We are writing in response to the Jan. 8 letter to the editor from Mr. Elias Serna, “Defending PYFC,” regarding the work of Judy Spiegel, the organizational development consultant engaged by the fiscal receiver of the Pico Youth & Family Center to (1) provide training to the PYFC advisory board on the role of board governance and (2) to assess the health of PYFC as an organization.

Mr. Serna makes serious defamatory allegations concerning her competency as a consultant, yet he does not provide any basis for his charges, nor does he point out one incorrect fact in her assessment. But rather, he charges inconsistently that she wanted to “take down” PYFC because, among other things, she wanted the job of the PYFC executive director, while at the same time sought to have the PYFC endowment withdrawn. We the undersigned feel compelled to set the record straight.

Ms. Spiegel is an experienced professional who provided key training to the PYFC advisory board and the PYFC staff. The demonization of sincere professionals fulfilling their obligations is against the values reflected in the PYFC motto of “peace, unity and social justice.” It also provides poor modeling to youth who must learn when and how to accept criticism that may be constructive in helping them become better people, to accept responsibility for their actions, and to engage in thoughtful, useful discourse when they disagree. Furthermore, what Mr. Serna overlooks is that Ms. Spiegel sent a draft of the final assessment to the PYFC executive director, Oscar de la Torre, for his review and comments prior to finalizing the report, and no comments or corrections were submitted even though the executive director was encouraged to participate.

Finally, the record should reflect that Oscar de la Torre participated in the selection process and did in fact sign off in hiring Ms. Spiegel for the professional role she did fulfill.

Amanda Seward, Former PYFC board chair

Jan Book, Former PYFC board treasurer

Shelly D. Wood, Former PYFC board secretary

Jill Moniz, Former PYFC board member

Ira McAliley, Former PYFC board member

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