Are member concerns regarding conditions at the Venice YMCA falling upon deaf ears?

Francesco Abbruzzino, The Uncensored Report, LLC

** Update** The new Executive Director has reached out to me and I told him I would include his resposne on this posting. Paul Raker: I would also like to apologize for your recent experience at our Y and am sorry that your specific complaints did not make it directly to me. I am aware of the condition of the men’s locker room, and through some turnover, am working with our cleaning service to correct the issue. They have recently lost their leadership staff and hired in new people that I am connecting with for the first time. While this is not an excuse for your experience, I would want you to have a window into the challenges and know that your concerns are heard, and we are working hard to correct.


I have been working out at the YMCA in Venice for years, going back to the eighties.  It has changed a lot through the years, but it consistently remained a place with a local feel.  That all changed a couple years ago, after the Y brought in a new management team.


There have been changes, like new furniture, lockers, and some new equipment.  To be honest, I never pay much attention.  I lift, knock out some cardio, and then take a sauna.  The issues I have noticed is that a piece of equipment I use to workout on has been down since July and the maintenance card is still on its months later.  Also, a lot of the wights are chipped.


Over the past couple of months, I have heard rumblings about the shape of the gym, regarding maintenance issues from lights being out to the steam room not working.  However, the other day an elderly man that works out at the Y handed me three pieces of paper.  They are YMCA suggestion forms.  All three noted issues and the gentleman asked me if I could write about the issues, since the Y does not appear to be acting upon many of the concerns.  I then talked to a couple employees, and they noted concerns with bugs and the overall cleanliness.  I am not referring to the counters that they wipe down on a regular basis, I am talking about a cleaning of the gym on a regular basis.  I did look in the showers and noticed a lot of black mold, which is in the photo.



I decided to write my contact at the YMCA, but that person (ex-CFO) has retired, and his email provided another individual’s name.  So, I sent Sharon an email regarding the issues.  I sent her the email because the YMCA has always referred me to Pete on issues and since she took over for him, I assumed that she would be my point of contact.  Many of you may not know this, but I get emails like this all the time.  Normally I will reach out to the entity, let them know the issues, and give them the opportunity to resolve the issues without me having to write or post about it.  Normally me reaching out to them is enough for the entity to take action. That is what I hoped would happen this time, but…………………


Basically, some employees and some guest were be concerned about:

  • Members and employees: Bugs running all around
  • Weekly thorough cleanings not taking place
  • 20-year member: It is a shame when you walk into the YMCA that has a dirty rug and when you walk into a classroom, the same.  Please bring up the standards as we had before.
  • Member: If the board of health inspected the men’s room, they would close you down immediately. Black mold in the showers, no mats on the floors, just water.  Whoever oversees cleaning should be fired?
  • Member: Concern that people are not wiping down and cleaning up after themselves.
  • Member: Upset over the sliver program.  Not sure I have the name right, but it was some discounted monthly fee for use of the gym, which the YMCA terminated.  A few people have complained to me about the fact that the YMCA got rid of this program, thinking they were there to help provide community health and perhaps instead of paying over $700k to their top-level executives, they could have continued their involvement in this program.


So, the gist of this posting is to call on the YMCA to do more about cleaning up the facility and bringing back that local community feel that some feel has disappeared from the YMCA.  I am surprised that I do not know any of the upper-level management with this community-based non-profit, even though I work out there and in I own a media operation that many have referred to as “a staple amongst the community”.  Hopefully the management team will read this and act, so that their employees and members can be proud of their association with the YMCA.


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