Mac Edwards, who was terminated as executive director of Binghampton's Caritas Community Center and Cafe on October 1st, is already looking for another job.
“I’m going to look,” Edwards says. “I’m not saying I won’t do something in the restaurant industry. I’m getting a little old to work nights, and my girlfriend has a real job. She works days.”
And, he says, “I’ve been sober 16 years. I’m going to poke around the treatment industry a little bit. I think I’d be pretty good at that. I’m really going to get after it on Monday.”
Edwards, 65, a veteran restaurateur who opened McEwen's in 1997 and sold it in 2008, also owned Elegant Farmer (later renamed ‘The Farmer’), Brooks Pharm2Fork, and Chandelier in Jackson, Tennessee. He began working at Caritas Village on May 1, 2018.
He was preparing for a neighborhood event when he was let go by Caritas board chairman Blake Barber. “This happened on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. We had a neighborhood thing in the front yard that night. It was the Neighborhood Night Out and we had one there. Blake Barber insisted on seeing me that night. He asked me if I wanted to resign and I said, ‘No.’ I was terminated. Basically, it just wasn’t working out. I wasn’t the right guy for the job, basically.
“They let me go and there were 75 people in the front yard, including all my employees, grilling hamburgers for the neighborhood. Kids doing chalk art and playing cornhole and putting on Halloween costumes. And here I am taking the walk of shame with all my shit in my arms — saying goodbye to all my employees.”
Says Edwards: “They just basically decided I wasn’t skilled enough in the nonprofit world. They knew the cafe was doing good and the wine dinners and stuff. They said they wanted to do more programming and that kind of stuff. But eight, nine months ago, we had somebody who was willing to be volunteer coordinator and try to find programming and they told her to pump the brakes and kill the whole thing.
“Here we started getting some programming and they pulled the plug. We’re in the black.
“I’m not your typical nonprofit guy. I’m not sure I fit the mold. I say ‘fuck’ too much. And it is a different world. They have their own language. It’s all about ‘measurables’ and ‘deliverables’ and ‘metrics.’ In all fairness to them, I’m not used to answering to people. I had to learn to do that.”
And, he says, “I just think it’s a total disconnect between me and the board; that was a lot of it. I’ll take responsibility for my part, but I don’t think it’s all on me.”