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BTAC in turmoil

Tim Willert

A Burbank Temporary Aid Center board member has called for the

resignation of President Jan Loporchio, saying public confidence in

the agency hangs in the balance.

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Board member Kermit Floyd asked Loporchio to resign during an

emergency meeting called Friday by the board’s executive committee to

discuss community concerns over the recent firing of Executive

Director Patricia Smola.

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“I believe someone else should serve as president, because I think

it’s time to move on,” Floyd said Tuesday. “I don’t want the public

to lose confidence in BTAC.”

According to Floyd, Loporchio did not reply to the request to step

down, which he said was “not well received” by other board members.

“There was a general lack of interest in pursuing that course of

action,” he said.

Reached Tuesday, Loporchio declined to comment except to say that

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“I really don’t know even if I can respond to that.” Board Vice

President Michael Walbrecht could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Smola, who was terminated last month for reasons that are still

unclear, was credited with turning around the center, which had been

beset by a volunteer revolt and a series of resignations and

leadership changes. Smola was the center’s fourth director in five

years.

“I would not ask any administrator to resign [because] of a

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singular issue,” Floyd said. “In this case, what disturbs me is this

is not the first time this has happened.”

Friends and colleagues of Smola, including those who donate time

and money to the center, have publicly criticized the board for her

dismissal. At least one volunteer has severed ties with the agency

over the handling of Smola’s separation from BTAC, and a longtime

donor has expressed doubts about board leadership.

Floyd -- who serves as chairman of the Salvation Army advisory

board and president of Burbank Family Service Agency -- said that

since Smola was fired, he has received numerous calls from donors

questioning the center’s leadership.

Smola, hired by the board of directors in June 2000, learned she

had been terminated by the board in a letter she received June 27. In

February she went on disability leave for a stress-related illness,

and subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim, which Floyd

said was denied by the agency.

Floyd is among those charged with finding a replacement for Smola.

“The issue will be resolved,” he said. “We can’t do it in 24 hours.”


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