UPDATED At the April 5 Kirkland City Council meeting, teens filled the council chambers to in support of KTUB staff laid off in a recent restructuring of the organization. Three individuals spoke before the council with some asking for a review of the contract under which KTUB is managed. Changes made at KTUB since the Bellevue Family YMCA took over management of the facility have been of concern to some longtime KTUB users.
Two representatives of the YMCA spoke in defense of the organization and the reorganization.
The City Council discussed the issue at then end of their meeting and directed city staff to help facilitate a dialog with all parties.
On April 2, big changes are coming to the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB). After ten years of operating the city-owned facility, Friends of Youth decided to call it quits and in July 2010, the Bellevue Family YMCA took over operations. The YMCA is now reorganizing the staffing structure of KTUB in order to ensure the continued viability, growth and community impact of the facility which provides services to disadvantaged youth in Kirkland.
Some confusion among KTUB advocates exists regarding the reorganization and options available for existing staff at KTUB.
Kirkland Views contacted Bellevue Family YMCA Executive Director Keri Stout for clarification on the layoffs.
According to Stout, "the reorganization includes the layoff of current staff and an assessment of a new staffing structure to be followed by us filling the new positions. Staff who were laid off have the option to apply for the new positions if they so choose."
It seems that some at KTUB are unhappy with this arrangement and are voicing their displeasure to the City.
Advocates of KTUB staff plan to take their grievance to the Kirkland City Council meeting on April 5 and present a petition protesting the layoffs containing over 300 signatures.
In an effort to provide us more clarity on the situation, Stout provided us the following statement from the YMCA:
The YMCA is reorganizing the staffing structure of KTUB in order to ensure the continued viability, growth and community impact of KTUB. This change is intended to enable the Y to provide even more opportunities to youth in close collaboration with the City of Kirkland. The physical components of KTUB will remain the same and enhancements are being planned for the future We will build on the great work that has happened within the walls of KTUB over the past 10 years and will continue to offer programs in Recreation, Leadership, Music, and Arts. Our objective is to encourage teens to experience lifelong community service and learning opportunities.
YMCA/KTUB goals include continuing youth driven programs, increasing opportunities for youth, strengthening current activities/programs, implementing new activities/programs and offering a continuum of casual (drop-in or one-time events) activities. We are dedicated to conducting continuous evaluations to ensure that the programs are serving the needs of the teen in the Kirkland community. It is this dedication to accountability, along with our commitment to maximizing our impact, that has driven the decision to reorganize the staffing structure of KTUB. We thank the City of Kirkland, youth participants, parents and other community members for their support of our goal to strengthen our community through youth development.