HOPE Works Director Resigns One Week After Entire Staff Quit | Off Message

HOPE Works Director Resigns One Week After Entire Staff Quit


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Cathleen Barkley announced Friday that she'll resign as the executive director of HOPE Works, a Burlington nonprofit that supports victims of sexual violence. The decision came one week after Barkley's entire staff quit in protest of her leadership.

The organization, which announced the decision in a press release, said the board had hired four interim employees who will stay on for 90 days.

In mid-December, the organization's eight staff members issued a 39-page list of grievances and ultimately went on a three-week strike before resigning en masse on January 4. One of their demands was the removal of Barkley.

The same week, Barkley went on administrative leave. The board of directors has hired Susan Leonard as interim executive director. She'll stay on until a permanent replacement is hired. Barkley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The organization has kept the doors open using trained volunteers, according to a statement by board cochair Jason Tiballi. The group has served 50 survivors since December 15, he said.
"We recognize that the impact on the community, especially to the
survivors the organization provides ongoing services to, has been strained," he said in the release. "Our focus is on restoring all services HOPE Works offers."

Barkley, who has worked at HOPE Works since 2002, will remain at the organization to provide training for Leonard and other new employees, according to the statement.

Speaking of HOPE Works, Cathleen Barkley