Notorious Chief Operations Officer ("COO") Beatrice Walker's career at Priority One Credit Union came to an abrupt and unexpected end of Friday, July 8, 2011. The woman whose incompetence and abusive treatment of employees overshadowed even those of President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr., found herself the target of the same unscrupulous tactics she once freely employed in targeting, abusing and terminating employees she believed were enemies of her imaginary kingdom. We will provide an account of Ms. Walker's final days at the sinking credit union towards the end of this month's post.
But first, we've received several emails inquiring if we had stopped permanently stopped posting on this blog. Though it's true that our last post was published in May 2011 but we decided to take a few weeks off to delve through much of the information we have to determine what will be published.
In late June, our seemingly long absence even prompted COO, Beatrice Walker, to declare that she finally succeeded in "shutting down the blog." It was of course, nothing more than wishful thinking on the presumptuous COO.
During June and July, Priority One continued to suffer setbacks as it struggled to garner new business. Not only did it fail to obtain the amount of new business needed to offset its overhead, account closures remained high.
And though the credit union has returned to the BLACK, the contemptuous environment created by President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. remains in turmoil. Nowadays, President Wiggington has transformed the working environment into one fueled by vicious gossip and backbiting all of which are contributing to the unraveling of the credit union's infrastructure. Despite internal decay, President Wiggington seems comfortable, reposing himself atop the rubble of what once was a credible and promising credit union. Here are just some of the setbacks experienced by the credit union since the month of May:
- Consumer loan funding continues to plummet.
- Real Estate Loan Funding of first-time mortgages slowed
- Some of the properties financed by the credit union were subject to foreclosures
Despite failures and losses, over the past three weeks, AVP, Sylvia Perez, who oversees Region III, declared that business is “great” and “things are good”. Obviously, she doesn't know how to read the credit union's Monthly Income Statement/Balance Sheets or it's quarterly Financial Performance Reports.
What Priority One has proven over the past year is that it is no one's "financial fitness center" nor does it possess the ability to help members and employees "win with money." All the President can do is continue to mutter statements about non-existent success hoping that someone will buy into his spiel.
Will Priority One Credit Union ever escape the quagmire of losses and scandals it was thrust into by Charles R. Wiggington, Sr.?
Following publication of our last post, Priority One received notice of a second lawsuit filed against it by yet another former employee. Like the lawsuit filed by former Burbank Branch Manager, Linda Nisely, the newest lawsuit alleges wrongful termination. That's the second lawsuit filed since October 2010.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the President has been unable to suppress his need to verbalize whatever it is that comes to mind and recently declared that he is innocent of all wrong doing and described the Plaintiffs as "disgruntled employees" who are trying to "extort money from the credit union." Well, if the lawsuits are frivolous and unfounded then he's got nothing to worry about. So if he hasn't done anything wrong, then why would he find it necessary to publicly proclaim his innocence?
The filings by two former employees are a new phenomena at Priority One that followed the appointment of Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. to President. Of course, prior to his appointment no other President of the credit union had ever been found guilty of sexual harassment.
But even news of the second lawsuit was overshadowed by news that notorious and ineffective COO, Beatrice Walker, had been terminated after 5 p.m. on Friday, July 8, 2011.
The woman who earned the reputation for ruthlessness, lying, and for violating credit union policies and state and federal laws was stunned to learn that the Board of Directors had authorized her termination.
Ms. Walker was employed by Priority One for slightly more than two (2) years. During her brief stay she became known for her ruthless and underhanded tactics and her obsession with slander, gossip, and executing vendettas against those who unknowingly crossed her sensibilities. She, like President Wiggington, was obsessed by an invisible group of non-existent rebels who she believed were out to overthrow the credit union. Her behaviors and proclivities were as egregious and destructive as those of President Wiggington. And though she had earned an MBA while attending the University of La Verne there was nothing in her performance to attest to her education. In the end, she was just as disruptive and just as ineffective as is the President and clearly, she did not possess the abilities to formulate resolutions for the destructive caused by the President's chronic business blunders.
