Sharon Moody has been fired after more than five years as a director of the Plant City Boys & Girls Club.
Moody, who took the position made vacant by the death of former director John Griffin, said her dismissal caught her by surprise.
"I had no warning," Moody said. "Todd Cole, the vice president of the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay and an H. R. (human resources) representative came to the Plant City club on Friday (Oct. 2). Todd told me I was released from the organization."
Boys & Girls Club officials in the area organization's Tampa headquarters said they wanted to "go in a different direction" but didn't offer any specifics on Moody's firing.
"I was devastated. My goal was to serve the kids in the club and the community to the best of my ability. I regret that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the children. I was just fired on the spot."
As recently as this summer the Plant City Boys & Girls Club of was made up of an east club, which met at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center, with about 60 members, and Moody's west side club, which had about 80 members enrolled.
When the east side club was closed for economic reasons, about 10 children joined the west side club at 901 S. Waller St, Moody said.
"Lately there has been tension at the Boys & Girls Club between me and some of the people in Tampa," Moody said. "But I have never received a written reprimand and this firing was a complete surprise to me. Todd said they made the decision because the board wants to go in a different direction. I'm not sure exactly what that means for the Plant City club but time will tell."
Paul Baumgardner, the president of the Tampa Bay organization, said the Plant City Boys & Girls Club will continue to operate.
"We have absolutely no intention of closing the club," Baumgardner said. "On the contrary, we want to strengthen and increase the program. We felt it was time for us to go in a different direction."
"We want to grow the Boys & Girls Club in Plant City and are working with the board of trustees in Plant City to reestablish the goals they have recognized as important to that growth," he said.
Cole said he meets monthly in Plant City with the trustees.
"Until an interim director is named the club will be operated by various full-time employees and the part-time employees already in place," Cole said. "We have met with the staff at the Plant City club and we are confident they can operate the club safely and efficiently until an interim director is in place."
Moody said she was unsure about her future endeavors but she plans to stay busy in local community work. Five days after her firing Moody was installed as president of the Plant City Kiwanis Club.