The leadership of the Greater Burlington YMCA is supporting Kyle Dodson’s return to the organization as CEO and president — despite news Friday that considerable portions of his police transformation report to Mayor Miro Weinberger had been plagiarized.
Lisa Ventriss, chairperson of the YMCA’s board of directors and president of Vermont Business Roundtable, confirmed to VTDigger Monday afternoon that the community organization supports having Dodson return to run the organization.
Dodson had taken a six-month leave from the Y to become director of police transformation for the city of Burlington. Mayor Miro Weinberger appointed him in the fall to oversee reforms in the police department and be the Weinberger administration’s liaison for policing issues.
His eight-page final report was criticized at first by some city councilors for its brevity and lack of specific reform recommendations. The criticism intensified when news broke that large portions of the document had not been properly attributed, according to an analysis done by Seven Days. Dodson had been paid $75,000 for the six months of work.
Dodson told VTDigger that the misattribution was a mistake and it resulted from his ambivalence in producing the final report. He said he should have told the mayor about his concern that his report wouldn’t be able to capture the complexity and division in the city surrounding police transformation.
He told Seven Days that “the community didn’t want transformation. Blacks and activists want revenge,” a line of thinking that has been criticized by both the mayor and the city’s Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department.
The YMCA issued a statement to its members Monday afternoon, expressing its “steadfast commitment” to Dodson and confirming he’s returning as president and CEO.
Ventriss told VTDigger that the board of directors met during the weekend to discuss the issue and has unanimous support for Dodson. She said she expects Dodson to be back at the Y in mid to late April after previously planned orthopedic surgery.
“We know him to be really a transformational leader and he leads with integrity,” Ventriss said. “And we’ve got confidence in his commitment for the work of the Y.”
When asked if she thought Dodson’s integrity has been called into question, Ventriss said Dodson will have to rebuild some relationships in the community, but he’s been an effective “convener” in Burlington in the past and she expects he’ll be able to continue doing that work.
“He’s got some fences to mend, absolutely,” Ventriss said.
“I think it is important for people to recognize that sometimes people do have a fall from grace,” she said. “But we, I believe, have an obligation to meet that with grace from us. And to help people have an opportunity to regain that relationship in the community.”
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