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Brenda Konkel to serve in ‘consulting role’ for Tenant Resource Center following ouster

January 4, 2019

Brenda Konkel will serve in “a consulting role” for the Tenant Resource Center after the Madison nonprofit’s board of directors fired her as executive director last year.

The center’s board and Konkel announced the decision in a joint statement Thursday, saying they had agreed in November to take the fight over Konkel’s Oct. 26 firing to mediation. Board members alleged the dismissal was over financial mismanagement of the center.

The statement said the board “agrees that Brenda never intentionally undertook to harm the Tenant Resource Center by theft or mismanagement of any kind.” It also said that Konkel will use her “expertise and experience” in a consulting manner “as part of ensuring a smooth transition to the new Executive Director and the continued viability of the Tenant Resource Center’s program.”

The statement does not indicate whether the consulting role will be temporary or permanent, or paid or unpaid. When reached by the Wisconsin State Journal, Konkel declined to give specifics on the consulting role, citing the confidentiality of the agreement.

“Given the facts that I knew, and what I had the ability to do, I made the best decision I could for the Tenant Resource Center,” she said.

Board member Jordan Krieger also declined to provide specifics on the consulting agreement.

Konkel started with the nonprofit, located in the Social Justice Center at 1202 Williamson St., in 1991 and became its executive director in 1995.

The board appointed Sterling Lynk, founder of The Mighty Purpose Project, as the acting executive director soon after firing Konkel. Krieger said the center has bylaws that dictate how a permanent director is selected, but he said there is no definitive timeline on when a hiring decision would be finalized.

Hours before the Wednesday deadline to file necessary paperwork to run for local office, Konkel announced on Facebook she was dropping her candidacy for Madison mayor, calling the decision “soul crushing.” Konkel, a former City Council member, said she did not have enough time and energy to put together a “viable campaign” while appealing her firing.

At the urging of volunteers and employees of the center, the board agreed to mediation with Konkel at a Nov. 26 meeting, and the process was led by the center’s volunteer mediator, Howard Bellman.