Several members of the board of the Explorium, Lexington's children's museum have responded to a letter from Mayor Jim Gray concerning problems at the museum.
Gray sent the letter to the board's president Friday.
In a letter hand-delivered Monday, Explorium board president Kyle Lake, vice president Sarah Razor, secretary Emily Lane and board members Josh Ackerman, Tim Davis, Julie Lewis and Jacqueline Long said they wanted to assure the mayor and the community that they are dedicated to "aggressively and transparently resolving any challenge that the Explorium encounters."
Gray, in his letter, had told Lake he was requesting a letter about issues facing the museum and corrective actions being taken and said he wanted to have a meeting to discuss those things. Gray said a Herald-Leader article had "raised considerable concern about the organization's personnel practices, board membership, nepotism, adherence to open-meetings laws, funds due to the government and general operational issues."
Never miss a local story.
Susan Straub, Gray's spokeswoman, said Tuesday: "We appreciate the way the board has responded. The Mayor has received an initial letter, and we look forward to continued cooperation."
Straub also said she was told that two board members, board treasurer George Allgeier and Gene Travers, are planning to send a separate letter or letters to the mayor.
The board members who sent Monday's letter said the board is prepared to answer any questions about the resignation of Explorium executive director Michael Gilmore "in a meeting to best keep personnel matters confidential." They also said the board plans to hire an interim executive director by the end of the week. Gilmore's resignation, submitted in January, is effective April 29.
The board members also said the board has contacted the Kentucky Nonprofit Network to conduct specialized training for all Explorium board members. They said they anticipate that the training will be completed by the end of February. They said that Explorium board members have already received training from United Way of the Bluegrass and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government programs. Gray, in his letter, said he hoped Explorium board members would participate again in the training program operated by the local government.
As for money owed to the local government, the board members said they look forward to continuing to work with Gray's administration to reach a resolution of the issue.
According to Straub, a city computerized accounting program that was not fully operational from July 2006 to June 2007, played a role in the city providing more money for the museum than it had budgeted for it. At the time, the local government was processing all of the Explorium's bills. She said Friday that the city had frozen $97,000 in the Explorium's account with the city, leaving $194,000 owed by the museum. The city stopped processing the Explorium's bills in June 2009.
When the city was handling the Explorium's bills, the local government paid the Explorium's expenses directly, "without regard to whether those expenses were exceeding amounts deposited" into a sweep account, the board members' letter says. "Because it was not paying the expenditures, the Explorium was unable to reconcile whether the expenditures the Urban County Government made were in line with the museum's budget or the museum's actual income."