The beloved longtime director of the Ballard Boys and Girls Club has been abruptly fired from his position for refusing to kowtow to an order, issued last week, to leave his job for a new position in Federal Way. Club members, who call the dismissal an "absolute insult," say this is just the latest in a string of blows to hit the club over the last week.
"No one supports this," says Katrina Sigurdson, a nine-year employee, former club member, and volunteer for the organization. "It's especially affecting our youth, who've been raised with him in this leadership role." The Ballard Boys and Girls Club offers after school, athletic, and social programs to over 500 neighborhood kids.
The trouble started last Wednesday, September 5, when Hendricks and club friends, members, and volunteers were summarily informed by email that Hendricks would be leaving his 25-year position in the Ballard community to run the Federal Way Boys and Girls Club (Federal Way director, Shelley Puariea, would relocate to Ballard). Hendricks was reportedly given no prior warning and the community was given a scant 48 hours notice of the job switch. Hendricks and club members questioned the decision, made by Boys and Girls Club of King County CEO Calvin Lyons, last Friday. But instead of answers, club members were greeted with fresh news over the weekend that Hendricks wouldn't be transferred after all: He would be fired.
"Last night, Mark was put on administrative leave for 24 hours for insubordination and will be fired today from the Boys and Girls Club," Sigurdson says. "No one knows why this is happening. When we pressed Calvin Lyons—the new King County CEO—he wouldn't give us a direct answer." Calls to the Boys and Girls Club of KC have gone unreturned.
But at 5:30pm tonight, Boys and Girls Club members, alum, friends, and volunteers are meeting at the Ballard Baptist Church (2004 NW 63rd St, across from the Boys and Girls Club) to protest the decision to relocate—and then fire—Hendricks from the organization.
"It feels like our family's been broken," she adds. "Mark's invested in our club. After 25 years, he’s a family member. He’s a father, an uncle, a cousin, a friend. I can't say it enough: No one supports this decision."