Beatrice Walker has left Priority One a weaker, poorer, and less effective credit union. During her infrequent moments of lucidity, she declared, “Charles [Wiggington] is not qualified to be a CEO”, “Rodger [Smock] is overpaid and useless and needs to go”, and “This is a ghetto credit union.”
Her judgmental and condemning statements were overshadowed by the fact she wasn't an astute strategist and failed time and time again, to introduce anything that produced profit, generated growth and increased membership. Her greatest disability was her lack of emotional control which fueled her frequent need to exact vengeance against people she imagined were her enemies. We can confidently state, she will not be missed.
Beatrice Walker was setup for failure by both President Wiggington and the Board of Directors. Before her arrival, the President told her he needed a COO who would help him banish enemy employees who were trying to thwart his efforts to create a bigger, stronger, and better credit union. His assertions were lies fabricated by a man who has no control over his emotions.
The fact is, this blog came into existence on January 13, 2009. Prior to it's inception, the President began slandering employees who he later terminated. He wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on failed projects. He was found guilty of sexually harassing a former employee. He borrowed $20 million from the credit union's line-of-credit. Obviously, it is Charles R. Wiggington., Sr. who is the author of the cycle of unending decay which has buffeted Priority One over the past four years.
The President found an easy pawn in Ms. Walker who was easily duped into believing that an invisible and non-existent enemy threated the President's authority. So the President and his patron, Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, hired Ms. Walker and over the next 25 months paid her an annual salary of appropriately $100,000.
On June 2, 2009, Rodger Smock issued a memorandum to all employees announcing the hiring of Ms. Walker and proclaiming her keen expertise in operations including marketing and business development. Evidently, Mr. Smock's assessment was an exaggeration. What's more, neither Human Resources or the Board of Directors conducted a background check of Ms. Walker's past employment. If they had, they would have discovered that she had been terminated by more than one prior employer.
Following Ms. Walker’s termination, President Wiggington and Rodger Smock, began telling some employees of the South Pasadena office that “more changes are coming.” Since Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. began his appointment to President on January 1, 2007, he has periodically talked about impending changes yet to date, none of his proclamations have materialized. The most notable change to occur under President Wiggington is the element of chaos and internal strife. Additionally, under President Wiggington, the credit union is now addictively reliant upon expense reductions as key to its survival.
THE 2010 ANNUAL REPORT
The 2010 Annual Report was first distributed during this year's annual meeting conducted at the credit union's main branch in South Pasadena, California. The report is titled, "A Brighter Tomorrow." This year the meeting last forty (40) minutes and officer messages all expressed hope that the credit would persevere in 2011.
Unlike the meeting conducted in May 2010, this year's attendees were employees, Directors, Supervisors and executives of the credit union. There were also no praises from Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, poured upon COO, Beatrice Walker or Loan Manager, Joseph Garcia. Just one year ago, the always obtuse Mrs. Harris-Brooks proclaimed “We (the board) have decided, we have the right management team in place” and at the time could not refrain from complimenting Ms. Walker's efforts to restore the credit union's financial positioning and Joseph Garcia who she said had “improved the working environment” and “for the changes he’s making to improve our business.” What a difference a year makes.
Attendees were also spared another long, drawn out, boring and empty address written by Training and Education Manager, Robert West, expounding to the point of ad nauseum, how Priority One is allegedly different from every other credit union in the Milky Way.
So what happened between May 2010 and May 2011 that brought an abrupt end to Mrs. Harris-Brooks' excessive flatteries of Ms. Walker and Mr. Garcia?
The 2010 Annual Report could be described as unpretentious and uninformative. The usual annual formula is again employed by the credit union's officers to try and paint a hopeful picture of the credit union's future which reduces statement to just another sham public relations move that ignores the vast amount of evidence proving faltering business and instead, points to a more positive and successful future.
THE BOARD CHAIRPERSON
The credit union's Monthly Income Statements and quarterly Financial Performance Reports reveal ongoing failures and depict a credit union struggling to generate sufficient profit to offset it's above-average overhead and relying on expense reductions as ma means by which to maintain high net capital.
