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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Richard Foot Resigns as Westport/Weston Y CEO/Exec Director

Dick Foot: will be consultant to Connecticut YMCAs. Contributed photo
Richard A. Foot, exercutive director and CEO of the Westport/Weston YMCA since 1996, has submitted his resignation to become a consultant to 25 YMCAs around Connecticut.

“I just felt it was time to look at other opportunities,” Foot, 58, said today. His resignation becomes effective Aug. 15.

Foot, who has been among the Y’s leadership planning a controversial move from its downtown headquarters to its Camp Mahackeno site in northwest Westport, said he would remain for the time being in Westport in the new post.

“I’ll be employed by the national YMCA organization serving as a consultant to 25 YMCAs in Connecticut,” he said. “It is something I am looking forward to.”

Foot recalled that he spent 13 years as president and CEO of the YMCA in Cambridge, Mass., before coming to Westport.

“I’ve had 22 years with YMCAs and 34 years of involvement with non-profits,” he said. “Nine years in my present job is consistent with length of time in previous positions.”

James Hardin, associate executive director of the Y, said Foot announced his resignation at a board meeting Wednesday. He said the board will engage in a national search for a replacement.

Both Foot and Hardin said the resignation would not affect the Y’s planning timetable to make its move to Mahackeno. “There’s a strong, committed board in place,” Foot said. “They’ll move ahead.”

In a news release issued this afternoon, the Y said it has already begun its search for a successor and day-to-day operations will continue to be overseen by Hardin, its chief operating officer.

The Y’s board of trustees and board directors said in a joint statement:

“Dick has given his entire life to the goals and mission of the YMCA.  We have been incredibly fortunate to have benefited from his direct service for many of those years right here in Westport. 

“Dick is a passionate individual who is dedicated to helping build stronger kids, families and communities. The greater Westport and Weston communities are far better off thanks to his efforts.

“We are confident the community will benefit from Dick remaining part of the Y organization here in Connecticut and wish him every success in this next stage of his career in community service.”

Foot said: “It has been an honor for me to serve this Association since 1996.  As the seventh individual in 82 years to serve as the chief executive officer of this venerable organization, I am profoundly grateful to the dedicated volunteers on the YMCA’s governing boards who have expressed their confidence in me and provided me this opportunity to serve. 

“It has been a career long ambition to work with our national organization, YMCA USA, and I am incredibly excited to now have that opportunity.”

Foot added, “The Westport Weston Family Y is at an historic juncture, engaged in a visionary and ambitious program to build a new Y for this community and the organization is fortunate to have corps of dedicated employees and volunteers who will ensure the completion of this project.”


Posted 06/30/05 at 02:16 PM  Permalink


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How many have now left the Y?  I worked with Dick on a town project and he was/is exceptional.  A true leader and one I know many respected.  What is going on that now he is leaving?  I think it speaks volumns about the new Y project.  Why would so many leave at such a time, especially some who were there for so many years….. and who even answers these questions now… whos left?
A very concerned Y member

Posted by concerned on June 30, 2005 at 07:39 PM | #

Why don’t you ask some of the “board” members?

Posted by Another concerned on July 01, 2005 at 10:58 AM | #

Don’t bother asking the board.  the reply will be ‘50 meter pool, 50 meter pool.’  By the time this group of board members is done with the Y it will be a swimming centre only.  They are already destroying the camp which is the only program I use.  Camp is incredible and quite frankly my kids have learned to swim better at camp than during the year in Y swim lessons.  So, yes, Board of the Y, what the heck is going on?  Are any other Y members concerned?  Can Rosemary Halstead actually answer these questions?  The only thing I have heard her talk about is the pool.  Camp, childcare - do these things matter?  Or is that why everyone left the Y because to the board they don’t.

Posted by also concerned on July 01, 2005 at 04:50 PM | #

Isn’t that nice. Little ad hominem hand grenades lobbed from the safe cover of anonymity.

Concerned #1: In the corporate world, if a man spends a career with a company and rises to run a plant or a subsidiary, and then he is asked to provide his expertise to twenty plus plants, isn’t that usually considered a promotion? Maybe Mr. Foot jumped at an opportunity to deploy the skills you laud across an entire state, instead of just one town.

Concerned #2: Why don’t you ask the board? But use your actual real name?

Concerned #3: Have you attended the information sessions the Y held on the Mahackeno project? If you had, I think you’d have a hard time saying that they are destroying the camp, or that the pool was the sole focus of their efforts.

If you are all really so concerned, why not drop the anonymous posturing, personal ax-grinding, and uninformed criticism and approach the board with a question in broad daylight?

Posted by pu-leeze on July 02, 2005 at 03:53 PM | #

for all of you who know Rosemary, you would know that she is an incredibly hard person to approach on any concerns that one might have.  And for the rest of the board, I think it’s time for them to open thier mouths on some of concerns that many people are beginning to have with the new Y.  It’s time for you to start listening to what the members are saying, seeing as we pay your bills!  Oh and pu-leeze, I have attened a few meetings; 50 meter pool this!

Posted by another concerned on July 05, 2005 at 01:17 AM | #

Many of us made our money in the corporate world and I do not agree with comparing Mr. Foot to a plant manager.  In fact, it is insulting.  A CEO is a CEO.  How much is the Y’s budget, 5 million?  And the project? 25 million?  That is an impressive project for one to lead and those with a vested interest, stockholders in my world, should indeed ask those now managing the project why there have been at least three key positions vacated this year.  Mr. Foot is not managing 25 Ys (not a promotion) he is consulting and that is known in the corporate world as a golden handshake that only a Board of Directors can cause. 
I don’t care about the pool and if that’s the main focus of the new Y then so be it.  The fact remains the people are leaving an impressive project and concerns are warrented, not grenades.
I will not leave my name as I enjoy the freedom this site allows.  I also see well over half the comments made also enjoy this same nameless freedom.  If that is important to anyone, you also have the freedom to put down your name.

Posted by questioning on July 06, 2005 at 03:37 PM | #

Why all the code names and a few rigged e-mail addresses thrown in? 

The new Y IS a highly charged topic, both politically and emotionally.

In this kind of environment, leaders and board members do depart under curious circumstances. Also, wells get poisoned and ill-will created.  But this too shall pass.

To Dick Foot:  Thank you for all your hard work.  While the timing of your resignation is in fact curious, I’ve seen nothing but your passion, energy and dedication for our Y.  If there is an inner circle, why not let it be known.

Out of all this, the biggest loss is Bob Knoebel. Period, end of story.  (Bob… please reconsider!!!)

By-the-way, we all should all be so unapproachable as Rosemary Halstead.  She’s the right person for the right board, at the right time… and a terrific person

Posted by Jud Koss on July 06, 2005 at 06:21 PM | #