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Lander chamber director named first county museums chief

Mar 5, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

For the first time, Fremont County has a central director of museum operations.

The Fremont County Museums board of trustees has named Scott Goetz to the new post with a tentative start date of March 17.

He will administer the county museums in Riverton, Lander and Dubois.

Goetz is the current executive director of the Lander Area Chamber of Commerce.

His starting salary is $63,000 plus benefits, according to the board's budget.

"Scott has a great balance of professional experiences in Fremont County, " said acting board chairman Jon Lane.

Goetz worked for the Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites at South Pass City State Historic Site, which demanded museum training and historic research along with exhibit preparation and collections management.

"While at South Pass City, Scott had a strong hand in public programming, educational tours, and working with the volunteer museum support association," Lane said.

From there, Goetz became the executive director of the Lander chamber, where he had an emphasis in promotion, fundraising, event organization and administration, Lane said.

"While there, Scott significantly expanded chamber membership, worked to promote member businesses, as well as to recruit tourism, new families and community enhancement," Lane noted.

The vote to approve Goetz was not unanimous. While interviewing to fill the newly created position, Goetz asked to stay anonymous and for references to not be checked unless he was offered the position, according to board trustee Carol Chidsey when trustee Tom Duncan asked if a background check had been completed.

"I cannot vote on this without seeing his background -- just so you know where I am coming from," Duncan told Lane before he gave his "nay" vote.

The Fremont County Museums board of trustees voted 3-1 to approve Goetz contingent upon reference and background checks.

Budgets

The salary and benefits for Goetz will be funded through the Fremont County Museums board of trustees budget. Trustees approved an action item to move funds from the three museums' budgets to the board's budget to pay Goetz through the end of the fiscal year, which ends in June.

According to the budget modification approved Feb. 27, the museums board moved $10,359 from each the Lander and Dubois museums' budgets and $10,360 from the Riverton Museum's budget -- totaling $31,078 Goetz will receive in salary and benefits this fiscal year.

"It was my understanding that the commission would cover salary/benefits for the (countywide museums director) during the current budget fiscal year 2014," Duncan said. "The position was not in the FY14 museums budget that the commission approved in July 2013. Salary/benefit-related funds accumulated when four full-time staff resigned from the museums system July-December 2013. This left funding available to cover the new position, and consequently, easy to find within the budget."

According to both Lane and Duncan, a budget will be presented to commissioners for FY14 requesting the funds necessary to operate.

Fremont County Commissioner Stephanie Kessler, the museums board liaison from the commission, agreed that the museums board would be presenting a budget with its needs to the full commission.

However, part of Goetz's job will be combing the budgets for new efficiencies, which will help to cover his salary and benefits, she said.

"(Commissioners) aren't expecting to see much of an increase, if at all," Kessler said about the addition of the countywide museums manager. "Not to mention (the museums board) has well over $100,000 in reserved funds that could, potentially, be used to fund the position."

Kessler did note that by the time Goetz starts his position, there will be only a short period for him to find those efficiencies before budgets are presented to the county for the new fiscal year.

"We can't set unrealistic goals," Kessler said.

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Fremont County Museums Board