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Red Cross cuts duties for local chapter
August 25, 2011 Jerry Purvis   
Although the Greater Nebraska Chapter of the American Red Cross is retaining its chapter status, its organizational structure will be more like a service center.

The local chapter had learned earlier this year the American Red Cross would downgrade its chapter status to service center with oversight from the Grand Island Chapter.

The local agency then asked to be able to retain its chapter status and also to govern locally.
Rick Tuggle, board president of the local chapter, said a letter from the divisional vice president informed them the chapter status would remain unchanged.

“We found out after additional questioning that the staff structure would still be reporting to the Grand Island chapter,” he said. “That didn’t sit well with the board in general or with me. All the action is with the executive director because that’s where the decisions are made. We’re unhappy with having no local authority.”

Tuggle added the loss of local control is what most concerns the board. Even though the local agency retains the name of chapter, it’s in name only.

According to Jann Rouzee, executive director of the Greater Nebraska Chapter of the American Red Cross, the new organizational structure shows her as a service center manager under the control of the Grand Island Chapter CEO. And all requests for services like CPR classes and babysitter training are now being administered out of regional headquarters in Omaha.

The Grand Island community executive will be in Scottsbluff on Monday for a 4 p.m. meeting with the local board. Tuggle said although the American Red Cross allowed the local agency to retain its chapter status, he doesn’t think they’ll change their minds about the organizational structure.

“I totally support the Red Cross and its mission,” Tuggle said. “We’re there for the family that loses their house to a fire in the middle of the night. And we’re there to train for CPR and for lifeguards. “That’s what the Red Cross is for. My opinion is the model that works best is neighbor helping neighbor.”

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