The President and Board Chair state, “Through hard times, good times and this staggering economy we continue our commitment as “your financial fitness center” for “A Brighter Tomorrow.” The credit union ended 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the negative, hardly what you'd expect from a credit union that touts itself as a "financial fitness center."
In retrospect, it is evident that in May 2011, it had probably already been decided that Ms. Walker's employment would be terminated in the forthcoming future. This after paying her more than $100,000 a year. Despite the imprudent decision to hire her, the President and Mrs. Harris-Brooks blame to "staggering economy." We assume they're referring to the national economy and not Priority One's financial performance.
And though the national economy has impacted businesses throughout the United States, in some cases resulting in closure and in others, down-sizing, some businesses have actually thrived and grown because of the caliber of their leaders. In March 2010, the President stated, “all credit unions are losing money” a statement which was untrue and another childish ploy by the President to escape accountability for his failures.
ARE THEY SAFE?
In their address, the Chairperson and President state that they are trying “To maintain a safe and sound credit union, we increased our efforts with reducing operating expenses.”
In late 2009, an audit of the Los Angeles branch's records revealed that a former receptionist had embezzled more than $60,000 from member accounts. The credit union discovered what would turn out to be a series of thefts only after a member complained that money had been withdrawn from her CD.
The reducing of operating expenses has only impacted the salaries and benefits of non-exempt employees. In 2009, the President implemented a wage-freeze on salaries of only non-exempt personnel. The freeze remains in place to this date.
The President, the COO, the CFO, and AVP's have continued receiving annual raises so the so-called cost-cutting efforts have had absolutely no impact on their lives.
So are these examples of how the President and Mrs. Harris-Brooks are working to maintain a safe and sound credit union?
The President and the Board Chair state that during the first quarter of 2011, Priority One “introduced our new telephone audio response system, “MILLIE” for the purpose of adding convenience. As is typical, the two officers intentionally fail to mention that MILLIE was purchased and implemented at the request of COO, Beatrice Walker. Shortly following her arrival on June 1, 2009, Ms. Walker informed the Board that she could resolve the credit union's member service related issues by installing a state-of-the-art call center.
And so, $70,000 were spent creating a custom call center which not only failed to resolve the credit union's service-related problems but actually exacerbated these. In late 2010, Ms. Walker, despite her growing list of failures, easily convinced the President and Board Chair that MILLIE would resolve ALL member service related issues.
However, another reason she selected MILLIE is that members who refused to utilize the options offered by the program and opted instead to obtain assistance from call center representatives, would be charged service fees. Amongst the new fees introduced by Ms. Walker was charging $5.00 to every member who requests to transfer money between their credit union accounts. In other words, if members want to speak to a live representative, they will have to pay for it. So is this another example of how Priority One serves as a member's "financial fitness center?
The President and Board Chair conclude by extending an invitation for suggestions on how the organization can improve service and it's operations. Please note they omit the name of a person or address suggestions can be mailed to.
In past posts we've revealed that correspondence from members to the Board is delivered to the main branch in South Pasadena. All mail is intercepted by the President, who decides what mail will find its way to Mrs. Harris-Brooks and which will be discarded. In late 2009, then COO, Beatrice Walker, boasted that mailed sent to the attention of the Board is always intercepted by either the President; AVP, Rodger Smock; or herself. If anyone of you wish to write to a Board Member, contact us and we will provide you with addresses that the President can't intercept.
We've actually grown weary of Supervisory Chairperson Cornelia Simmons' annual dull and misleading addresses which deliver the same old empty, hollow message. She seems oblivious to financial losses and thefts impacting the credit union and never alludes to the subject of the credit union's immense annual spending on "legal". Does Ms. Simmons use the same old template year after year to compose her address?
