SAGE'S CEO ESCORTED OUT OF BUILDING AND SUSPENDED FROM DUTIES
San Antonio for Growth on the East Side (SAGE), CEO- Jackie Gorman was escorted
out of the building by police officers on Monday, September 24th around 9:30 am and put on suspension by the board. It is unknown at this time what is included in the details or terms of this suspension memo. It is alleged that the Board of Directors for SAGE came to this decision last Saturday the 21st. Many questions and narratives surround the actions of the board of directors—specifically, why?
According to a current board member, the board is alleging that Ms. Gorman is mean. Heads are spinning when they hear that reason as being grounds for an escorted removal and want to know what really happened.
After the Observer spoke with board members and some past and present employees of SAGE, it was reported that two letters were written by two people and sent to the SAGE board of directors. It is not known at this time what the letters were specifically addressing but from the outcome and other sources, they did not like how they were being treated as employees. A board member explained that all of the SAGE employees were about to call it quits, just like a lot of other past employees of SAGE have done because of the same allegations—bad employee relations. The turnover at SAGE the past few years has been significant. Turnover is usually a big red flag for a long time underlying issue.
One employee stated: “Were employees being counseled on their performance to show the standards their position needed to meet?” “Were employees counseled when corrective action needed to be taken instead of simply letting the employee go because they drank out of the wrong coffee cup?”
This is not a SAGE problem, this is a ‘Jackie problem,’ according to a different source who is employed with SAGE. “She is the common denominator for all complaints from every person who has worked with her in the past year or two” stated a board member. Those who wrote the two letters, incited the board to, allegedly, line up police officers at the building to escort Ms. Gorman out. But was that really necessary?
The board knew of this decision Saturday yet could not call her or take her aside? No matter the personality, likes or dislikes, where was the human decency for an African-American woman who is CEO and yet does not have the opportunity to exit gracefully? That does not seem fair! Perhaps the board treated her that way because of the way others have alleged Ms. Gorman has treated them. Two wrongs do not make a right. We are disappointed in the actions and the way this board has represented SAGE.
SAGE is a major community organization that, no matter the personality conflicts or leadership issues, they have achieved and managed significant successes, not just attributed to the CEO, but to all who, in the past and present, have contributed to each milestone SAGE has reached. This dark cloud looming over SAGE’s head is unfortunate. We can only assume that past employee efforts and accomplishments will keep the organization moving forward for the good of the community. Despite the hostile work environment, Ms. Gorman was able to bring non-city funding sources of $3.5M into the community prior to this suspension. She was also able to increase the SAGE annual budget from $250k to $1.6M.
In a day and age where blacks need to come together, we are continuously in-fighting. Who got what contract? Who was given a grant? Who received that award? Those are the questions always being pumped through the black community’s pipes and it creates that in-fighting. Who received more? Who received less? The list goes on and on at what complaints you will hear out of the Black Business Community. There must be an end to the madness, but how do we manage to get out of the huge mess we now have.
We now have two highly respected organization’s boards running the whole entire show? Hard questions need to be asked. Is Eddie Kirby still sitting in a seat he completely destroyed as the Chair of the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce? Yes, he is but, WHY? The acting board chair of SAGE, Mr. Robert Melvin of Limitless Creations, Inc., (who did not return request for comment) reportedly signed off on the suspension memo, was on the premises for the exit of Ms. Gorman and directed her suspension. Why didn’t anyone know? Is he the shot caller? Is Eddie Kirby the shot caller? Where is the oversight? Where is the accountability for rogue Board Chairs?
The community is very concerned. The African American community was just slated to receive $181 Million dollars to the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce before its board turned upside down and showed they couldn’t handle it nor did they work to show they could handle it. They are all still sitting on their hands telling everyone not to say anything and to just pray and just keep moving forward and ‘we will show them,’ stated one Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce Board member. That is the mindset of the Black Chamber—very unsettling. Very god-like which is appalling.
These funds could have been managed by SAGE and can still be. It all starts with the by-laws. By-laws are the structure of any board and organization and at some point these boards have been given the power to wipe out any transition and leave gaping sink holes with knee-jerk decisions and actions. SAGE’s FOUR DRIVING PRINCIPLES ARE:
- Advocate for efficient, sustainable growth for San Antonio’s Eastside
- Advance small business development
- Maintain and promote the area’s history and culture
- Provide innovative, progressive solutions to Eastside challenges
Bexar County’s $181 Million Dollars, slated for Black Businesses (due to Black Businesses receiving only less than 1% of city spend in years past) could definitely be managed by SAGE. Having an honest fiscal steward of the money is the next step out of this madness.
Ivy Taylor wasn’t appealing to everyone because she did not insert herself into her own community so a lot of people go with the talk of the town because they have nothing else to go off of. Jackie Gorman isn’t appealing to all and also may not have inserted herself correctly into relationships. None of this takes away from the fact that these women are accomplished and intelligent. They may not be the perfect person for the ‘job’ but that does not mean we ostracize or drag them through the dirt. We have all been in places in our life where times change, and it calls for a change in direction of life. Not every piece of the puzzle will always fit at the right time. Yet, as minorities, as African Americans, we must continue to uplift one another, we cannot be jealous or show envy or greed. The world is watching and when they see previously marginalized communities come together it is a monumental moment, a beautiful one and a strong one. We have a lot of goodwill and potential in this community, and we need to support all the different types of magic each of us possess.
Don’t let personality conflicts ruin the community. We have bright people everywhere around us and if all of our community would work together and celebrate one another you would never see a story like this. Let’s hope the SAGE board provides us with a statement of closure, assure us of the continued success to come, and provide a fair determination for a leader—however flawed—who was a star in the community.
We will be updating this story next week or visit www.saobserver.com to see developments as they happen.
This story has been updated since 12:01 p.m. September 26, 2018