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Executive director of Encinitas YMCA resigns

Susan Hight, executive director of the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, resigned from her position Aug. 1.

When asked why Hight left, no reason was given by San Diego County YMCA spokeswoman Charmaine Gudgeon.

“We don’t comment on previous team members, but I can confirm that Susan resigned from her role,” said Gudgeon this week in an email.

Attempts to reach Hight for comment through other sources were unsuccessful.

Gudgeon did not address a question about whether Hight’s resignation is connected to a recent investigation over allegations against the head of the San Diego County YMCA.

KPBS reported on Sept. 2 that an independent audit is looking into allegations that San Diego County YMCA President and Chief Executive Officer Baron Herdelin-Doherty inflated membership and revenue figures.

According to the KPBS article, sources speaking on the condition of anonymity said the San Diego YMCA corporate board ordered the investigation to respond to those allegations, as well as to complaints about poor treatment of staff.

“In regards to your other questions, there have been concerns raised about the mission and management of YMCA of San Diego,” Gudgeon wrote to the Encinitas Advocate. “In the interest of transparency, we are working with the board to conduct a third-party audit that we expect to be completed in the coming months.”

She continued: “Our goal, as it has always been, is to make the greatest possible impact on the lives of all people and on the future health of families in the San Diego community.”

The San Diego County YMCA corporate board has faced scrutiny at the local level in recent months. In May, residents Lizbeth Ecke and Bob Ayers said Hight asked them to step down from the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA board after they repeatedly questioned the overall direction of the San Diego County YMCA board and its decision to discontinue youth memberships.

Sarah Reese, listed online as the executive director of San Diego County YMCA, is serving as interim executive director at the Encinitas YMCA until a replacement for Hight is hired.

“She has served our organization for more than 28 years and we’re grateful for all her contributions,” Gudgeon said of Hight. “We wish her the best of luck.”


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