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Jonathan B. Kroft


by Rhonda Spivak, December 4, 2011


In a telephone interview with the Winnipeg Jewish Review on Nov 24, Phyllis Spigelman, who was then Chair of the Simkin Centre Board of said that the contract of Sandra Delorme , CEO of the Simkin Centre had been renewed for five years this past August , and the Winnipeg Jewish Review duly reported on that.

It now appears that Spigelman was mistaken, and may have been in fact referring to an amendment to Delorme’s contract which occurred in August 2011.
According to Jonathon Kroft, a spokesman for the Board based on his review of the documentation at issue, the term ofSandra Delorme’s contract was in fact extendedin February 2011 retroactive to January 2011 for a five year term, meaning it was set to expire at the end of 2015. [note: The Winnipeg Jewish Review has up until now used the word "renew" rather than "extend" in relation to Delorme's contract. Kroft has repeatedly used the word "extend" and not "renew". Is there a difference in this case and if so what is it? We have just asked Kroft why he has been using the term "extend" and not "renew"  and will update this article once we have heard  back]
According to Kroft there was an amendment to Delorme’s contract in July 2011, but “this amendment did not extend the term of the contract” such that the contract is still set to expire at the end of to 2015. “The term is the same”, Kroft said.
When asked about the substance of the amendment, Kroft responded, “I am not comfortable giving more details at this point. I can’t talk about personal mattersrelated to an employee.”
However, Kroft noted that the previous article of November 24 published in the Winnipeg Jewish Review had raised issues relating to the process of the extensionof Delorme’s contract, and at that sametime Peter Kafka’s external review of the Centre had stressed the importance of putting a formal process in place for the evaluation and hiring of a CEO.
Kafka is the CEO of the Louis Briar home in Vancouver and was brought in by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to conduct an external leadership and communication review of the Simkin Centre, including the leadership and accountability structure.
As a result, in keeping with the spirit of the Kafka report, Spigelman has decided to step aside to enable the Simkin Board to examine the process by which the extensionof Delorme’s contract . A letter dated Nov 29 to the residents and families of the Centre, said " Phyllis has decided to step aside as Chair so that there is no perception that she is involved in the review."
When asked whether the extensionof Delorme’s contract in February had been approved by the board, Kroft answered “No, it did not formally go to the Board.” He said that to the best of his knowledge, the process “was not very formal or structured.”
Additionally, the amendment to the contract was also something that also did not go formally to the board, notwithstanding that the Centre was already undergoing an unprecedented 26 standards Review as well as Peter Kafka’s external review.
As a result of Spigelman’s stepping aside, Bill Brownstone has taken over as Acting Chair of the Board. The letter dated Nov 29, indicates that Brownstone has taken over as Acting Chair of the Board " for the time being."
The Winnipeg Jewish Review has sent an email to Kroft asking whether Spigelman has stepped aside permanently, or whether it is possible she will return as Chair of the Board. At the time of the writing of this article, we have not received a response.
Kroft noted that Spigelman had devoted countless hours in her role as Board co-Chair and Chair and has been a valuable and devoted volunteer in the Jewish community for many years.
Kroft also said that having recently joined the Board of the Simkin Centre, “I am impressed by the people around the table.”
Additionally in light of the series of recommendations made by the Peter Kafka external review, Dr. Ted Lyons is chairing a task force that will prioritize the recommendations of the Kafka report with a view to implementing them as soon as is reasonably possible.
Kroft stressed, “As Kafka told the Board, this is not a process which will occur overnight. He said success in implementing the recommendations will be measured in terms of months and years." Kroft added that the Board was committed to implementing Kafka's recommendations. To read the Kafka recommendations, go to :
Kroft noted that Lyons, a former President of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg “has lots of community experience” and he had confidence that he will do a thorough job of taking the necessary steps to implement the recommendations.
When asked when he expected the new interim CEO to be hired, Kroft said he did not know this as it was not an area he was working on.
He also noted that the Simkin Centre’s devoted staff is working hard and it is important that this be acknowledged.
Note/comment: The Winnipeg Jewish Review stands by its original report of its conversation with Pyllis Spigelman of Nov 24 in which we reported that she said that the contract of Delorme had been renewed "in the summer." This was stated by Spigelman on more than one occasion in the conversation. At no time in the conversation, did the month of February or any other winter month ever come up. It is on this basis that we have reported above that Spigelman appears to have been mistaken, as otherwise there would appear to be a clear contradiction in what she told the Winnipeg Jewish Review on November 24, and what Kroft has said about the extension of the contract in February 2011 retro-active to January 2011.






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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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