After only four months, Betsy Arbelovsky submitted a letter of resignation, packed up her office and left the Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula short of an executive director.
"It wasn't particularly expected," said Mike Navarre, president of the board of directors at the club. "I would say it was fairly sudden."
Arbelovsky began her term as executive director in January after a short hiatus between her new position at the club and her old one as the executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District. She served 18 months at the EDD before leaving the organization in December 2001 to assume her new role at the Boys and Girls Club.
According to Navarre, miscommunication between the board and Arbelovsky may have been to blame for what he called a mutual decision for her to submit her resignation.
"There were just some various issues," he said. "Maybe the board didn't give her enough direction. There were some expectations by her that we didn't meet."
"To the best of my understanding and surprise, the executive committee disagreed with a personnel decision I made," said Arbelovsky, who added that during her short term it was an honor and a privilege to work with the staff, volunteers and member organizations.
Arbelovsky was selected from a group of five prime candidates who were chosen from the applications received after the club advertised for the position nationally, locally and in Anchorage through the Boys and Girls Club organization.
Arbelovsky was the clear consensus of the hiring team, said Navarre in an interview in November after the board announced Arbelovsky as the new director.
"She brings a tremendous background from advocacy for youth in the state and outside the state and a tremendous network of connections from all the other positions she's held and jobs she's done," Navarre said after the announcement. "And she brings a lot of enthusiasm; she's well organized and is going to be a tremendous asset."
In November, Arbelovsky and Navarre both said in her role as the director she would work toward club expansion, both in Kenai and in to other communities, as well as looking at how to stabilize long-term funding.
However, the organization's plans to expand and develop were stymied slightly by its loss of Arbelovsky in the first week of May.
"Her resignation letter was very professional," said Navarre, who added that in it she assured the board her enthusiasm for the club and its programming was not diminished, and she would continue to advocate on its behalf.
"My family and I continue to put high values on the work they do on behalf of children," Arbelovsky said. "I am proud of everything they did before I was there and everything I did while I was there."
"She did a number of things excellent," Navarre said. "Betsy is a tremendous person and does a lot for the youth of our community.
"My friendship with Betsy will last through this, as it has through other things," said Navarre, who has worked with Arbelovsky professionally in several different arenas, one of which was during his terms as Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor in the late 1990s. The two also attended Kenai Central High School together.
While Navarre and Arbelovsky's friendship may not have been harmed by her resignation, the Boys and Girls Club remains without a permanent executive director.
Tina Marie Herford, who served as interim director after Suzanne Little's departure in 2001, is filling in while the board decides how it wants to go about hiring a replacement for Arbelovsky. Arbelovsky said she is actively looking for work while continuing to volunteer her time at various organizations in the community.
The time line at this point is still a bit fuzzy, but, according to Navarre, the board may decide to hire within the organization and offer the position on a permanent basis to Herford. She applied when the job opened up last year and is still willing to take the helm at the club, Navarre said.
Herford has been with the Boys and Girls Club since 1995 when she moved to the peninsula from southern California, where she worked as a grant writer for the Camarillo Health Care District. She began volunteering at the club and soon was named director of finance by Little. Herford has served in that capacity for the past seven years.
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