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WIB delays action involving dismissal of Helen Lopez as executive director

May 22, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Workforce Investment Board delayed action Monday on potentially firing its executive officer, Helen Lopez.

The item was listed on the board's agenda for closed session, but Lopez has requested any action be discussed in open session.

The board was sent a letter by El Centro attorney John F. Lenderman on Lopez's behalf stating Lopez is willing to resign if the board will authorize six months in severance pay and continued benefits, "and a mutual and duly executed ‘bad mouth' clause to address her continued concern with the character disparagement she has suffered in recent months at the hands of several members of your board."

The letter does not name the board members nor would Lopez name them.

Lopez said working conditions have been in a downward spiral for some time, and that she is on stress-related leave. She said at the worst she has been accused of being "not nice" or not "board-friendly."


The 29-member board is made up of private and public sector members, with a majority of seats held by those from the private sector.

One member made a motion to accept Lopez's resignation and to pay the severance package, but the board decided to delay any action until June 18, the board's next meeting date.

In other business, the WIB board:

· gave its tentative approval to a proposal by the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program that would begin a program at Imperial Valley College to train 20 licensed vocational nurses to become registered nurses and 20 certified nursing assistants to be LVNs.

Kathy Berry, IVC director of nursing education and health technology, told the board that despite a waiting list to join IVC's nursing program, new instructors would be hired for the program.

The WIB agreed to provide a match of $616,193 that would come from the U.S. Labor Department via the state Employment Development Department to the county.

The proposal will ultimately be submitted to the federal government.

Applicants must meet certain requirements to participate.

· approved a 90-day budget of $155,000. Without an executive director, the WIB's budget has not been fully formulated for presentation to the county Board of Supervisors.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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