A group of Senior Center members filled City Hall Library Monday to speak to the City Council in support of center coordinator Sharron Brown, who has come under fire from one member at many previous council meetings.
Council President Annie McWilliams said she met with seniors last week regarding "stress and strain" they have been experiencing at the center due to the dispute. McWilliams said the council was not being asked to make any decision, but that "members want to be empowered to resolve their own problem." A senior center handbook is now under review, she said.
In public comment, a half-dozen members praised Brown, drawing applause from the rest of the crowd. One member referred to council sessions on cable television where the disgruntled senior condemned Brown and said it was "not good" to see negativity about the center on the air.
Brown was present for the accolades but did not speak.
The member in question, Sandra Taylor Williams, has complained about Brown at City Council meetings for months and has met with numerous top city officials over her concerns. Most recently, she challenged Brown over whether she can bring her grandson to the center, saying it is a public place. She has also questioned Brown's job title (listed on the city web site as director) and has insisted she should be allowed to organize a fashion show at the center. In August, she vowed on camera to go to Trenton or Washington if she could not get satisfaction locally and called the center a "Nazi boot camp."
Taylor Williams appeared briefly Monday and remarked on the turnout.
McWilliams said the center's revised handbook "should be finished in a couple of days."
Up to 150 seniors meet daily in the new senior center at 400 East Front Street. It was built by developer Glen Fishman, who received city-owned land for the building that also has 63 condos on three upper floors. Among activities, seniors take art classes, play pool, organize trips and events, hold dinners and dances and receive assistance from center staff on issues related to aging. Members may join at age 55, with annual voluntary dues of $10.