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May

2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report July 28, 2013 To: Executive Committee From: Forrest Rodgers Re: Response to Final Report All Following is my response to Scott Nicholsons final report; it is intended to provide you with additional context for, and insight into my efforts to lead the MAC beyond termination and reinstatement, and toward our Centennial. Irony of Gender Discrimination Charges Between 2009 and 2012, six of the employees marginalized, ostracized or terminated were male or tribal (or both) or gay. While I do not believe this demonstrates intentional gender discrimination on the part of the CEO or staff leadership, I do think it reflects a dangerous degree of cultural conformity that fears, and actively undermines change efforts. New expertise, skills and priorities threaten the status quo where unacceptably low attendance and community support put the future at risk, but where personnel decisions are based on relationships rather than results. My Leadership Style The turnaround I led at the High Desert Museum was achieved by being future- focused, data-driven and results-oriented. My leadership approach was to set strategy, build a structure to support it, and redeploy or recruit staff to implement. The change strategy was to sense the challenges (declining attendance and earned/donated income), shape a new vision and mission, shift the organization (redeploy human and financial resources and set clear accountabilities) and track results. Each member of the leadership team had written accountabilities, and I worked with each member individually to develop written commitments for how we would work together. When I arrived at the MAC in September 2011, there were no written performance evaluations of the senior staff [Bertis, Bishop, Drexel and Thayer]. After my orientation months, I developed formal performance plans for January-June 2012, but only had one review with each prior to my termination on April 24, 2012.

May 2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report General Response to Employee Complaints In the two weeks prior to her September 28, 2012 departure, Laura Thayer revised Position Descriptions and FY2013 Performance & Development Plans (PDPs) for direct reports Marsha Rooney, David Brum, Val Wahl, Rose Krause, Heidi Arbogast and Ginger Ewing. At this time, I was focused on reducing the proposed $425,000 operating deficit and meeting with key stakeholders (donors and local legislators) to repair the MACs reputation and prepare for the 2013 Legislative session. Thayer, who had told Program Staff that the proposed budget was an invest or close offer, wrote annual plans with the assumption that the Board would fund two new permanent full-time positions an Interpretive Program Manager and Collections Registrar. She did not offer any suggestions for reducing the proposed deficit. In fact, her major concern was that I decided to eliminate a $40,000 down payment for the Soulful Creatures (Egyptian animal sarcophagi) traveling exhibit. Of the six plans Thayer prepared, only two addressed professional development needs. David Brum asked to discuss further how best to shape my career goals moving forward with my current job, and to blend these with the needs of the institution, and Rose Krause sought to increase knowledge of NAGPRA policies and procedures. This training for all Program Staff occurred in October. To reduce the proposed $425,000 operating deficit to $96,000, we decided to leave vacant Thayers position [Museum Program Manager] and Ginger Ewings position [American Indian Educator]. I assumed supervisory responsibility for Program Staff and began attending weekly meetings when possible, emphasizing that my highest priorities were to re-engage donors and key stakeholders, and secure State funding for the 2013-15 biennium. Because Program Staff had developed strong collaborative skills, had new annual plans, and a priority to complete SpoMA for its March 2 opening, I told them I believed they should be able to work effectively without active, much less, day-to- day supervision. To give Program Staff additional support during this transitional period, I initiated the Diagnostic Assessment to assess staff capabilities, the potential for integrating the MACs three content strands, and opportunities to achieve efficiencies and economies in future exhibits. Concurrently, I worked with DES/HR consultant Marilyn McNeil to identify and propose solutions to staff confusion and concerns over my termination and

May 2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report reinstatement. McNeil interviewed all staff and several key partners. During this process, she learned of incidents that occurred during my absence and required a formal investigation; when completed, the individuals involved were informed of the findings, but McNeil and I decided not to take formal action against them. Throughout October and early November, I met with Program Staff to discuss the Board-approved priority to reinvent the visitor experience and its implications. During these conversations, one member asked Why is attendance so important, it makes up so little of our budget? Others questioned attendance data and rejected teacher feedback that a major reason for declines in school visits was the lack of semi-permanent exhibits they could incorporate into annual plans. The Program Staffs collective reasoning for poor attendance was weve lost so many staff and were all so overworked. One said, Im tired of working 65 hours a week. In November, McNeil reported that staff was divided over my termination and reinstatement; she observed that most expressed an interest in moving forward, and encouraged me to increase outreach and informal communication with staff. At the next All Staff meeting, I publicly acknowledged the criticisms of my leadership and communication style, and began describing how I would work to adapt my style to the existing culture. A Program Staff member interrupted me, saying she was uncomfortable with the conversation, effectively pre-empting any possible open discussion of the issues. In December, McNeil encouraged me to hire a management consultant to help address internal conflicts between Program Staff and others, support my leadership without inhibiting the need for change, and form an effective leadership team. I discussed with the Executive Committee my concerns about the cost and doubts that the investment would address the underlying interests of Program Staff, and the Museum Services and Communication & PR managers. In January, I began working with Program Staff and McNeil to develop and secure DES approval of the position description for a Director of Museum Experience. The Director would be accountable for re-imagining the MAC, increasing visitor-driven income and inspiring donors. However, knowing the position would not be filled until September at the earliest, the Board approved my request to engage Renate for exhibit design & development consulting.

