Earning

Aslett

TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO

TWIN FALLS — After a tumultuous year responding to major financial issues, the Magic Valley YMCA has a new director and plans to search for a chief executive officer.

Missy Aslett was hired a couple of months ago as executive director, she told the Times-News on Thursday. She has been a Y employee for five years in corporate sales, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

She wants to reinvigorate the nonprofit and focus on its mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“We’re not a ‘swim and gym’ like we maybe have been in the past,” Aslett said.

The local Y also plans to seek leadership assistance from its national parent organization.

It wants to have a successful, retired Y branch manager — who would come from somewhere in the United States — lead local operations for three months while a search for a permanent CEO is underway.

The search for a new top leader will begin after Jan. 1, interim CEO Andy Barry said. Barry plans to step out of the CEO role in late March.

Barry, who owns Barry Equipment & Rental, led the nonprofit’s board of directors before taking on extra responsibilities after former CEO Gary Ettenger retired in March.

Earlier this year, board members discovered Ettenger used hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations earmarked for specific projects for general operating expenses.

Its national parent group placed the local Y on probation. And the Idaho Attorney General’s Office wrapped up an investigation in September, saying it has reason to believe the Y violated Idaho’s charitable trust laws.

The Y closed its Canyon Rim branch on Pole Line Road at the end of October, and the property is for sale. By Nov. 1, employees and services for members were consolidated to the Elizabeth Street branch.

There has been interest and showings of the Pole Line Road property, Barry said, but no offers yet.

Once the building is sold, that will help get the Y’s overhead costs down, he said. “We will be in very good shape.”

The local nonprofit has paid off its back taxes using an interest-free loan.

It also paid 2016 national YMCA dues and is in a payment plan for past dues, Barry said. And it’s no longer on probation.

The Y is the beneficiary of money from donor Adrian Dean’s estate. It plans to use the money — which is coming in over time — to improve its financial situation and make facility improvements.

Last month, the Y saw $82 more in revenue than expenses, Barry said. And in a December letter to members, Y officials wrote they’ve reduced the accounts payable by about 50 percent.

“Our financial statements are showing improvement,” the letter states. “October was the first month that we showed a surplus this year.”

The pool at the Elizabeth Street branch — which has been in disrepair and sitting vacant for about four years — is slated to reopen in February.

A project to install roof reinforcements over the pool is done.

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Another project, which was recently completed, was turning one of three tennis courts into an indoor multipurpose space for group fitness classes and basketball.

Y officials are working to seek feedback from members and keep them updated, Aslett said. “We’re keeping the lines of communication open with our members.”

Membership numbers have “dropped a bit,” Aslett said, particularly after the Canyon Rim branch closed. She said some people were nervous about the transition.

But she said she’s optimistic about 2017 and the Y is already starting to see former members come back.

The Y currently has about 1,800 membership “units.” One unit, for example, could be an entire family.

In total, Barry estimates about 4,500 to 5,000 members in total are using Y facilities.

In his March retirement letter, Ettenger wrote the Y had about 7,000 members.

In addition to the Canyon Rim branch, the nonprofit manages the YMCA/City Pool on Locust Street through an agreement with the city of Twin Falls.

Current membership numbers allow for friendships to develop and for “not too long of waits” to use equipment, Barry said. “It’s the right kind of busy now.”

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