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Museum board treasurer takes heat at meeting

Apr 4, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Museums Board treasurer was under fire for the second meeting in a row after delivering a seconds-long report March 13.

Board treasurer Carol Chidsey gave her report in two sentences and said she met with board trustee Tom Duncan and Sheila Lopez, the board's administrative assistant at the time, the day before to go over bookkeeping.

"We are about 75 percent of the way through the year," Chidsey said. "We are pretty close to being 75 percent of the way through the budget."

After finishing her statement, Duncan asked if Chidsey would review some of the places where the museums system is "really overspent and why."

"(We) went through this yesterday," Chidsey said to Duncan. "If you are particular on (the budget), you discuss it."

Chidsey said the budget should be nearly balanced, because although there are some areas that are overspending, other areas are "way under."

"The public should be informed," Duncan said. "If you are not comfortable, then I can (explain)."

Duncan then went through the bookkeeping and highlighted areas with notable spending.

In Dubois, Duncan said there are a high number of service agreements because of contractual work that had to be done.

He said that although electric bills have been pretty close to budget, the natural gas bills are exceeding their limit in Lander. Duncan noted the prices were the same for the Riverton Museum, however, Riverton has only spent 61 percent of its budget for natural gas.

It was determined that problems with the furnace might be to blame.

The Riverton Museum is particularly up in the travel area, but Duncan said this could be due to how previous directors traveled.

"This budget is going to be really different than usual because of the lack of personnel," Duncan said.

Duncan explained in Dubois there are three part-time employees instead of two full-time employees, and in Riverton, there is one full-time employee instead of three.

In Lander, Duncan said, personnel is tracking pretty close to normal for that museum with the exception of not having a curator.

In other business

During the meeting, the Fremont County Museums Board of Trustees went into a 30-minute executive session.

All four members of the board, which includes Duncan, Chidsey, acting chairman Jon Lane and trustee Erin Shirely, along with Fremont County Commissioner Stephanie Kessler entered into executive session for litigation, personnel and security reasons.

Lopez was not included in the meeting, as she normally is.

Once the board returned to open session, no motions were made as a result of the executive session.

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