According to Ms. Simmons, she and the Supervisory Committee reviewed the Board's performance and concluded that it adhered to state and federal laws and credit union bylaws. Ms. Simmons is one of four officers who in 2008, voted for the reinstatement of Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. even after evidence was presented by an investigator proving the President sexually harassed a former employee. We doubt Ms. Simmons is able to differentiate between adhering to and violating state and federal laws and credit union bylaws.
Along with the President's reinstatement there is the matter of more than $60,000 embezzled from the Los Angeles branch in 2009, fraudulent financial reporting by the President and the filing of lawsuits by two former employees. Is Ms. Simmons asleep? Ms. Simmons' report brings into question her competency as the Supervisory Chair. If she's going to lie, then we suggest she work harder at sharpening her deceptive tactics.
The report from the Board's Treasurer, Joe Marchica, is actually the more perplexing of the three reports. Mr. Marchica starts by stating that the credit union “began the preceding fiscal year with a firm commitment to improve operational efficiencies and a renewed determination to lower operating costs across the board". If Mr. Marchica is being truthful then the "firm commitment" failed to hit it's mark. Monthly Income Statements and quarterly Financial Performance Reports serve to prove that in 2010, Priority One made little headway in trying to resolve its financial problems. Not only did the President implement expense reductions that primarily impact employees and members but he and the former COO, squandered hundreds of dollars on implementing new but failed products, on remodeling two branches, building a call center, and on hiring expensive consultants. Subsequently, Mr. Marchica's report is completely unreliable and inaccurate.
Mr. Marchica continues, stating, "We are happy to report that through continued efforts, we are experiencing double digit drop in operating expenses.” The alleged "double digit drop:" in operating expenses comes at a cost to employee salaries and services to members.
The Treasurer also states that “charged-off loans SEEM to have stabilized.” So have they stabilized or only SEEM to have stabilized?
Mr. Marchica concludes by stating, “We forecast incomes from all sources to exceed combined expenses” So what is the actual basis used to determine his “forecast”?
Mr. Marchica's anticipated improvement has to be based on something tangible. When making financial projections, there must be some documented basis for arriving at a conclusion. Nothing, in Mr. Marchica’s address proves the CERTAINTY of his assertions.
GOOD THINGS COME IN PAIRS
Accusations that Priority One violated federal laws are nowadays, unsurprising, at least not since 2008 when the President was found guilty of having sexually harassed a former employee.
In our last post, we wrote about how former COO, Beatrice Walker, boasted about her plans to terminate Burbank Branch Manager, Linda Nisely, and that she planned on waiting six months before hiring Mrs. Nisely's replacement. According to Ms. Walker, California state law protects a company that lays off an employee if they wait six-months before hiring a new employee to replace them.
In the second lawsuit filed by another former employee, the credit union is accused of violating several federal laws while the President allegedly entered into a smear campaign designed to impugn the employee's reputation.
THE SECOND LAWSUIT
The second lawsuit, filed this past June by a former Business Development Representative who also composed several the the credit union’s policies and procedures. The former employee
alleges that in 2010, he was informed by the President and a forensics investigator that he was being terminated because:
- He downloaded pornographic images of males using his company assigned PC
- Because he sexually harassing co-workers; and
- Because he was either the blogger, a blogger or a confederate of the blogger/bloggers
Early on the morning of June 1, 2010, the employee received a call from Human Resources "clerk", Esmeralda Sandoval, advising him to come to the main branch in South Pasadena for "a Human Resources matter."
Upon his arrival in South Pasadena, Ms. Sandoval asked him to wait while she conferred with Rodger Smock. The employee sat down and watched as Miss Sandoval entered Mr. Smock's office. Several seconds later, Miss Sandoval returned and asked that the employee continue to wait until Mr. Smock concluded an "urgent telephone call."
After about ten minutes, Miss Sandoval left the room and returned shortly afterwards and asked the employee to follow her to President Wiggington's office. Arriving at the office, Miss Sandoval knocked on the door which the President answered. The President asked the employee to sit at the conference room table located inside his office. Standing near the table was an Asian man who the President merely introduced as a "forensics consultant."
