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ACCOA Project Moves Forward, Without Executive Director

At Thursday’s Alcona County Commission On Aging board of directors special meeting, executive director Lenny Avery issued a statement, rejecting the board’s suspension of his employment.

Avery was placed on suspension on Tuesday after a regular board meeting where multiple members of the board stepped down. Two members of the board called the police to have Avery escorted out of the building, citing that he did not have the right to be there while on suspension.

The police told the board that Avery did have a right to be there, and Avery remained. He said having the police weaponized against him by people who don’t know his character was the scariest moment of his life as an African American man. Avery also spoke about being placed on suspension.

“There’s no merit for my suspension,” said Avery. “I found it funny today that they voted to move forward with the project today, now that I’m not a part of it. Just because, you can remove the man, but you cannot duplicate my success.”

Avery does not know why the board has shown a bias against him, as he says he’s done a lot of work for the seniors of Alcona.

“You take away the merit, the only thing that’s left is the melanin,” he said. “I don’t know if they have a problem with me personally, I don’t know if they have a problem with my complexion, all I know is that I did my job, and I did it well.”

As part of Avery’s statement, he asked for an independent review of his job performance, and asked that the Alcona county commissioners be the ones to perform that review.

The board could not speak on Avery’s situation, but did receive numerous complaints about the senior center, and the board’s focus is moving forward with that project.

“The building project is going ahead; I’ve been in touch with the architects and the board of course and we will be charting a plan there, we’ll be going over the drawings, what we actually need, and they will of course be doing preliminary drawings,” said ACCOA Board of Directors President LeRoy Perrin.

As for Avery in the meantime, he’ll still be a part of the community, albeit away from the senior center.