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BTAC fires its director

Tim Willert

Patricia Smola, the woman credited with turning around the Burbank

Temporary Aid Center, said Tuesday she has been fired as executive



Smola, reached at her Burbank home, said she learned she had been

terminated in a letter that reached her Friday.

“I just don’t understand it,” she said. “I just feel they could

have handled it differently.”


Center board President Jan Loporcho confirmed Smola’s departure

Tuesday, but would not say whether she resigned or was fired.

“I’m not at liberty to discuss personnel matters,” Loporcho said.

Smola, a former escrow officer with a knack for fund-raising, was

hired by the center’s board of directors in June 2000. She

acknowledged Tuesday that she had been on disability leave for a

stress-related illness since February, and had subsequently filed a

workers’ compensation claim against the center.


Smola called the termination letter “devastating and humiliating,”

and said she poured her “heart” into the center, which assists more

than 2,500 people each month with food, shelter and transportation


“It meant a lot to me,” she said.

Smola, 65, was instrumental in soliciting donations from the

Burbank Sertoma Club, U.S. Postal Service, IKEA and Joslyn Adult

Center. The temporary aid center is supported by individual donations


and city grants, religious organizations and service groups.

Stacy Schumacher, an administrative assistant at the center on

West Burbank Boulevard, said Smola will be hard to replace.

“She’s been great with volunteers and clients and representing the

agency to the community,” Schumacher said Tuesday. “She’s been a

great asset to the community, and she will be sorely missed.”

Loporcho said a search committee will be formed to find Smola’s


“She is going to be missed,” Loporcho said. “She was very loved by

the community.”