What the President didn't know was that the employee had seen the Asian consultant at the South Pasadena branch several months earlier. The consultant had visited the branch often, never signing in at the reception desk like all other visitors. He had also left the branch in the company of both Miss Sandoval and Loan Manager, Joseph Garcia. At the time, Mr. Garcia confided to some employees that he and Miss Sandoval had been asked to provide statements to the forensics consultant about who they believed was the blogger, bloggers, and confederates of the blogger/bloggers.
Despite allegedly violating policies that justified termination, the President offered the employee a severance package with a promise that prospective employers calling for references would be provided an excellent record of the employee's work performance. However, if the employee refused to sign the severance package the credit union would in the President's words, "fight any request for unemployment" and "provide bad references." So if the employee downloaded pornography which is a violation of credit union policy including a misuse of company equipment, then why would he be offered a severance package?
And if the employee sexually harassed co-workers, which is a federal offense, then why would he be offered a severance package?
And why would the employee be terminated for downloading pornography and sexually harassing co-workers if the President and some of his male executives had been known through the years, to download pornography and in the case of the President, sexually harass a former female employee?
The plot to remove the employee was fabricated by COO Beatrice Walker, and President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. and sanctioned by Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks. The three not only spread unfounded rumors about the employee, they with the help of Rodger Smock, provided the forensics investigator with false statements needed to seal the employee's termination. According to Ms. Walker, the employee's termination would bring an immediate end to this blog. Obviously, it failed to do so.
- In 2009, the President and COO ordered the implementation of increased firewalls which impeded all employees except management from accessing adult web sites and this blog.
- To solidify their case against the employee, Miss Sandoval and Mr. Garcia voluntarily provided fraudulent statements to the forensics investigator which accused the employee of authoring this blog.
- COO,Beatrice Walker and President Wiggington ordered Randy McBride, the IT Manager, to produce fictitious emails allegedly written by the former employee and sent to this blog, using his company assigned PC.
So to achieve their ends, the President and his clan, resorted to the use of slander and intimidation with the assistance of Human Resources. These, by the way, are the usual tactics employed by the President when plotting to rid the credit union of personnel.
Beatrice Walker has been relegated to the archives by the same man she hoped to displace so that she could become President and CEO of the tattered credit union.
Her termination unlike those of most of the employees she victimized, was quiet, taking place at the end of the day on Friday, July 8, 2011. Though both she and the President denied ever having met before June 1, 2009, the date she was hired, they had actually known each other for a few years. She was introduced to the Board by the President, but the lazy and ignorant Directors never conducted a background check to confirm that Ms. Walker was as the President alleged, a master at business development, marketing, creating streams of income and Human Resources. It would have been impressive were any of his recommendations true.
In the weeks after starting her employment, Ms. Walker realized the President's many incompetencies. By late 2009, she had forged alliances with Joseph Garcia and Yvonne Boutte, both of who she promoted and who became a part of her inner sanctum. Mr. Garcia would soon reveal that Ms. Walker intended to become President and that he and Mrs. Boutte would be appointed Vice Presidents. According to Mr. Garcia and Mrs. Boutte, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. lack professional acumen and was clearly, not what any company should desire in a President.
Ms. Walker also quickly endeared herself to Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, and in due time, found that the Board Chair was easily manipulated by promises that success was forthcoming and the credit union would soon be rebounding from the failures caused by President Wiggington.
However, like the President, Ms. Walker's promises proved to be pure hyperbole and were rarely if ever realized. What's more, her emotional issues surfaced after she tried to force a friendship with the last Valencia Branch Manager. Her efforts were rejected and the scorned and aggressive COO, launched a scathing campaign designed to destroy the Branch Manager. Not only was her campaign ruthless, it was public and President Wiggington and AVP, Rodger Smock, were fully aware of it, yet neither chose to stop it.
