Cherish Cronmiller, president and CEO of Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, was put on paid administrative leave last week. She is pictured Aug. 21 in Harrison Twp. during an event announcing Federal Home Loan Bank grant money for homeowners to fix or acquire new homes as well as help former renters purchase homes. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Chris Stewart
Photo: Chris Stewart

Area nonprofit leader placed on paid leave

Miami Valley Community Action Partnership board chair: ‘We are not dealing with criminal issue here.’

Cherish Cronmiller, the president and CEO of a local nonprofit expected to have a vital role helping local tornado survivors rebuild housing, has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Miami Valley Community Action Partnership’s board of trustees chairman.

Cronmiller, MVCAP’s leader since August 2017, was asked to step back following a board meeting last Thursday after something was brought to the board’s attention the Friday before Labor Day, said James Phipps, Miami Valley Cap’s board chair.

“It was something that came up and the board just resolved that there had to be some things done, that’s why we went that route,” Phipps said.

MORE: $5M in disaster grants lift tornado recovery efforts

A special session of the trustees was being held “to consider a complaint against an agency employee,” according to the announcement published last week.

Phipps said the board’s action against Cronmiller is not the result of a local, state nor federal law enforcement probe.

“There are no investigations from outside that we are aware of. And I really don’t expect any,” he said. “We are not dealing with a criminal issue here.”

Miami Valley CAP has programs in nine area counties primarily focused on combating poverty and helping low-income households with housing services and utility assistance, according to the agency.

Phipps said Lisa Stempler, chief operating officer, is assuming Cronmiller’s duties.

Cronmiller declined to comment Monday when reached by phone.

According to the agency’s 2017 Internal Revenue Service Form 990, Cronmiller was paid $91,999 and received $1,840 in other compensation during the year in which she was COO before becoming CEO that August. She worked out of the organization’s main office at 719 S. Main in Dayton.

Cronmiller was an early leader in the Miami Valley Long-term Recover Operations Group, formed to guide the community’s years-long response to rebound from the tornadoes. In July, she was elected to the executive committee of the group as vice chair.

The recovery group’s executive committee will now have to replace Cronmiller, someone who went above and beyond, said Michael Vanderburgh, the recovery group’s chairman and CEO of St. Vincent de Paul.

“Cherish’s contributions have been important to the community’s recovery for both the tornadoes and the Oregon District tragedy,” he said. “Her ability to rise to the occasion and do what needed to be done was second to none.”

MORE: Months later, tornado debris remains ‘such a horrible reminder’

Following the Memorial Day tornadoes, MVCAP started providing recovery assistance, offering households at or below 80% of the area median income with help to cover the costs of rehousing, moving, furnishings and insurance deductibles. The agency is also one of four area nonprofits aligned with the Miami Valley Long-term Recovery Operations Group to help repair and rebuild housing.

“All of our clients will be served as needed and they can be assured there is nothing about the agency itself that is going to affect them.” Phipps said. “That’s not going to be disrupted.”

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