Michael Gilmore, executive director of Lexington's Explorium, which bills itself as Kentucky's only children's museum, is stepping down from his post effective April 29.
That date apparently is not soon enough for some members of the museum's board, however, and Gilmore's departure is not the only problem the Explorium board is facing. The Explorium also owes money to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.
According to Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, the city in the past paid the museum more money than it budgeted for it.
"Mayor Gray's administration inherited this financial problem, which is like a lot of others we have been dealing with," Straub said. She said the mayor was working "to recover that overpayment." The Explorium owes the city about $197,000, she said.
Gilmore, who has been the Explorium's executive director since mid-2008, submitted his resignation a week ago at a meeting of the board's executive committee.
According to a draft of minutes of a full board meeting immediately following the executive committee meeting on Jan. 26, board vice president Sarah Razor asked Gilmore whether he was willing to make his resignation effective immediately. Gilmore said he was not, according to the draft. Razor then moved to terminate Gilmore, effective immediately. The motion was amended to add a contingency/transition plan, but the amended motion failed 5-3, according to the draft.
Razor's request to Gilmore, his response and the vote followed a closed session of the board to discuss "a personnel matter that might lead to discipline or dismissal," according to the draft of the minutes.
Later in the Jan. 26 meeting, another closed session was held to discuss "a personnel matter that might lead to discipline or dismissal."
Afterward, the board's treasurer, George Allgeier, informed the board that Susan Gilmore, a part-time Explorium marketing staffer, had resigned, according to the draft of the minutes. Susan Gilmore, who has been working at the Explorium since March 2009, is Michael Gilmore's wife.
On Thursday, the Explorium board met again. One of the reasons for Thursday's meeting was to hear from a transition committee, set up at the Jan. 26 meeting to oversee the hiring of an interim director and a permanent executive director.
Allgeier told the board it could take no action on anything stemming from the transition committee meeting, which was held Thursday just before the full board meeting. The reason, he said, was that the transition committee had not given sufficient public notice about its meeting, as required by law.
Razor, who is on the transition committee, apologized for the committee's not sending out a public notice, and the full board meeting was adjourned a few minutes after it began.
After Thursday's board meeting, Michael Gilmore cited his commute between his home in Simpsonville and Lexington as a reason for his resignation.
"I just got tired of driving and the trip and everything else," Gilmore said. He said he felt good about how the Explorium has embraced Central Kentucky during his tenure, noting that the Explorium has held celebrations of counties in the area. The museum has taken programs to the counties, he said.
He also noted that the museum adopted Lexington's Harrison Elementary School and allowed students there to display their artwork at the Explorium.
As for money owed to the city, Allgeier said the Explor ium owed the city $291,000. Straub said the city froze the museum's account with the city, making the amount still owed $197,000.
Straub said that from July 2006 to June 2007, a new city computerized accounting program was not fully operational, which resulted in the city funding the museum more than it had budgeted for it. At the time, the city was processing all of the Explorium's bills, she said.
According to an audit report on the Explorium dated May, 29, 2008, local government finance and administration personnel determined that the Explorium began overspending its budgeted funds from the city in fiscal year 2005 and that by the end of fiscal year 2007 it owed the city $147,995.
The city government budgeted $169,047 for the Explor ium in fiscal year 2012.
The Explorium now handles its books itself, using an accounting firm and an independent auditor. An audit was completed recently and presented to the board last week, Allgeier said.
"We have a tight budget, but we're in the black," he said.