The wily and dishonest President did manage to solicit a letter from the Branch Manager, promising he would bring an end to Ms. Walker's tirade, but he lied. The letter provided to him accused Ms. Walker of creating a hostile working environment, of slander, of ostracizing the Branch Manager from her peers and staff, same-sex sexual harassment, and stalking. Despite the gravity of the accusations, the President under director of Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, issued a letter informing the Branch Manager that the issues she reported amounted to nothing more than a "personality conflict." It was absurd but it is the same tactic used by Mrs. Harris-Brooks in 2008 when she invalidated accusations that the President sexually harassed a former employee to nothing more than a humorous, sexualized exchange encouraged by the President's victim. To accuse Diedra Harris-Brooks of merely being corrupt is a huge understatement.
In May 2010., Beatrice Walker described the "Mexican" employees of the credit union as "members of the Mexican Mafia." According to Priority One policy, racial slurs are sufficient to warrant termination but the BLACK Board and President chose not to enforce credit union policy.
As for Ms. Walker's ouster, it proves that in life all friendships like the one between her and the President, do indeed come with a shelf life.
Beatrice Walker is a woman who loved indulging in gossip and plots. We think that successfully launching plots that maimed employee reputations fed into her belief that she is a superior strategist and can target and decimate any employee who in her mind, intends to overthrow her administration.
During the week of July 4th, Ms. Walker took a few days off to rest before returning. During her absence, the President met with AVP, Rodger Smock, and Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, to discuss how to rid the credit union of Ms. Walker who had become an embarrassment. Yes, it was pure hypocrisy but the three officers have proven time and time again that they are incapable of perceiving what they are.
It was decided that she had been insubordinate, refusing to adhere to the Board's directive that before implementing campaigns, new services and new products or issuing memorandums and notices, she must first present these to either the President or Mr. Smock. According to the President, Ms. Walker approved several letters that were mailed to members without ever conferring with either him or Mr. Smock. In recent months, Ms. Walker was involved in several personal projects which included amending the language in the Junior aka Youth account application. At the time she was terminated, she had drafted and approved changes without consulting the President, Mr. Smock, the credit union's Compliance Officer, or the credit union's legal counsel.
Mrs. Harris-Brooks, President Wiggington and AVP, Rodger Smock had also recently discovered that Ms. Walker had told employees in South Pasadena that the Directors were ALL ignorant and uneducated and that both the President and Mr. Smock were unqualified to give her orders.
Of course, one can't but wonder how Ms. Walker was targeted for termination while the President who is a proven sexual harasser and who has caused the credit union losses amassing in the millions of dollars, remains employed. So the mostly Black Directors decided that Ms. Walker who is White, would be terminated.
Though not discussed during the meeting, over recent months, the Directors had become concerned about Ms. Walker's sexuality. Because it would have been illegal to terminate her her on the grounds of sexual preference, they knew they could not cite this as a reason for her planned expulsion. They also chose not to discuss their concerns with Mr. Smock who is openly gay.
The incident which provoked her termination was her refusal to adhere to the Board's directives. Ms. Walker made no secret of her disrespect or disdain for a Board who she viewed as intellectually inferior. Unfortunately, for the arrogant COO, she never thought or didn't care, that her verbalizations would be reported to the President. After all, the environment created by President Wiggington is a hotbed of gossip, intrigue and backstabbing.
So Ms. Walker returned to work on the morning of July 8, 2011, and later that day, shortly after 5 p.m., she was informed that it had been decided to terminate her employment
On Monday, July 11, 2011, a notice was posted on the Intranet, advising employees that Ms. Walker was no longer employed by the credit union. The staff at the Burbank branch cheered and AVP, Sylvia Perez, exclaimed that "there is something wrong with that woman." Look who's talking. Her departure brought a sense of relief but expect any joy over her ouster to dissipate quickly. After all, Priority One is nowadays a miserable place to work for and the President's gift is destroying business and the working environment.
ALMOST NOT BUT NOT QUITE
Though Ms. Walker’s termination could be viewed as brutal, it was no less ruthless than what she subjected many employees to.
On her final day of employment, she was not allowed to clean out her desk and only left with her purse in hand. Over the next few days, her personal possessions were packed in boxes by AVP, Gema Pleitez, and mailed to Ms. Walker’s home in Sylmar.