May 2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report In February, the MAC released an RFP for consulting services; in March we reviewed applicants but were dissatisfied with the candidates and cancelled the RFP. At this time, McNeil counseled me to prepare a business plan to demonstrate the need to make the personnel changes required to re-staff for the future. Gender Discrimination Charge Related to Ryan Hardesty In early March 2012, I asked Marsha Rooney, the Senior Historian and longest- serving Program Staff member, to serve as Interim Museum Program Manager. When Rooney declined, Anne Bernard recommended, and I agreed, that Ryan Hardesty would be the most appropriate person to serve as liaison to Renate and lead the internal design & development work. As Exhibit Preparator, Ryan has been responsible for exhibit layout, graphics, and object safety and placement. He earned the MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and worked at the Massachusetts Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA) before joining the MAC as Art@Work coordinator. He assumed his current role since 2009. Ryan has no formal training in exhibit design or development, so he embraced the opportunity to work with Renate, developing a new skill set and advancing his professional development. Due to Bernards recommendation, my need to be in Olympia, and my eagerness to designate accountability for the process, it did not occur to me to take time to consult with his supervisor, Collections Manager Val Wahl. She certainly has reason to feel that my actions were discourteous and/or disrespectful of her role as his supervisor. I did not take time to reflect on the MACs curious organizational structure, whereby the Exhibit staff is subordinate to the Collections staff. This structure reflects the priority given to maintaining and preserving objects in the MACs care, rather than providing public access to them and may help to explain the overabundance of policies regarding access to the collection. This new assignment represents an opportunity to invest in a valued employee; with new skills and growing confidence in them, Ryan has the potential to assume the Interim Director of Museum Experience role if we are unable to fund the permanent position for several years. Gender Discrimination Charge Related to David Brum David Brum joined the MAC in 1999; he has served as Curator of Education, Volunteer Program Manager, Curator of Community Programs, and coordinator of the Mothers Day Tour and ArtFest fundraising events. David is the only Program Staff member certified to teach in Washington public schools; he has masters degrees in Teaching and in History (emphasis in preservation and museum studies).
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May 2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report Prior to my termination, I talked with David about his professional goals, and explored ways to shift his role to prepare him for a possible future role as director of a museum or historical society. Upon my return, and with re-booting K-12 programming a strategic priority, I re-started the conversation with him about leading the effort; he embraced the idea, and accepted the responsibilities described in the new Community Learning manager position. This new assignment is a challenge David will have to meet, and demonstrate early progress toward, but it aligns his credentials, talents and interests with an institutional priority. Gender Discrimination Charge Related to Jose Angel A primary goal of the exhibit design & development contract with Renate is to develop more efficient & economical methods for future exhibits. Because Jose Angel is a talented graphic designer, I asked Anne Bernard whether or not he could be more involved in developing exhibit graphics. Anne agreed to consider the possibility; my recollection is that she asked to meet with him, although it may be that we agreed, or I asked her, to meet with Jose. The intent of the meeting was to assess his skills and abilities, and not to make any assignment. It is true that I did not inform Joses supervisor, Communication & PR Manager Becky Bishop, that Anne would be meeting with him. As a result, she may have felt I was being discourteous and/or respectful toward her. However, Beckys response to this incident might have been driven by concern that Jose would reveal that he was never consulted about graphic design during the year-long process to re-make our web site. (As a consequence, our 100 Stories graphics will follow the standards set by a contractor, rather than our own full-time graphic designer.) Next Steps Prior to the complaint and at McNeils urging, I spent significant time gathering/analyzing data and writing/editing a business plan. The purpose was to make the case that the agency, facing an operating deficit and declining caseload, needed the ability to shape the organization to meet current and future revenue and mission requirements. The plan targeted positions to be eliminated [Museum Services Manager, Communications & PR Manager, and .5 FTE of the Art Educator position] and identified needed new positions [Director of Museum Experience, Interpretive Program Manager and a .45 FTE Digital Marketing Specialist. These changes were discussed in detail with, and supported by McNeil. Our current financial status is an opportunity to discuss with DES and the Assistant Attorney General for Employment options for staffing the MAC for the future. Otherwise, our cost structure will further erode our ability to generate local revenue.
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May 2013 Complaint and Investigation into Executive Directors Leadership Forrest Rodgers Response to Final Report Even should we secure a one-time recalibration of our maintenance level funding during the 2014 session, and increase our annual appropriation by $300,000 to $400,000, we still will have to address the intransigence and resistance of staff unable or unwilling to embrace the changes required to move forward. For me to accomplish what I think you brought me here to do, I need to be able to: 1. Spend more time inspiring Trustees, foundation program officers, individual donors and key stakeholders about the enormous opportunities ahead; 2. Create an effective leadership team that can accomplish day-to-day activities that support our strategic priorities; 3. Get beyond concerns about my termination & reinstatement and resolve proposed personnel changes; and 4. Spend whatever time necessary to secure a new level of maintenance funding. My intent in preparing this response is not to re-visit the recent past, but to give you additional insight into my efforts to lead the MAC, and especially the Program Staff, toward a more vibrant future. I am committed to moving this important institution forward, and am grateful for your support.