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Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture Fact Finding Report

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture Fact Finding Report

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Published by inlanderweb
A state investigation into claims of gender
discrimination and illegal retaliation against Executive Director Forrest Rodgers.
A state investigation into claims of gender
discrimination and illegal retaliation against Executive Director Forrest Rodgers.

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Published by: inlanderweb on Sep 11, 2013
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SYNOPSIS
CONFIDENTIAL
FINAL
FACT
FINDING
REPORT
NORTHWEST
MUSEUM
OF
ARTS
AND
CULTURE
("MAC")
EASTERN
WASHINGTON
STATE
HISTORICAL
SOCIETY
("EWSHS")
SPOKANE,
WASHINGTON
THURSDAY
JUNE
27
2013
RE:
On
Sunday, April
28,
2013 Curator
of
Special Collections
for
the Northwest Museum
of
Arts and Culture("MAC")
Rose Krause
("'Ms. Krause") sent a
written
complaint
with
attached documents
to
theWashington State Department
of
Services see Attachment
A.
Ms. Krause allegedExecutive Director
of
the ged in gender discrimination andretaliation by giving prefere
as
well
as
to
those employees whosupported
his
rehire in August
of
2012. Ms. Krause also
allege~olated
museum collectionand preservation practices and
has
significant problems
with
communication and leadership.
On
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Human Resources Manager Beth Scouller ("Ms. Scouller")
with
DES
and
Assistant Attorney General Deborah Danner ("Ms. Danner'') contacted Washington State Department
of
Transportation ("WSDOT")
labor
Relations Manager Scott Nicholson
("Mr.
Nicholson") requesting
an
independent investigation
into
Ms. Krause's complaint. A total
of
thirty-five (35) individuals wereinterviewed and a complete list
of
those interviewed
Is
provided in
the
additional information section
of
this report along with
an
interview schedule. During the interview all witnesses were advised
of
theirrights and responsibilities including confidentiality, retaliation, representation, and expectedcooperation.
Mr.
Nicholson was given authority
to
conduct the investigation by Ms. Scouller.
See
Attachment
B.
Pursuant to this authority, no MAC
or
EWSHS
employee unduly Influenced thedeterminations made in this investigation.
ALLEGATIONS
1
Gender
Discrimination
Ms. Krause
allege~engaged
in gender discrimination by giving preferential treatment tomale employees.
Retaliation
Ms.
Krause
alleged-engaged
In retaliation by giving preferential treatment
to
thoseemployees who supported his August 2012 rehire.
1
DES
provides human resources services
to
smaller state agencies, Including the
Eastern
Washlnston StateHistorical Society and its Northwest Museum
of
Arts and CUlture.
z
For the purposes
of
this investigation, events which occurred prior
~
rehire
In
August
of
2012
are
not
Included
In
the allesatlons
or
determinations section
of
this
report~ferences
to
events prior
to.
-termination
and rehire are discussed where relevant
In
the fact finding section
of
the
report
Additionally,Ms. Krause alleged performance based
Issues
related
to
communication, leadership, and museum preservation.
These
are
not
Included in the allegation section
but
are addressed In the fact finding section and referenced In thedetermination section.
Page
1
of16
 
EWSHS
and
MAC
POLICIES
IMPLICATED
1
CONFIDENTIAL
FINAL
EWSHS
Affirmative Action
Equal
Opportunity Polley"Equal employment opportunity
is
the effort
to
provide
an
equal work experience, free fromdiscrimination,
for
all people
•.
Employees who feel discriminated against
or
witness acts that violate thispolicy should refer
to
the complaint procedure described
In
the agency's Anti-Discrimination Polley."
EWSHS
Anti-Discrimination Policy
"It
Is
the policy
of
the
EWSHS
to provide
an
environment free from unlawful discrimination. All forms
of
discrimination related
to
race, creed,
sex,
color, religion, national origin,
age
(over 40), disabled veteranstatus, disability, Vietnam
Era
veteran status,
sexual
orientation, marital status,
use
of
a trained guidedog, or service animal by a person with a disability
or
any other protected
class,
as
well
as
retaliation
fo•·
engaging
in
protected activity are violations
ofthts
poltcy
..
Employees are expected
to
conductthemselves professionally,
In
a manner befitting the work environment
and
with respect
for
coworkers."
(Emphasis
Added)
FACT
FINDING
Complainant Interview
Curator
of
Special
Collections
Rose
Krause
("Ms. Krause")
has
been
with
the
MAC
for
nine
(9)
years. Herduties include managing the library archives with specific emphasis on documentary items. Ms.
Krause
Indicated
she
supervised
Davey)
as
well
as
numerous volunteers and student workers.Ms. Krause stated prior lntment,
she
worked
with
several Executive Directors overthe years and indicated her with them were "goQd"
and
"professional." Ms.
Krause
indicated
when-started
n
2011,
she
began
hearing from various individuals that "thingswere
not
going well;" however,
Ms.
Krause
stated
she
had
no firsthand knowledge
of
any
issues. Ms.
Krause
stated her supervisor, Ms.
Laura
Thayer ("Ms. Thayer"), provided a buffer between her
n~
~hich
limited her interaction with him. Ms.
Krause
claimed in August
of
2012
Ms. Thayer left partly
In
fear
of
retaliation for
not
. Ms.
Krause
stated when the rehire took place the Board
of
Trustees President Bruce staff "in nouncertain terms,
If
you had a problem
with-
being rehired you
can
find another job."
Ms.
Krause
indicated
whe~
held
his
first "all
staff'
meeting after the rehire (August
of
2012)
he
"blamed his leadership team for
his
firing." Ms.
Krause
stated this declaration set
an
"uncomfortable
and
divisive tone"
with
a "spirit
of
retaliation." According
to
Ms.
Krause,-
made
it
"clear hecould
not
let
go
of
his anger on the issue." When Ms. Thayer left in October
of
2012,
there
was
a void
of
leadership
In
program management. Ms.
Krause
stated-
told program staff he
was
not going
to
rehire the program manager position
and
would take responsibility
for
the position including makingdecision regarding exhibitions, programs,
and
supervision
for
all program staff (around eight
(8)
people)in addition to
his
other duties.
Ms. Krause
indicated
-failed
o communicate with programstaff on what they were supposed to
be
doing.
This
failure
In
communication Included
not
providingInformation from leadership meetings to program staff. Ms.
Krause
stated this
was
exacerbated
by.
-lack
of
"visibility''
at
the
MAC
as
he
was frequently
not
around in order
to
convey critical
5
Policies
dted
in
this
section are
specific
to
the
allegation
and
determination
sections
and
may
not
Include
polidesImplicated during the
fact
fin
dina.
Attachment C
contains
a collection of
EWSHS
and
MAC
policies
provided
to thisInvestigator.
Page
2
of16
 
