Is Getting Rid of Glenn a Wise Decision?

Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988-91)

As a member of the selection committee that originally picked Glenn to be President of NPCA, I was shocked to learn that the current Board has dismissed him as head of the organization. When Glenn took over the organization it was in financial trouble and had lost the respect of many RPCVs. Glenn rebuilt NPCA, recruited competent staff and gained the respect of the Peace Corps Directors and their staffs. He made a point of visiting regional RPCV groups to gain support for NPCA programs. As a former member of the Board I was personally aware of his many invaluable contributions. Why was he fired in a message which suggested a coup d’etat? And it raises questions about the guy who engineered Glenn’s termination and then made himself Interim President. Until the current Board comes up with a satisfactory explanation I will no longer support an organization I once respected. And if there is no satisfactory explanation, I demand that Glenn be restored by the Board to his position immediately.

Harlan Green says:

I also would like an explanation as to what exactly were the charges against, specifically, who had been harmed, and who made the accusations? Until that happens I will also discontinue my support of the NPCA! Because it was done in secret, I suspect there are some on the board with something to hide?? Among his unique contributions, Glenn was instrumental in bringng Peace Corps and Rotary International together in organizations such as the affiliate PARTNERING FOR PEACE, of which I was an original board member. I have never known Glenn to be anything but a caring individual and don’t find accusations of “unlawful sex discrimination” at all credible, and board members who conspired to oust him should be voted out.

Harlan Green, Turkey V (1964-66)

Comment: As Co-Founder and (forever) Member of NPCA, RPCV/W (formerly AAAGWA), Friends of Nigeria, and Shriver Circle, plus current member of them + NorCal PCA, I am familiar with allegations against Glenn Blumhorst and–based on my personal interactions with some involved–I am quite saddened to learn that Glenn has become the victim of the Board’s dismissal. And for this to happen when NPCA is moving into its new HQs on Capitol Hill—WOW! Not good! It’s a sad day/month/year/etc. in the RPCV and PC world!
Posted by: Karen J Keefer (Nigeria 1966-68)

Comment: Glenn Blumhorst did not retire, nor did he resign as President & CEO. Glenn’s employment was terminated by the board without prior notice and without cause. He was offered severance pay of only 3 months, an amount that is grossly inadequate for an executive who has strengthened and built the organization over a nine-year period, through tireless effort and dedication. Fifteen individuals who are active Shriver Circle donors and have a long association with the NPCA sent a letter to the board, prior to Friday afternoon’s announcement, with a proposal to remedy this situation. We have not received a response. Twenty more individuals have now signed on to this letter. If you wish to join us, please email me: tonybarc@gmail.com. Tony Barclay, Kenya 1968-70, NPCA Board Chair, 2011-15
Posted by: Tony Barclay

15 Comments

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  • I have met Glenn only once in person here in Northern California at a delightful gathering. And hie work record sounds remarkable if all that is being said by his supporters is true. As a woman who has witnessed similar scenarios where accusers become the “problem “ rather than the perpetrator i would hope the board would be more open or an accuser come forward so we know the truth rather than second guessing. Did the board do a thorough investigation or is this a knee jerk reaction to something?

  • When President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Adlai Stevenson and many other well intentioned people jumped to the conclusion the President had been murdered by right wing Texans. That assumption subsequently proved to be false.
    There are two sides to every story

    Making demands and threats while impugning Board members without first being provided with the basis for the Board’s actions, is destroying NPCA, something all of us have a strong interest in avoiding. I suggest everyone cool their rhetoric and wait for further clarification from the Board.

    In the interests of full disclosure, my wife is an elected member of the Board.

    • When the Board of Directors of an organization announces the departure of its long time CEO, one expects an explanation of the reasons for the action. Yet The Board’s announcement of Glen’s departure is truly the most anodyne and uninformative notice possible. It only lacked phrases like “good luck in his future endeavors” and “spending more time with his family” to make it classic Washington non-speak. So a plea to cool our rhetoric is until further clarification only adds to the puzzlement. The fact is that Glen was fired at the instigation of newly elected Board members who accepted as true charges against Glen which had been previously aired and investigated and found unsubstantiated. Charges which were not mentioned in the Board’s notice of dismissal. These new board members did not run for election on a program to replace Glen and begin a new chapter of NPCA history. Long time members of this organization had no notice, much less a say, in the serious matter of dismissing Glen, a leader who had rescued our floundering organization and built it into a substantial voice in the Peace Corps community. Those of us with long experience in the developing world recognize a coup when we see one, especially one as clumsily managed as the one the NPCA Board mounted. There is a growing movement demanding that Glen be restored to his rightful position. I support this effort.

    • Hi, Marty. FYI–I have met the individuals involved, as they each took it upon themselves to take time off their work to volunteer to show me around NPCA’s new HQ, when I visited last year. I wondered why they offered to do so, when I was basically there to meet with Glenn. I’m appalled that these women are making such allegations against Glenn—although I see it as a reprisal for perhaps a less than exemplary performance appraisal….I trust the full Board to do what is right and keep Glenn, who has done a great job during his tenure. Please give my best to Evelyn!

