Welcome House director resigns

by John A. Winters

Linda Kirkpatrick, longtime director of the Community Welcome House women’s shelter, has resigned.

She cited continuing problems with the women’s shelter’s board, and said former staff and some residents were poisoning her working relationship.

The shelter serves women victims of domestic violence and their children in the Coweta County area.

“I did it with a sense of regret,” Kirkpatrick said.

“I have put my life of the last 10 years into Community Welcome House. We had a change in the board six months ago and the Welcome House has not been the same.

“There is no trust there anymore,” she added.

“The board is dysfunctional and we just don’t work together.”

Board chairman Chuck Fields said he “was shocked to get the resignation.” 

“We are going to hold off on any comments until the board meets,” he said. He asked that other questions be submitted to the board by email for a response. The board was expected to meet Thursday or today to plan its next steps.

Kirkpatrick said, “I have always done what I felt was best for the Community Welcome House. Along those lines, I haven’t made everyone happy. I’ve had to make some tough decisions, including staff and people residing here.”

She said various staff members and residents complained about her to the board and made up allegations that weren’t true.

“I am trying to keep everything going smoothly,” she said. “Sometimes that doesn’t happen. People will gripe and complain about certain decisions. In my opinion, some things have not been handled correctly.

“Employees were going behind my back to the board, saying I was stealing gift cards,” she said as an example. “Why would I steal gift cards? We need those to help cover costs for our residents. Those types of charges are simply not true.”

The Welcome House, Coweta County’s only domestic violence shelter, received more than 800 calls last year and housed more than 130 women and children.

Its biggest fundraiser is the popular Coweta’s Dancing Stars, which teams instructors and well-known community leaders in a competition.

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