Longstanding members of the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps sent out a series of resignation and leave-taking emails late Thursday night to the corps' board, its officers, and its members.
Four members of TVAC – including Shelley Robinson, a 38-year veteran of the corps, six-time captain, and director; and another member wearning many hats in the corps for the last two decades – announced they would leave the corps either permanently or indefinitely in the wake of the controversial reinstatement of Alaric Young.Let Patch save you time. Get breaking news stories just like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Fast signup here.
Young, who was after allegations of sexual harassment from multiple women, was recently by the board after a committee reviewed the issue.
It's a story that some were eager to put behind them. Young himself, following the announcement of his reinstatement at the end of May, expressed that he was eager to get back to work and “put this to bed.”
But others, including these four, can't get past it. The resignation or leave-taking of Robinson, former officer Murat Turk, and two women who wished to remain unnamed, follows shortly after the resignation of Board member and attorney Fred Mauhs last week, and attorney Jonathan Gliet prior to that.
By Turk's estimate, TVAC has lost 14 volunteer members because of the Young controversy that has the corps divided; most of them, said Turk, fall on the side of objection to Young's fully reinstated status and the process behind it.
Here are key excerpts from some of the letters:
Robinson (resignation): “I cannot continue to serve on a Board [that] has led our Corps to the brink of dissolution because of its indecision and divisiveness. The Board has allowed itself to be ruled by bitterness and anger... If the Corps returns to the standards in place when I joined the Corps, then I would consider reapplying in the future.”
Unnamed Woman (resignation): “I no longer feel physically, emotionally or socially safe as part of the TVAC community. I feel strongly that the Board has failed us all...
I spoke to the Corps' own lawyer just shy of a year ago. It was then conveyed to me two months later that the Board doubted the veracity of my statement. I followed up by speaking to a therapist of the Board's choosing who verified my integrity. When that was dismissed, I spoke to a mediator chosen by the Board. That went nowhere. In January, 8 months after the initial complaint, the Board finally heard my story and the story of the other women. It was terrifying for me to sit there because from my own social involvement with the Corps, I knew that sitting in front of me were some of the closest friends of the person who had harassed me. The evening grew scarier as it wore on. The statements of the other women, some of whom I had never even met nor heard of before were horrifyingly similar to my own. The pattern of harassing behavior came out clearly a pattern that has played out in the same manner over and over and over. I was that 'next girl' who the others hoped to protect. It happened AGAIN. I felt the Board meeting even more concerned for the safety of the Corps and community members than I had previously....
The Board has failed all of us, complainants, Alaric, and general Board members by taking an egregiously long time to address this issue...they still HAVE NOT sufficiently addressed the original harassment concerns...
I hope my resignation will help the community by alerting the membership to the mishandling of the issue and hopefully spurring those with integrity to action in appropriately addressing the issue.”
Unnamed Woman (leave of absence): “My decision to switch to inactive status has been very difficult for me. I feel strongly, however, that the priorities, professionalism, and ethical standards of the organization are no longer well-aligned with my own professional and ethical standards. Please understand that I am not taking the leave of absence out of anger, and that I bear no ill-will toward either the organization or its individual members, many of whom I hold in high regard and feel great affection for. I sincerely hope that both the corps and its members flourish, and will be able to provide high-quality medical care for for the citizens of Tarrytown.
Rather, I am taking this leave because I feel that recent decisions made by the leadership of the corps have not adequately protected the basic rights of our members and patients to enjoy a safe, comfortable and professional environment... I further state, for the record, that I was not in favor of the continued membership of Alaric Young, whose standards of professional behavior have been, in my assessment, below the level of integrity I expect from myself and from my colleagues. I am therefore publicly stating that I hold myself harmless from any consequences of his past and future actions.”
Everyone took leave or resigned effective in two weeks. This included the two senior lawyers, Mauhs and Gliet, who wouldn't specify why they were leaving the corps but did confirm their resignations.
Mauhs said, "I'm leaving the Board in order to spend more time with my family," adding his fondness for the time spent volunteering there and his utmost respect for Board Chair Joan C. Dobson.