    • Thank you, Marty. The problem is that the Board chose not to sign any statement when Glenn left. The June 17th statement reads like a press release. It is not signed. There is no explanation from the Board ot the acting Director about what happened between the May 22nd letter signed by the then President of the Board of Directors and the June 17th “announcement” unsigned and released late on a Friday afternoon of a three day weekend.

      Personnel decisions are, I believe, confidential and so there is little the Board can say, I would hope.
      There are, of course, rumors abound about what happened and I think that is awful. It is not fair to Glenn. I would hope he has legal advice and would comment depending on that advice.

      There is a comment section on the NPCA website, There have been almost fifty comments, so far. Almost all supporting Glenn and raising questions about the Board’s actions. As the comments, here, has been supportive of Glenn. If a Board member is uncomfortable with criticisim, then they should resign.

  • My recollection of NPCA prior to Glen becoming President and Executive Director, was a group of people without direction and consumed by infighting.

    NPCA has grown into a credible dynamic organization with a purpose, a clear direction and fiscally sound.

    I favor extending Glen’s contract.
    Jim Wolter,
    Malaysia I, ’61 – ’66

  • Hmmm. Decency, gratitude, and idealism must characterize the PC and the NPCA. Otherwise, close ‘em down as only formerly relevant. Many boards do what is legal but unwise. Perhaps this board, apparently acting in secret and without notice to Glenn, was exceedingly unwise. Great thanks to Glenn for ably leading this raucous crowd.

    Will Newman
    Nepal, 1963-65

  • I don’t know the individuals or the situation, but I did work for a national trade association in D.C. for 15 years. You appoint/hire a Board of Directors based on their credentials and ability to make wise and informed decisions. I think we have to trust that their decisions, how they made them and what they chose to make public, were sound and in the best interests of the organization. Without a high level of trust in the Board of Directors, chaos generally ensues.

    R. Scott Berg
    Honduras, 1977-78

    • Hi, Scott. FYI—In my 30’s, I was Vice President of the Corporate Director, Inc. in NYC. It was an NGO to educate CEOs and Directors of Corporate Boards on their roles and responsibilities, as most board directors are often voted in mostly for the prestige (via their names) that they’d bring to the company vs. any knowledge about the company. At least most members of NPCA’s Board have PCV experience and are elected by NPCA members. But we Founders of NPCA set it up to have any member run for office—whether group or self-nominated with some required to be nominated by their affiliated group. The national vote did not require any leadership experience or qualifications, as we RPCVs tend to “trust” those nominated. So I wonder how “wise and informed” was the decision to let Glenn go, especially since most of the commenters on this page state that Glenn has contributed greatly to NPCA. Now it seems that a rare few are trying to cause the death of our great organization.

  • Glenn’s contributions to the NPCA and the Peace Corps mission have been consistent and outstanding. He has kept us together and informed with annual Peace Corps Connects, mobilized annual outreaches on the Hill, fought for increased Peace Corps budgets during difficult times, made umpteen presentations of the film, oversaw a heralded Peace Corps Day at the Kennedy Center, and gave us an award-winning WorldView. More recently, he set up a program of trainings and support for evacuated volunteers and led the NPCA’s effort to secure better post-service medical care.

    I am disheartened by the way this has been handled and angered by the termination of our high performing and highly effective leader. I read most of the issues, and I read the original Court document of the dismissal, yes dismissal, by the Court of the charges. In government and in most organizations, one is given a chance to take corrective action on issues of concern, and put on a performance improvement plan if needed. Was this done? If office management, and this is a small office to manage, was an issue, why didn’t the Board hire an office manager.

    Over the years, I’ve made substantial contributions to the NPCA and its mission, and I’d truly appreciate a detailed presentation of the issues. Until I know more, this looks like an “Al Franken,” and similarly will have detrimental long-term implications for the organization. This is not a done deal for many members, and I urge a referendum of members as the only fair way to resolve this and move on.

  • I was surprised to hear of the NPCA decision about Glenn. I met him through Dennis Grubb, Colombia One Peace Corps volunteer. They worked together when Dennis, my partner, served on the Board of the NPCA.

    Glenn is a very kind and caring person. He checked in with Dennis especially in his last year of his life as he battled Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and gradually lost his abilities to communicate, walk, and swallow. He stopped by a couple of times to share activities of the Peace Corps and cheer him up, and took my calls when he was in hospitals. He always made Dennis feel that the Peace Corps community had not forgotten him. It meant the world to us.

    If there an open letter to the NPCA board to sign in support of reconsidering Glenn?

  • We just asked Tony Barclay to add our names to the letter asking the NPCA Board to reconsider the terms under which Glenn was terminated without prior notice.
    We have been told that Glenn, who has stayed with us, at our home , on three occasions starting, nine years ago could be very demanding as a boss. We have read the dismissal of the suit against him. Given what is public info we have a pretty good picture.
    However, this termination is a terrible injustice.
    We would like to see amends.
    David & BERNADETTE MIRON, Colombia 63-65, David PC/W 66-70 and founding members of First Coast Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Inc plus Shriver Circle Couple at the Silver Level
    Nonetheless,

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