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Center director rehired after probe uncovers no wrongdoing

April 29, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Parent-Child Center's board of directors has rehired the executive director it dismissed in February, after an investigation of her handling of the organization's finances turned up no wrongdoing, board president Vince Dellaposta said Thursday.

Dellaposta said the board voted 6-1 Tuesday to rehire Millie Lowman immediately. She resumed her duties Wednesday.

Dellaposta said he has "a strong feeling" that Lowman will ask the board to move forward with the center's annual telethon, a request he thinks will be approved. The board postponed the telethon, which airs on NBC-25, when Lowman was dismissed.

Lowman could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Dellaposta said a former "disgruntled employee" of the Parent-Child Center and some "disgruntled board members" pushed for Lowman's dismissal, alleging problems with some of the center's finances.

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"The board investigated all (allegations) and found them all to be untrue," Dellaposta said.

Dellaposta said he didn't know why the former disgruntled employee or disgruntled board members made the allegations. The board voted 4-3 to dismiss Lowman.

Dellaposta said the board that voted to rehire Lowman this week consisted of a few different people.

"It's not like some of them had a change of heart," he said.

Lowman's ouster caused a stir with the Hagerstown Exchange Club, one of the center's large financial contributors. On April 21, Exchange Club President David Walker wrote a letter to Dellaposta stating the club would withhold "all future donations of financial and other support, effective immediately."

Walker said in an interview Wednesday that the Exchange Club's contributions to the center total between $30,000 and $40,000 a year.

In the letter, Walker wrote that the support would be withheld until several conditions were met, including a justification of Lowman's dismissal.

Walker said Wednesday that the Exchange Club was glad that Lowman was rehired and called her an "excellent fundraiser," but that the other conditions outlined in the letter still stand.

Dellaposta, who is also an Exchange Club member, said he thought the conditions in the letter were no longer necessary.

"Now that she's back, the Hagerstown Exchange Club will support Millie Lowman and the Parent-Child Center 100 percent," Dellaposta said. "The letter was written as an attempt to kind of force the board of directors to at least consider bring Millie Lowman back. If not, then they're not going to support the Parent-Child Center."

The Parent-Child Center offers parenting classes and assistance for pregnant teenagers, helps families thought to be at risk for child abuse or those in which child abuse already is occurring, and works with children in the court system.

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