
personnel matters revolved around their professional
judgment, were honest and pointed: questioning the impact,
motivation, and process of this action. No clear or
rational explanation was provided. Your staff chose,
consciously, to announce the firing of our coach as the
children were entering the water. A further disgrace was
leveled against the parents attending practice this
evening. Again, your staff elected to inform us of this
action in a hall way leading to the pool deck, then
attempting to casually walk away. I am a paying member of
this organization and deserve a full accounting of this
action. Deeper concerns I have about the soundness of your
staff in Lebanon, Missouri revolve around having a convicted
criminal on staff. Ms. Decker was convicted of stealing
from the Hollister, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and was
sentenced: $11,000.00 was stolen, charges filed by Taney
County prosecutor Jeff Merrell. Why was this information
not disclosed to paying Lebanon YMCA members? Why is she
handling the funds responsible for this swim program? Why
are either of your two employees at this facility
responsible for the swim program? Was the above named
individual hired into a position responsible for the
accounting of YMCA funds during her probationary period?
If so, was her parole violated i.e. exposure to
organizational funding streams? My questions are pointed,
and deserve answers.
In defense of Mr. Williams: He is a revered and respected swim
coach. He has developed this team into the regional
championship team it is today. This summer Mr. Williams
was invited to attend a U.S. National Swim Team coaching
event. To date members of rival teams have joined the
Lebanon swim team, because he is the coach. Mr. Williams
has offered to coach this team sans pay; volunteering his
efforts, he was denied.
I encourage you to ask these questions of your staff:
Ms. Brandi Prock, Executive Director, Lebanon
YMCA, 417-588-1177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Dawn Decker, Program Director, Aquatics, Wellness, &
Writing this letter to you because of your staff’s lack of
professional etiquette saddens me. In my professional
career I have encountered many administrative and executive
miscalculations. Last night I encountered another, sad,
event. A professional management executive does not
conduct business in any manner close to the one’s
exhibited by your staff, last night. More fully, these
individuals failed at their respective positions within your
organization: having no professional experience in the field
of competitive swim management, a complete lack of positive
communication with members of the swim team, and a lack of
understanding about the team in general (never have I seen
either at a swim event outside of Lebanon, assuming the
aquatics director would attend at least one away meet).
Using the ‘Y’’s own
premise of making a better us, ‘Us is a foundation. Us is
a bond. Us is a future. But right now, it feels like that
bond is fraying….’ (http://www.ymca.net/forabetterus/)
Last night your staff elected to further fray that bond:
fact. My child began practice in tears, as did a number of
Concerned Member, Lebanon YMCA
End of correspondence.
We have reached out to the Lebanon Family YMCA for comment and were given the following reply:
While we cannot comment on specific personnel matters, a decision was made to dismiss Lebanon Swim Team Coach from the Lebanon Family YMCA.
We know it’s an upsetting situation, but it’s the result of an ongoing personnel matter, and it would be inappropriate to discuss any further. This is not a decision that we took lightly and we thank Chris Williams for his efforts as head coach and his contribution towards the successes of the team. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
The Y is committed to promote Judeo-Christian values through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The Y has been a part of the Ozarks region for more than 129 years and we are proud to have a significant role in this community as we continue to provide the positive and impactful programs.
Ozarks Regional YMCA
Julie Eaton, Director of Marketing & Communications