Remove Dr. Langellier from the Executive Director Position at the Sharlot Hall Museum, Reinstate Jody Drake to the position of Education Curator
During the past few years there has been increasing concern with the managerial and leadership ability of John Langellier, PhD.. That concern has been compounded by his most recent executive decisions and his influence on the Sharlot Hall Board of Trustees and their resulting decisions. Passing a $170,000 deficit budget with a previous budget year deficit of $40,000, threatening to eliminate festivals and events, beginning construction of a $900,000 Trades Building and the firing of Jody Drake.
Concerning the budget deficit, there is no plan in place by the Board of Trustees or Dr. Langellier to stop digging the financial hole they have dug. It continues to be dug deeper and deeper. Next years budget deficit will be greater than previous years. How long can this go on? The museum has spent foundation accounts meant to support it.
Concerning Festivals and Events, in the Courier article of June 13 , “The museum still needs to cut another $50,000 in expenses by October, so events such as the Prescott Indian Art Market or the folk arts and music festivals could be the next to go, Langellier said.” At a later Board of Trustees meeting, John declared that festivals and events “basically break even financially” These statements about the cost to the museum are simply not true. The City of Prescott has sponsored three major festivals; Folk Arts Fair, Folk Music Festival and Prescott Indian Art Market by allocating $25,000 for the past several years and again did so for the year 2012. The events themselves do generate income to the museum and don’t operate in the red, they do more than break even.
Concerning the Trades Building, in the same Courier article of June 13, it was announced that the Board of Trustees passed a $170,000 deficit budget, employee hours to be cut and festivals and events were in danger of being eliminated, it was also announced that the museum broke ground on June 11, on a new $900,000 Trades Building (aka museum support center). It’s revenue source was first said to be 100% designated funding then later all but $50,000, (which has yet to be raised). “The new building will help the museum during this time of shortfalls because employees can use its workshop to build exhibits and make repairs onsite, Langellier said.” Consider this dear reader, the museum has a workshop where all past exhibits have been produced and onsite repairs been done. The new building, when the $900,000 is spent, will only be a shell and unfinished. The building was rushed into construction with many, many deletions to it’s original design. Deletions that will come back to haunt the museum. It’s final unfinished state will be exactly the same state as the unfinished exhibit in the old Library Archives in the Lawler Building, still being constructed after almost four years. This exhibit has cost well over $400,000 with the total amount to date unknown. Opening dates for this exhibit have repeatedly been missed. Beginning construction on a building which will be unfinished and still lacks $50,000 in funding begs the question, where is the plan? Where will funding come from to finish the building when the financial position of the museum is so grave?
Concerning the firing of Jody Drake, Jody’s 18 year employee file contains many accomplishments and even one from Dr. Langellier praising Jody for her streamlining, downsizing the Education Department. It contains only one reprimand, that from John Langellier and shortly thereafter, a letter of dismissal. Additionally, Dr. Langellier directly stated to Jody that she was not allowed to help raise any funding for the museum. Not her job.
The role economic times has played is understood, however, it is our firm belief that poor management and lack of leadership ability on the part of Dr. Langellier has played a predominant part in the museum's current problems. It has become painfully obvious that Dr. Langellier is unqualified to manage and lead the Sharlot Hall Museum. Volunteers, staff and membership have lost confidence in the Executive Director. We believe Dr. Langellier is in over his head, if allowed to persist the museum will continue to lose members, donors, and tourism. A once vibrant living history museum will become a lifeless area behind an iron fence, wholly dependent upon the State. We have seen a reversal in decisions made showing that the board themselves are not comfortable with the direction the Executive Director has charted. We feel that any measures the museum may be taking today to rectify the situation will not only be too little too late, but pointless as long as Dr. Langellier is Executive Director.