EKU, arts center continue to struggle over authority issue

rcopley@herald-leader.comJanuary 23, 2013 

The search for a new director for the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts remains on hold as the center's Community Operations Board and the university struggle with the question of who would have authority over the director.

At the end of last year, the entities were grappling over the wording of a memorandum of understanding between the board and the university. But at Wednesday's meeting of the board, chairman Harry Moberly said that his most recent communication from university president Doug Whitlock was that he was interested in possibly pursuing a more formal agreement between the university and Madison County and the cities of Richmond and Berea.

The original concept for the center was for it to be a joint venture between the university and the municipalities. But the disagreement over the management of the director stems from the director's status as an EKU employee. Authority over the director became an issue in June when the university attempted to fire director Debra Hoskins. The board said the university did not have authority to do that, as that rested with the board. Hoskins resigned June 19.

Hayward "Skip" Daugherty, board member and executive assistant to Whitlock, said that the president's desire in pursing an "inter-local agreement" is to create a more binding legal structure for the center to operate under.

At Wednesday's meeting, Moberly advised board members to decide how they can move forward with a director search if an agreement has not been reached with the university. The center has been without a director since June. EKU employee Jill Price is serving as interim director.

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes.

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