have handled it differently."
Center board President Jan Loporcho confirmed Smola's departure
Tuesday, but would not say whether she resigned or was fired.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss personnel matters," Loporcho said.
Smola, a former escrow officer with a knack for fund-raising, was
hired by the center's board of directors in June 2000. She
acknowledged Tuesday that she had been on disability leave for a
stress-related illness since February, and had subsequently filed a
workers' compensation claim against the center.
Smola called the termination letter "devastating and humiliating,"
and said she poured her "heart" into the center, which assists more
than 2,500 people each month with food, shelter and transportation
"It meant a lot to me," she said.
Smola, 65, was instrumental in soliciting donations from the
Burbank Sertoma Club, U.S. Postal Service, IKEA and Joslyn Adult
Center. The temporary aid center is supported by individual donations
and city grants, religious organizations and service groups.
Stacy Schumacher, an administrative assistant at the center on
West Burbank Boulevard, said Smola will be hard to replace.
"She's been great with volunteers and clients and representing the
agency to the community," Schumacher said Tuesday. "She's been a
great asset to the community, and she will be sorely missed."
Loporcho said a search committee will be formed to find Smola's
"She is going to be missed," Loporcho said. "She was very loved by