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Ligonier Valley YMCA chief executive resigns

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 11:27 p.m.

Ben Wright has resigned as chief executive officer of the Ligonier Valley YMCA.

Wright resigned at the YMCA board's meeting on Monday, according to board president Doug Welty, who declined to offer details.

“We can't discuss personnel issues, but Ben did resign,” Welty said.

Wright, who has led the YMCA for the past three years, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Since June, he has guided the YMCA through the application process seeking borough approval for an expansion project.

Citizens — both for and against the plan's proposed zoning changes — turned out for numerous meetings to express their views.

Before the YMCA was successful in obtaining borough approval earlier this month, the project led to conflict with a councilwoman who resigned twice.

The YMCA filed an ethics complaint with the state, alleging she should not have voted on the project because she sold the YMCA adjoining property from her parents' estate. She claimed she got the go-ahead from special counsel.

Then there was a brief legal dispute over an application fee. The YMCA is awaiting a hearing on its request to build a parking lot.

“Ben has done a fantastic job for the Y,” Welty said. “He has certainly gotten us to where we are today.”

He said the expansion plans are “moving forward.”

The YMCA's director of development, Scotty Nelson, will serve as interim executive director.

Nelson, who has worked at the Y for two years, said she was shocked by Wright's resignation.

She said senior staff members are taking on additional responsibilities.

“From my professional experience at the Y, this organization is about teamwork,” she said. “The Y's success over the last couple years, and particularly in 2013, was not defined by the work of only one person. Though we are short one of our members now, I have no doubt in my mind that our current team can carry out the vision and direction set forth by our board.”

She said some members have expressed shock about Wright's resignation, “particularly since this is such a busy time” for the YMCA.

“Some members are shocked, but by the end of the conversation they are very confident in this organization's ability to continue providing services to the community,” she said.

Wright's salary was $71,505, according to the nonprofit's 2012 filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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