SVHS Board Responds to Unfounded Allegations

Sent by mail to all SVHS members 6/23/2017

Sewickley Valley Historical Society
200 Broad Street
Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143-1525 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (412) 741-5315


June 23. 2017

Dear Members,

Since March 15th, 2017 the activities of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society have been impacted by controversy and misinformation. Our members have received numerous communications from a group calling itself the Concerned Members. Despite numerous invitations to meet with the Board of Directors, the leadership of this group has refused to meet to address the issues.  Instead, allegations continue to be made that demand a response. The following constitutes the response of the Board to the recurring allegations.




The bylaws of the society are flawed and inconsistent. The board determined it had a duty to address the issue. The former Executive Director disagreed. Revisions were prepared. A draft , redlined version was given or was taken out of the office by a Concerned Member and incorrectly summarized in a document circulated to the membership. The Board was confronted without notice at a Speaker Meeting about the bylaws and the individuals doing so were invited to meet with the Board. Revisions to the Bylaws require membership approval. The Board determined that when all proposed revisions were ready they would be posted on the website and sent to all voting members for review, and an information and comment special meeting of the membership would be scheduled.  After taking comments and suggestions, a final version of proposed changes would then be sent out and  a meeting to vote on the proposed changes would be scheduled. The entire “BYLAWS” controversy is unfounded and distortions of proposed revisions are being circulated by certain individuals among the Concerned Member group.


Read more: SVHS Board Responds to Unfounded Allegations

2017 OFFICIAL Slate of Candidates recommended by the SVHS Nominating Committee

Mailed to all SVHS members on 6/19/2017


President: Jay Brooks

J. Judson Brooks, Jr. (Jay Brooks) grew up in the Sewickley Valley where one of his favorite bicycle destinations with friends was Walker Park to explore the stream, the woods and to throw boomerangs, and pie plates (pre-plastic Frisbee era) in the fields.

Jay has been a longtime supporter of SVHS and has been involved at board level positions for over 16 years, aside from the occasional absence required by SVHS bylaw term limits. Jay’s family has been a fixture in the Sewickley area for hundreds of years, since the time of the original settlements.

Jay holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He spent a thirty-year career at international financial institutions (International Monetary Fund & World Bank among others) in Washington, D.C., returning to the Sewickley Valley in 1997.

A personal note from Jay:

“The Sewickley Valley Historical Society is a storehouse of information – print, photographic, painting, artifacts. Presently the only access to this storehouse is to call or to visit the Society from 10am to 2pm, four days a week. The Society’s storehouse can be made accessible 24/7 through a website which will showcase our collections by category, names and cross-referencing the information available. This measure requires computer knowhow and organizational ability of the Executive Director with the beneficial result of unlocking the closeted information storehouse to the curious history seeker.”

Read more: 2017 OFFICIAL Slate of Candidates recommended by the SVHS Nominating Committee

Notice of Reconvened Annual Meeting (letter)

Mailed to all SVHS members on 6/19/2017

When:     Tuesday, JUNE 27, 2017
               6:30pm – 8:30pm

Where:    The Edgeworth Club – Loggia

The Annual Meeting of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society was continued and will be reconvened at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at the first floor Loggia at the Edgeworth Club. The Nominating Committee is required by the Bylaws to present a single slate of nominees and has been advised that, due to a change in personal circumstances, the previously nominated candidates for President and Treasurer have decide to withdraw their nominations for those offices. The Nominating Committee places in nomination the following revised slate of candidates:

Read more: Notice of Reconvened Annual Meeting (letter)

Notice of Reconvened Meeting, Vote (green postcard)

June 16th, 2017 - by mail to all SVHS members eligible to vote

Notice of Reconvened Annual Meeting in order to vote for:

President, Vice President, Secretary, 6 Directors

When:   Tuesday June 27,2017
Where:   The Edgeworth Club - Loggia

Polls Open - 6:30pm
Polls Close - 8:30pm

Only members of record as of May 19, 2017 are eligible to vote.
There is no agenda other than voting.

SVHS Announces New Executive Director

June 14, 2017 - by mail to all current SVHS members:

Dear Members,

Over a year ago former Executive Director Harton Semple,Jr. informed the board of directors that he wished to retire rather than expand his role and responsibilities consistent with the long range plan of the Historical Society. The board initiated a succession plan and received interest from over 70 candidates for the position. Beginning in March, Harton engaged in behavior in opposition to board decisions and disseminated incorrect information to the membership. When the behavior continued, Harton was terminated and top candidate Karen Sebolt was hired. We want to thank him for his 14 years of service and wish him the best in the future. If you need further information regarding Harton's termination please contact Jay Brooks (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The Sewickley Valley Historical Society is pleased to announce that Karen Sebolt has been named its new Executive Director. Karen has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for 30 years first as an executive in the healthcare industry and later in various roles within the community.

In 1980, Karen moved to Sewickley, eventually earning an M.B.A from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business. She met her husband, a Sewickley native and they set off on an adventure working and raising a family in Texas, California and Virginia until finally realizing their dream to move “back home” in 2010.

Karen has volunteered extensively within her community in the public schools, the Girl Scout Organization and at her church. Her keen interest in history has been evident from her teaching art history to school children, visits to museums across the country and purchasing two historic homes. Currently she is helping her church plan their recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Karen’s experience in fundraising, development initiatives and community outreach will be an asset to the organization and she looks forward to working with the membership and the board to further the mission of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society.


J. Judson Brooks, Jr.

Board of Directors
Sewickley Valley Historical Society

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The mission of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society is to promote interest in and to record, collect, preserve, and document the history of the Sewickley Valley.

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