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Shake up at VOA

Longtime Lansing exec Patrick Patterson ‘resigns,’ local committee members quit


Patrick Patterson and the Volunteers of America Michigan, which named him president and CEO just last July, have parted ways over “differences.”

After Patterson’s departure, four members resigned from the VOA’s nine-member Lansing committee, which is a subcommittee of the board of directors. Patterson was a longtime VOA executive in Lansing before he took the statewide post.

VOA Board Chairman Don McCann confirmed the departure of Patterson, which is being called a “resignation.” He said that Patterson’s predecessor, Alex Brodrick, has come out of retirement to return to his old post on an interim basis while the VOA looks for a new chief executive.

Meanwhile, in another development, the financially stressed VOA and Holy Cross Services announced they are discussing a take over by the latter of Lansing services. Holy Cross is a Catholic organization based in Clinton with services around the state, including a women’s facility in Lansing.

“We’ve gotten so big up there that our resources may not be able to fund it for the long term,” said Brodrick, who is in VOA’s Southfield headquarters. “We’re trying to make sure there’s someone there to take care of the 7,200 people” served by VOA in Lansing. Brodrick said he could not comment on whether the proposed takeover played a role in Patterson’s departure. He said he and the VOA’s chief operating officer “have been looking at this for a long time.”

A spokeswoman for Holy Cross Services said Patterson was not involved in the new development.

City Pulse learned of Patterson’s departure, which was effective Feb. 28, from a source last week. The VOA had announced neither his departure nor Brodrick’s return.

Asked what happened with Patterson, McCann issued what he said was a joint statement by the VOA and Patterson that extolled Patterson personally and said: “We had some differences of opinion on how to run the agency and grow into the future and have respectfully agreed to part ways.”

McCann declined to comment on the board’s differences with Patterson because they were a “personnel matter.”

Asked if Patterson’s departure resulted from either his or the board’s desire to make changes in VOA operations, McCann said, “It was a little of both.”

Patterson joined the VOA in Lansing in 2000 after working for the city of Lansing and serving on the VOA’s board. He rose to executive vice president while overseeing Lansing operations.

Patterson was a highly regarded local leader during that time who was known for innovative programming and a get-thingsdone attitude. One Lansing fundraising executive, who asked not to be named, said his departure was a “shock.”

Patterson is credited with developing medical and dental programs as well as one that helps to identify government benefits to which homeless individuals may be entitled.

McCann confirmed that three or four members of the Lansing committee had resigned. He declined to name them or provide a list of Lansing committee members.

One of those who quit, Jerry Jennings of East Lansing, declined to comment on whether the resignations were connected to Patterson’s departure.

“I felt my services to the VOA had reached an end,” Jennings said about his own resignation.

The other three who quit are local developer Kevin McGraw, who was the committee chairman; attorney John Pepich; and Samuel Johnson, an executive with NorthWest Initiatives. They could not be reached for comment.

Jennings was the only committee member who also served on the board, from which he also resigned. Jennings said he was the only board member not from southeast Michigan.


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