On February 12, the CEASE Inc., Board of Directors met at Walters State Community College. The Board of Directors invited 12 new people to join their board. Once their board membership was ratified, the former board members resigned. 

The move comes two weeks after the domestic abuse shelter closed its doors following the loss of grant funding due to fiscal irregularities outlined in a pair of state reports filed last fall by the state organization that oversees the federal grant that helped provide funding. 

CEASE, Inc., now has a Board of Directors comprised of the following people:

Don Baird, Hamblen County Community Service

Jackie Fleming, Former executive director of CEASE

Maggy Greenway, Assistant Public Defender

Barbara Horton, Director of Recovery Court

Sue Justis, Retired real estate agent

LA Orio, Vice President Wells Fargo Bank

Ethel Rhodes, Former ED of CEASE

Cathy Scott, Former DHS Case manager

Amy Shrader, Active Real Estate Agent

Brantley Stewart, Assistant Public Defender

Betsy Stibler, Private Attorney

Sandy Thomason, Retired real estate developer

Officers are:

Horton, Board Chair

 Stibler, Vice Chair

Orio, Treasurer

Rhodes, Secretary

Donna Kelly, the Executive Director, was terminated. Committees were formed and assignments were accepted.

The new board members of CEASE, Inc., will determine the debts and assets of the nonprofit and begin settling debts. 

Horton welcomed the public to watch for the emergence of a new anti-domestic violence program which will include rebranding, renaming and reenergizing the agency. Horton stated that press releases will be issued often as this board insists on transparency.

Orio said: “Victims of domestic violence must have court advocacy, safety, counseling and housing assistance in our community.”

It is unclear how the new board will interact with SafeSpace, a Sevier County nonprofit that was approved for grant funding through June to supply anti-domestic violence services in Hamblen County following the closure of CEASE.