News

Residents express concerns over nonprofit merger

Speakers turn out to Pleasanton council meeting over CityServe absorbing Senior Support

Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, a long-popular nonprofit in the area, had operated out of leased space in the Pleasanton Senior Center. (Photo by Chuck Deckert)

The recent announcement of a merger between two Pleasanton nonprofits has led some citizens to question how the move will impact their community, causing a turnout of disapproving public comments at the latest City Council meeting.

Through the public forum, residents shared their displeasure about Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley and its services being absorbed by CityServe of the Tri-Valley, citing main concerns such as transparency, service demographics, future impacts on the city-owned Senior Center and the organization's motivation.

News of the merger, which had been under consideration since late 2021, first came to light publicly last month several days after a story in the Weekly spotlighting concerns raised by former employees and volunteers about SSPTV, its leadership instability, and the apparent loss of key services and staff.

The Pleasanton City Council meeting on Sept. 6 featured 14 speakers during public comment on non-agenda items criticizing the merger between the private nonprofits.

Jan Morrison, who manages the Hacienda Mobile Home Park for seniors, told the council about how the merger has affected those who live in the complex and said she had been elected to speak on their behalf. Mostly, community members who benefited from the resources felt blindsided by the sudden changes.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"I have 200 residents that have been asking me why their Senior Support has changed and gone to CityServe and how come they didn't have a say," Morrison said. "They don't think it's fair that they weren't consulted before they made any changes and there was no notice given. My people are very upset."

Barbara Will, a former SSPTV employee who worked as director of its Family Caregiver Program, described how the nonprofit was run several years ago in contrast with how the services are being handled now.

"We were a really committed group of people that really believed in what we were doing," Will said. "(They have now) taken a program that has run flawlessly for 40-plus years and are making a huge change."

One of the new criticisms as a result of the merger came from people concerned about Senior Support funds and its leased space at the Pleasanton Senior Center going to a nonprofit that serves other demographics including unhoused residents and other disadvantaged groups of all ages.

Lilian Bullock, Pleasanton resident with over 20 years of experience as an emergency room nurse, spoke about this concern to the council and audience members.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"I find the proposition of merging the unhoused into the Senior Support structure to be a grave disservice to our seniors," Bullock said. "I cannot see this merger as a positive or practical situation."

She continued, expressing how the merge could cause an "array of potential unpleasant, unsafe and even dangerous" scenarios for seniors. In addition to Bullock, comments regarding the adoption of resources for the unhoused community were plenty from other speakers at the meeting.

Other speakers raised questions about CityServe's religious roots and whether public taxpayer funds granted to SSPTV could be utilized by a faith-based organization. According to its website, CityServe says it aims to connect "a diverse network of churches and faith groups, nonprofits, businesses, schools, government agencies, community members and participants."

CityServe is among the nonprofits that has received grant funding from all three Tri-Valley cities on its own.

During the merger's transitional period, some residents questioned how SSPTV services would be adapted under the CityServe umbrella. A number of senior-related services that fell under SSPTV are now listed on the CityServe website.

However, in one case, the CityServe website as recently as last week advertised the Friendly Visiting Program as active and soliciting new clients and volunteers -- despite multiple sources telling the Weekly that SSPTV eliminated that program earlier this summer. The CityServe webpage listed Pam Silliman as the point of contact, which she said was a surprise to her considering she was laid off as the program's coordinator at SSPTV in July and has not been replaced.

The entire Friendly Visiting Program link was removed from the CityServe website as of Monday.

CityServe leadership have not given a comment in response to the criticisms brought up by public speakers at the council meeting, nor did they answer inquiries from the Weekly this week. Council members were precluded from responding to the speakers during the Sept. 6 meeting, under the Brown Act, because the item was not listed on that night's agenda.

When the merger was revealed last month, CityServe CEO Christine Beitsch-Bahmani said, "Our mission is to always assist residents by caring, coordinating and connecting those in need of resources and to mobilize volunteers in the community. We feel that this merger will allow us to continue doing what we've always done, but with a greater overall impact and an intentional reach into the older adult community."

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Looking for more Livermore stories? The Livermore Vine will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Nicole Gonzales
 
Nicole Gonzales is a staff reporter for Embarcadero Media’s East Bay Division, the Pleasanton Weekly. Nicole began writing for the publication in July 2022. Read more >>

Follow PleasantonWeekly.com and the Pleasanton Weekly on Twitter @pleasantonnews, Facebook and on Instagram @pleasantonweekly for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

Residents express concerns over nonprofit merger

Speakers turn out to Pleasanton council meeting over CityServe absorbing Senior Support

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Sun, Sep 18, 2022, 4:19 pm

The recent announcement of a merger between two Pleasanton nonprofits has led some citizens to question how the move will impact their community, causing a turnout of disapproving public comments at the latest City Council meeting.