CONRDENTIAL
FINAL
information related
to
program staff projects for the museum. Ms.
Krause
contrasted this behavior withprevious
MAC
directors who would walk around and
engage
staff on a frequent
basis.Ms. Krause
stated-
lack
of
communication
and
leadership
caused
significant turmoil forprogram staff regarding the planning and execution
of
an
April
2013
event for the Rotary
Club.
According the Ms.
Krause,-
promised the Rotary
Club In
January
of
2013
an
opportunity
to
hold
an
event at the
MAC
with
access
to
library and archival material.
This
event
was
to
be
held on a
Sunday
In
mid to late April. Ms.
Krause
stated-
never informed any program staff regardingthis event
and
it
was
not until
an
outside entity, the Rotary
Club,
contacted the
MACIn
early April
of
2013,
did the program staff become aware
of
the event and the promises
by-
for archivalmaterial
to
be
available for display. Ms.
Krause
Indicated-
provided
no
communication ordirection regarding the event to program staff.
Ms.Krause
stated, "We did not know what we weresupposed to do
and
had
several questions including who
was
going to
be
the lead
and
since
it
was
a
Sunday
who
was
going to
be
responsible
for
security
and
clean up?'' Ms.
Krause
stated
she
and
otherprogram staff attempted
to
communicate
with-
regarding this event after they learned
of
It
from the Rotary
Club;
however,-
Ignored their requests
for
information whilecommunicating with the Rotary Club during this
time.-
finally communicated regarding theevent during
an
Aprill9,
2013 staff meeting making a "theatrical" apology to program staff for not"communicating" regarding the event stating,
"the
Rotary Club
had
gotten
ahead
of'
him.
went on
to
make
inappropriate comments about the Rotary
Club
stating in a disparaging way, "they justwant to sell raffle tickets."Ms.
Krause also
stated-
conduct with regard to the Rotary Club event highlights hisignorance
or
disregard
of
museum collection, preservation,
and
security protocol.
Ms. Krause
statedmuseum policies and guidelines provide
for
the appropriate preservation
of
collection material.
As
such,
decisions regarding
the
use
and display
of
such
items must take Into account the environment in whichthe items are
to
be
displayed. -according to Ms.
Krause,
promised the Rotary
Club
materialfrom the permanent collections
of
the Museum without consulting museum collections staff.
The
promise also involved exposing the permanent collection items to food
and
drink contamination,inadequate security and monitoring, and potentially detrimental light exposure.
Ms. Krause
stated the lack
of
communication and leadership
by-
was
not
isolated to theRotary event
and
includes critical programmatic information. Ms.
Krause
indicated the program staff
has
frequently
asked
what their priorities should
be
for
exhibits, collections, and museumprograms but repeatedly fails to provide "any direction"
to
staff other than general
ideasand
vague museum goals. Ms.
Krause
stated this
has
been frustrating, stressful
and
paralyzing
for
programing staff
as
it
provides "no way
for
them to plan ahead" which
is
essential in museumprogramming where exhibits
and
educational programs require significant planning
and
personneldedication. Ms.
Krause
indicated-
who made the decision
to
supervise program staff,provides no supervision to staff includins no performance evaluations,
no
one-on-one's withsubordinates,
no
career development
or
motivation discussions, and no discussions
of
problems
or
issues.
In short,
Ms. Krause
stated-
is
not
"a
supervisor"
as
he
provides "no direction."
This,Ms. Krause
Indicated,
has
led to the program staff being disjointed and although they have tried
"to
keep things together'' there needs to
be
leadership, communication, and direction. When
asked
tospeculate
as
to
why-
does
not
provide the needed leadership, communication
and
direction,
Ms.Krause
responded,
"It
is
because
he
does
not understand how a museum works." Ms.
Krause also
stated -lack
of
communication with program staff
is
"unprofessional"
and
"disrespectful"
as
Page
3of16

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