Feb 26, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff WriterThe Fremont County Museums Board continues to face questions about plans to name a central director to oversee all three county museums. The Fremont County Commission directed the museums board some months ago begin looking to fill the new position.
At the February museums board meeting in Lander, acting chairman Jon Lane said 26 applications were received, with the list narrowed to five finalists. Three were interviewed, one dropped out, and the fifth could not make time to be interviewed after two attempts.
Two of the candidates were interviewed publicly and taken to the county museums in Lander and Riverton. The board allowed the third applicant to remain anonymous.
The rest of the 21 applicants were ranked in case a second round of interviews was needed. Lane said all options would be exhausted with the three preferred candidates before moving back to the larger list.
"We have received clear directions from the commission to get with this, so we are doing so," said museums trustee Carol Chidsey.
Some in the audience questioned the process.
"Why did one of the candidates ask to be anonymous?" one audience member. "That doesn't sit right with me."
Fremont County deputy attorney Jodi Darrough said that in the state of Wyoming, candidates can ask to remain anonymous for many reasons.
Questions also arose as to why the candidates were not taken to the Dubois museum during the interviews.
Lane said the central director would have a centralized work location to handle museum business. The person would need a broad understanding of the museums and would hire personnel --such as branch managers --as necessary. The branch managers, not necessarily the central director, would be responsible for the running of the specific museums.
Museums trustee Tom Duncan said commissioners originally were going to fund the director position from general funds. However, because it is so late in the fiscal year, the board now has to find funding within its own budget to cover the cost.
"We have enough vacancies at the moment (to cover the cost)," Lane said.
The board tentatively scheduled a special meeting for 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 at the Fremont County Commission chambers to discuss amending the board's budget to cover the position.
"So, let me get this straight in my mind," said Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman. "You have been searching for nine months for a central director,but you didn't have money (for the position)."
Lane said it was his understanding the commissioners gave the museums board permission to move forward with the search, which commissioners were going to fund. But, due to the timeline, the board now has to fund the position for the rest of this fiscal year, which ends June. 30.
Blakeman asked when the board thought the central director would be hired.
"The crystal ball is not really working here," Lane said, laughing. He said there is a process the board has to follow.
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