Through the public forum, residents shared their displeasure about Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley and its services being absorbed by CityServe of the Tri-Valley, citing main concerns such as transparency, service demographics, future impacts on the city-owned Senior Center and the organization's motivation.

News of the merger, which had been under consideration since late 2021, first came to light publicly last month several days after a story in the Weekly spotlighting concerns raised by former employees and volunteers about SSPTV, its leadership instability, and the apparent loss of key services and staff.

The Pleasanton City Council meeting on Sept. 6 featured 14 speakers during public comment on non-agenda items criticizing the merger between the private nonprofits.

Jan Morrison, who manages the Hacienda Mobile Home Park for seniors, told the council about how the merger has affected those who live in the complex and said she had been elected to speak on their behalf. Mostly, community members who benefited from the resources felt blindsided by the sudden changes.

"I have 200 residents that have been asking me why their Senior Support has changed and gone to CityServe and how come they didn't have a say," Morrison said. "They don't think it's fair that they weren't consulted before they made any changes and there was no notice given. My people are very upset."

Barbara Will, a former SSPTV employee who worked as director of its Family Caregiver Program, described how the nonprofit was run several years ago in contrast with how the services are being handled now.

"We were a really committed group of people that really believed in what we were doing," Will said. "(They have now) taken a program that has run flawlessly for 40-plus years and are making a huge change."

One of the new criticisms as a result of the merger came from people concerned about Senior Support funds and its leased space at the Pleasanton Senior Center going to a nonprofit that serves other demographics including unhoused residents and other disadvantaged groups of all ages.

Lilian Bullock, Pleasanton resident with over 20 years of experience as an emergency room nurse, spoke about this concern to the council and audience members.

"I find the proposition of merging the unhoused into the Senior Support structure to be a grave disservice to our seniors," Bullock said. "I cannot see this merger as a positive or practical situation."

She continued, expressing how the merge could cause an "array of potential unpleasant, unsafe and even dangerous" scenarios for seniors. In addition to Bullock, comments regarding the adoption of resources for the unhoused community were plenty from other speakers at the meeting.

Other speakers raised questions about CityServe's religious roots and whether public taxpayer funds granted to SSPTV could be utilized by a faith-based organization. According to its website, CityServe says it aims to connect "a diverse network of churches and faith groups, nonprofits, businesses, schools, government agencies, community members and participants."

CityServe is among the nonprofits that has received grant funding from all three Tri-Valley cities on its own.

During the merger's transitional period, some residents questioned how SSPTV services would be adapted under the CityServe umbrella. A number of senior-related services that fell under SSPTV are now listed on the CityServe website.

However, in one case, the CityServe website as recently as last week advertised the Friendly Visiting Program as active and soliciting new clients and volunteers -- despite multiple sources telling the Weekly that SSPTV eliminated that program earlier this summer. The CityServe webpage listed Pam Silliman as the point of contact, which she said was a surprise to her considering she was laid off as the program's coordinator at SSPTV in July and has not been replaced.

The entire Friendly Visiting Program link was removed from the CityServe website as of Monday.

CityServe leadership have not given a comment in response to the criticisms brought up by public speakers at the council meeting, nor did they answer inquiries from the Weekly this week. Council members were precluded from responding to the speakers during the Sept. 6 meeting, under the Brown Act, because the item was not listed on that night's agenda.

When the merger was revealed last month, CityServe CEO Christine Beitsch-Bahmani said, "Our mission is to always assist residents by caring, coordinating and connecting those in need of resources and to mobilize volunteers in the community. We feel that this merger will allow us to continue doing what we've always done, but with a greater overall impact and an intentional reach into the older adult community."

Comments

Pton Resident
Registered user
Foothill High School
on Sep 19, 2022 at 10:19 am
Pton Resident, Foothill High School
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 10:19 am

The wording on this story is incredibly vague. Get to the point -- this is a merger that will mix senior services with homeless outreach, all under the umbrella of a religious group. Who in their right mind thinks it's OK to miss older people in our community with homeless people? That's a recipe for disaster. And our tax dollars should not be used to fund a religious-based organization.


LINDA MONIZ
Registered user
Foothill Farms
on Sep 19, 2022 at 1:54 pm
LINDA MONIZ, Foothill Farms
Registered user
on Sep 19, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Once again, our government taking control and telling us what is going to happen instead of putting it out for comments before a decision is made!


keeknlinda
Registered user
Vintage Hills
on Sep 21, 2022 at 3:05 pm
keeknlinda, Vintage Hills
Registered user
on Sep 21, 2022 at 3:05 pm


At Tuesdays City Council Meeting it was announced that there will be a Town Hall Meeting for members of the public On Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 3:00-4:15 at the Senior Center. On hand will be members of City Staff representatives of City Serve, Open Heart Kitchen, and Spectrum Community Services. Leaders of the non-profit organizations who provide a variety of programs for Pleasanton's seniors will be introduced at the Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.
For questions, contact City Recreation Manager Jay Ingram at 925-931-5346


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.