During her brief employment she almost succeeded in toppling the President and sealing the terminations of aged AVP, Rodger Smock, and Training and Education Manager, Robert West.
We've discovered more information about Ms. Walker which the Board could have found if they'd chosen not to be slothful.
"Honesty and openness are undervalued." These were qualities Ms. Walker doesn't possess. Last week Ms. Walker was contacted by Director of Project Management, Yvonne Boutte, who told some staff members that the former COO is seeking new employment but said, "it's a tough time for executives." It's actually a tough time for anyone who is unemployed. Ask the many employees of the credit union who Ms. Walker victimized and slandered.
THE BODY ISN'T EVEN COLD
On Tuesday, July 12th, Director of Project Management, Yvonne Boutte, told employees in the Credit Resolutions Department that she hoped she would be named the next COO.
Mrs. Boutte is as unqualified to serve as COO as was Ms. Walker. Like the President and Ms. Walker, Mrs. Boutte thrives on conflict and she possesses a chronic need to constantly expound about her alleged competencies. She like many of the officers of the credit union are immersed in a need to create impressions of success rather than actually exerting the time and effort needed to achieve success.
In late 2009, Mrs. Boutte allied herself with Beatrice Walker believing that Ms. Walker might soon replace Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. as President. Ms. Walker's staff are well aware that she has moved up the ranks at the credit union as a result of pandering to Ms. Walker. They also know that she doesn't like President Wiggington who she often described as "too talkative" and "wasting my time.":
In 2008, the President chose to create an in-house collections department and as a result, hired Mrs. Boutte. Shortly after the former contracted collection agent vacated its office in the South Pasadena branch, Mrs. Walker recruited four employees who she previously worked with at another credit union. One of her new staff was Saundra Whitt who described herself as a close and trusted friend of Mrs. Boutte.
Since the start of 2011, their long-time friendship has grown noticeably strained and Mrs. Whitt who has never said anything negative about her friend and supervisor has recently described Mrs. Boutte as "arrogant" and "abusive." She is actually correct.
Having grown weary of Mrs. Boutte, Ms. Whitt provided the company with a two-week resignation notice, but Mrs. Boutte asked her to leave the day before her intended final date of employment. Evidently, their friendship had ended.
Following Mrs. Whitt's departure, Mrs. Boutte explained loudly in the presence of employees of the Credit Resolutions Department and Call Center that Mrs. Whitt had "bad energy" and that she was glad to see her go and added that she believed that if Mrs. Whitt had not resigned, she probably would have had to terminate her at sometime in the very near future.
The incident attests to Mrs. Boutte's abherrent character. She demonstrated that she has no regard for confidentiality. She chose to openly disparage her former friend. And for some reason, she felt it appropriate to discuss her relationship with Mrs. Whitt in the presence of other employees.
Since her arrival in 2008, Mrs. Boutte's so-called friendships and alliances all end and very publicly. Like her former relationship with Mrs. Whitt, Mrs. Boutte's relationships with former COO, Beatrice Walker, and Consumer Loan Manager, Joseph Garcia, ended publicly. Inarguably, Mrs. Boutte seems blind to her own "bad energy."
“THE BLOG IS THE DEVIL”
- Sylvia Perez, AVP, 2008 -
In terms of character and competencies, Sylvia Perez is not what you'd ever want in a manager unless what you seek is a person who is caustic and a deterrent to sound morale. Still, in 2008 President Wiggington said "I wish all employees were like Sylvia." Of course, this is the same President who was found guilty of sexual harassment in 2008.
We can't dispute, Mrs. Perez is loyal to the credit union. Her loyalty is obsessive and disturbing. Earlier this year she was hospitalized and according to Mrs. Perez who loves to expound on her virtues, while recuperating, she distributed new membership applications to hospital workers. We can't but wonder how many took the time to complete the applications and return them to the credit union.
