The senior center was again at the forefront at a board of county commissioners meeting Tuesday, when a bevy of seniors spoke about the center’s director during the meeting’s first public comment section.
Many of the comments dealt with a situation reported previously in The SUN where Ed Bennett received a letter from county staff after he told center Director Mussetta Wollenweber to, “bite me.”
Since that time, a number of seniors who attend the center have purchased shirts with the phrase on them (the shirts referring to fishing, with a fly fishing lure on them).
Beverly Arrendell referred to the shirt during her public comment on the matter, noting that Wollenweber has uttered the same phrase many times and calling the letter received by Bennett a “mockery” with vile language that made it difficult to respect those in authority who OK’d the letter.
Lymon Allen noted the indistinct meaning of the phrase in question, with the phrase uttered on TV shows, with various meanings. He then added that county staff found the worst possible meaning of the phrase, calling Bennett a, “decent, honest and fine man.”
Maureen Monroe, too, stated that Bennett was a “fine man” and said she found the letter disgusting.
“I think you should apologize to him,” Monroe said.
Dave Pettus, like many of the others, urged the county to correct its “mistake,” siding with several calling for the letter to be expunged.
Ed Bennett then spoke on his own behalf, offering clarification of the incident, during which he said that Wollenweber berated and harassed him.
When Bennett claimed the phrase was dirty not in his mind, but in the mind of those who drafted the letter, Commissioner Clifford Lucero stated that he wouldn’t stand for derogatory comments being directed toward county staff.
Bennett urged the county to either expunge or retract the letter, or prosecute for the incident, with Lucero responding that the county attorney would advise the board on the matter.
“That means ‘no,’ and you will hear from me again,” Bennett said.
Before the issue was laid to rest at the meeting, Cecilia Hopper said she, too, was harassed by Wollenweber when taking an emergency call in the center.
“We, the seniors, don’t care for Mussetta,” Hopper said before vowing to not return to the center.
Following the public comment session, Bennett urged those in attendance for his issue to leave.
In other news relating to senior issues, the board awarded a contract to replace the roof at the Casa de los Arcos facility to Durango Roofing Company.
The contract was awarded after two iterations of a request for bid to replace the roof with $125,000 in grant money awarded to Archuleta County by the state.
The first quest for bids ended with one bid received in an amount over that budgeted.
When the state declined to give more money to the project, a request for bids was reissued with a slightly different scope of work.
That request, Jodi Starr, housing director, said, garnered five bids, two of which were acceptable and one of which fell within budget.
Engineering firm Reynolds and Associates looked at the bids to determine that materials used were sufficient, Starr indicated.
The winning bid is in the amount of $123,733.