At the end of August a year ago, I was laid off after working 20 years for People For Puget Sound — for budget reasons.
Yesterday, on 9/11, the board and executive director of People For Puget Sound announced they were shutting down what was once the premier Puget Sound conservation organization at the end of this month — for budget reasons.
"This is shocking and sad," founder and recently retired executive director Kathy Fletcher told the Kitsap Sun. "I never would have imagined that this would happen."
I’m angry, disappointed and sad.
I’m angry because what we worked so hard for over 20 years has gone down the toilet in a year. I’m angry because all the work we did in strategizing the executive transition and People For Puget Sound under new leadership never took flight. I’m angry because we went through many tough financial crises during our 20 years and worked our way through to survive. I’m angry because People For Puget Sound will not survive.
I’m disappointed because those of us who loved and cared for People For Puget Sound were never asked to help in this past year, never consulted, never told how bad the situation had become. I’m disappointed that an organization based on engaging people never turned to the very people that made up its membership, its volunteers and its donors. I’m disappointed that no other alternatives were openly discussed before announcing an end to People For Puget Sound.
And I’m sad because Puget Sound will no longer have a watchdog and advocate focused exclusively on the Sound’s well being. I’m sad because we won’t have activists and volunteers — the real people of Puget Sound — speaking in one voice for the land, waters and critters of the Sound. I’m sad because I, too, never would have imagined that this would happen.
I’m sure the board of directors and executive director of People For Puget Sound believe they’ve made the right decision. And the decision’s been made: They’ve brought about the end of People For Puget Sound.