However, her demeanor may not be what you would want in a so-called executive. She is abrasive, obnoxious, condescending, and annoying to both her staff and peers. She is devoid of all people skills or empathy. In 2010, her multitude of daily telephone calls to the main branch prompted the COO, Beatrice Walker to exclaim that Mrs. Perez is “unreasonably demanding”, ”annoying”, and “calls and calls and calls.” Of course, Ms. Walker was being more than a little hypocritical because in many ways, Sylvia is not so different from the former COO. Like Ms. Walker, Mrs. Perez has created a terrible reputation for herself and like Ms. Walker, is shunned by employees, representatives of the Burbank Chamber, and members who are employed by the United States Postal Service. She lacks the expertise, intelligence, and education that is required of all AVP's.
Mrs. Perez is also one of our most avid and vocal critics describing this blog as "the Devil" and often exclaiming that she knows who "the blogger is." In fact, she recently disclosed that President Wiggington confided to her and told her the blogger is a former Business De Development Representative and policy writer. May we suggest someone, anyone, sue her for defamation.
Last week, President Wiggington confided that he was called by Mrs. Perez who offered to take over some of the responsibilities previously performed by Beatrice Walker. Is Mrs. Perez vying for a promotion?
Mrs. Perez was completely unqualified to serve in the capacity of an AVP, yet in October 2006, then Vice President of Operations, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. selected her for promotion to AVP which would become effective on January 1, 2007, the date he officially would begin what would prove his disastrous appointment to President. It is also highly unlikely the credit union can afford to replace Beatrice Walker with another officer who is paid more than $100,000 per year. In comparison to Mrs. Perez, Mrs. Boutte might actually be the lesser of two evils. We have no doubt that Ms. Perez’s efforts to possibly clinch the COO post, will be easily squashed by the cranially superior and more driven, Ms. Boutte, who may do whatever it takes to decimate any of Ms. Perez’s efforts.
Mrs. Walker was a woman who committed heinous acts and failed in fulfilling her assigned responsibilities. She also succeeded for a brief period in time, in manipulating the Board of Directors who in late 2009, granted her carte Blanche' and even ordered the President to refrain from interfering with her plans which the Board believed would return the credit union to the state of prosperity enjoyed in the years before Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. was appointed President. They were wrong.
Ms. Walker's arrival was orchestrated by the chronically incompetent President but soon after her arrival at the credit union, she realized that the President lacked the refinement, finesse and competency needed to lead the credit union and so, she began a campaign to prove she was more qualified than him so that he could be removed and she, be given his position. The problem was, she proved to be as incompetent as the President.
In 2009, AVP, Rodger Smock, boasted that she was going to create new lucrative streams of income. He proclaimed that she was an expert in business and loan development and knowledgeable about marketing. He was wrong.
In May 2010, the dull Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks, praised Ms. Walker for her efforts which were succeeding to reverse the credit union's financial problems and she thanked Consumer Loan Officer, Joseph Garcia, for his wonderful ability to ameliorate employee morale issues. Mrs. Harris-Brooks was not only wrong but a little more than a year later, would order Ms. Walker's termination.
Ms. Walker was a symptom of what is wrong at Priority One but she is not the cause of the credit union's woes. The causes to the credit union's unending issues are President Wiggington and Board Chair, Diedra Harris-Brooks. They hired Ms. Walker and they authorized paying her more than $100,000 per year. They each gave her free reign so that she could drive out the President's imaginary enemies but they never expected Ms. Walker to turn against them or to malign them publicly.
What's more, Ms. Walker's abuses were further enabled by AVP, Rodger Smock, who over the years violates the very polices he's been appointed to oversee and enforce.
Ms. Walker also indulged in excessive spending, wasting money on a failed call center and on remodeling which she promised would increase membership and new business. She was wrong.
Ms. Walker was the President and Board Chair's monster and her failures were allowed by the two inefficient officers. Ms. Walker's departure will not serve to reverse the credit union's business or internal issues. The credit union will continue to deteriorate and the President and Board Chair will continue wasting vast sums of credit union monies. It's just who they are.