Art Boss Scrapped

Thursday, September 12, 2013
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Cay Sanchez, longtime executive director and one of the original founders of Art From Scrap ​— ​Santa Barbara’s longstanding eco-arts and educational nonprofit ​— ​was suddenly terminated Monday morning at the behest of the organization’s Board of Directors. All 10 boardmembers voted in favor of the termination. Sanchez, who worked for the organization 25 years, said she was given half an hour to box up any personal belongings and turn over her keys. She said the organization was going to pursue “a change of direction.” Sanchez said she’d been given no warning that her performance was lacking, but she acknowledged relations with the board over the past year had been rocky. She said she did not understand the cause of the turmoil. “I’m personally really offended, but I hope the organization survives,” she said. “And life will go on.”

<b>LARGE LOSS:</b>  Cay Sanchez was unceremoniously terminated from Art From Scrap after 25 years at the helm.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

LARGE LOSS: Cay Sanchez was unceremoniously terminated from Art From Scrap after 25 years at the helm.

During Sanchez’s tenure, Art From Scrap started as an independent nonprofit, was subsumed into the Community Environmental Council, spun out as an independent again, and last year was rechristened and re-branded as Explore Ecology. Every year, it teaches about 15,000 school-age kids about the natural ecology of the Santa Barbara watershed, stressing an interactive and playful approach. Replacing Sanchez as interim director will be Stephen MacIntosh, who formerly ran the City of Santa Barbara’s Environmental Services program before taking over as recycling director for the Republic waste management company.

Michael Hamman, the Explore Ecology boardmember who terminated Sanchez, said his version of events differed from Sanchez’s, but that he could not discuss the details, citing the confidentiality of employment relations. Hamman joined the board four months ago and runs a consulting firm specializing in helping businesses grow. “We’d like to explore a larger facility,” he said. “There are lots of ideas we would like to explore.” The core mission, he said, would not change. “Cay’s contribution to the organization is well recognized and appreciated,” he said. “And the board wishes her the best.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Wow - after 25 years of hard work and dedication the board gives Cay Sanchez a 30 minute marching orders? I know this is common in big companies that have a lot of "sensitive" information - but for a non-profit like this... really? Really? My best wishes to Ms. Sanchez in her future endeavors.

summerlandian (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Weird indeed.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 12:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They've made a big mistake firing her, and especially the way they did. Who will want to donate anything to them after this?

MightyQuinn (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So she helps found Art for Scrap, runs it successfully for 25(!) years, and then is fired with no notice or valid reason and then given 30 minutes to clear out? Seriously? The Board of Directors should be downright ashamed, and as far as Michael Hamman's lame a** statements at the end of the article- what a BS attempt to divert attention from the cowardly way the board treated someone who gave 25 years of her life to our community through one of the great non-profits that we have here locally. Who is going to give them any money after this?

Who is going to replace her? Director of Development Stephen McIntosh who was previously at Allied Waste?

Ashley W. Hollister, Darcy Bradley, James Cunningham, Scott Estby, Michael Hamman, Joanne Hollister, Simon Kiefer, Sally Kingston, Lorrie Thomas Ross, Kathy Snow - you all are a bunch of heartless cowards. You reap what you sow.

mesamike (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 2:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I do not think Cay was a original founding member as she worked for the organization for 16 years. Which seeing that the organization has only been around for 22 years makes her 25 year tenure rather surprising.

Of the names MesaMike graciously mentioned, I believe Joanne Hollister is the only founding member listed. I remember her running Art From Scrap in the 90's, and helping to build the organization from a small enterprise in a home garage into what it is today.

Before we dismiss these hard working volunteer board members as cowards- it might be wise to consider whatever their reasons were. There are two sides to every story and I would imagine they had good reason to make such a major decision.

Regardless, Cay's dedication to the organization will not be forgotten and is remarkable.

TheRealSBLocal (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 7:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks, MesaMike for listing the Board member names. Interesting to see Sally Kingston's name there, the same Sally Kingston who had rather difficult employee relationships at Harding and just left her new job in Carpinteria? 30 minutes notice with what that implies! Shame on them!!! I thought Kathy Snow, Bendy White's wife, if it is the same Kathy Snow, would do better than that.

at_large (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 7:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a wonderful organization and I'm wishing Cay all the best. Our schools depend on Explore Ecology and I would not like to see an end to this program.

jeanror (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 8:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sally Kingston already left her Carpinteria job?? Yikes, that's not saying much! She wasn't at Harding long and left there suddenly without waiting for the school year to end.

santabarbarasand (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 9:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"They've made a big mistake firing her, and especially the way they did. Who will want to donate anything to them after this?"

MightyQuinn (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 1:33 p.m

Unless they have a good explanation, not me.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 16, 2013 at 9:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Cay’s contribution to the organization is well recognized and appreciated"? Really? Sure doesn't sound like it! It also seems like the board intentionally used her and the volunteers by not firing her until after the "One Night Stand". Do those board members who have been on the board for less than 6 months really think they know how to run AFS better? Good luck. Too bad they burned so many bridges by being so disrespectful and callus.

fromafar (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 10:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks to Cay for her honorable service and I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Sounds like a shameless mutiny at AFS where the bottom line is initiated with a kick to the bottom.

Unsubscribing from the AFS newsletter and will will look elsewhere for art materials and to send my donations.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 5:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cay Sanchez IS Art from Scrap. Without her it is nothing--absolutely nothing. Thanks Cay for all you have done, and shame on this errant Board of Directors.

Brunswick (anonymous profile)
September 17, 2013 at 9:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I worked with Cay when Art From Scrap was part of the Community Environmental Council. I recall when CEC had a new Executive Director and they let go of so many important, dedicated people, without knowing anything about our community. It was a tragedy that I will never forget. All of those that were let go by CEC went on to brighter things. Of course, with Cay getting let go, I can confidently say that she will continue to be successful as the others have.
I am very concerned for is Cay and all of the other employees of Explore Ecology. With all of these changes, are they included in the conversation? Non-profits are always changing and Cay excelled at leading Art From Scrap through that change in varying capacities. It is so awful to see that there isn't any mention here of conflict resolution, mediation, or utilizing any resources to resolve conflict and support Cay and Explore Ecology employees through change.
I have noticed that, at times, people with more experience are not valued because they question the status of things. That isn't fair. I hope Cay was valued for her years of support and unending dedication to AFS/Explore Ecology.
The kind of message that this type of letting go of employees sends is not a positive one. It doesn't send a message of caring, connection and community. These are qualities I watched and learned from Cay at Art From Scrap as a young person.
This is devastating news. I have not supported CEC with donations since the ED let go of employees in an unjust manner. I know feel the same about Explore Ecology and Art From Scrap. I am very disappointed in the board and I am quite concerned for the employees.
Cay, as many people have said, you made the bones of this organization.

artsyinsb (anonymous profile)
September 20, 2013 at 12:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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