Another theater board member quits

February 03, 1997


Staff Writer

The fourth member of the Maryland Theatre board to resign in a matter of weeks said she was quitting because of lack of time and a philosophical difference with the rest of the board over hiring an executive director for the historic downtown theater.

Sue Wright, an accountant with Albright Crumbacker Harrell & Moul, has been on the board and its treasurer since June, she said. Her resignation was effective Friday.

"I don't have the time to deal with it anymore. I'm in tax season," Wright said Monday.

Wright estimated that in the last two weeks, she has spent 10 hours of her company's time on theater matters. "I just don't feel that's fair," she said.


Wright spent New Year's Day and the last several Saturday afternoons at the theater doing basic accounting work, such as preparing quarterly tax returns and information for W-2 forms, she said.

Wright also cited a "fundamental difference" between her idea and the rest of the board's idea of its role.

Board President Patricia Wolford took over as acting director in June when then-executive director Kelley Gilbert was fired.

Three employees have resigned since October, leaving Wolford and temporary help running the office.

"We need to be hiring someone and moving on," Wright said. "I feel that what the board should be doing is supervising and directing the staff of the theater."

Hiring new staff will reassure the community that "there was something going forward with the board," she said.

"I absolutely feel there needs to be paid staff. The word is there is no money to do that. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy as far as I'm concerned," Wright said. "They're paying temporary people right now."

The board has decided to hire a managing director rather than an executive director because it would cost less, Wolford said.

But Wright said someone could be offered the executive director's job with the understanding that there were limited funds for the position and its future depended on fund-raising success.

City of Hagerstown Downtown Coordinator Karen Giffin said last week that she resigned Jan. 21 because of philosophical differences and she favored hiring an executive director rather than a managing director.

Wright also said that while she supports the board's decision to discontinue booking shows that could lose money and rely, instead, on theater rentals, the board needs to devise a plan for the future resumption of in-house productions.

In January, board members Frances Young and Heather Sutton turned in their resignations.

Young, who was serving her third three-year term, said she resigned so that she could spend more time on other activities and with her family.

Sutton, an assistant vice president and department manager at Hagerstown Trust, had been on the board since June. She did not return repeated telephone calls.

Remaining on the board are Wolford, Vice President Tim Campbell, Sue Graff, Kennedy Boone, John "Jay" Frantz, Jack Staley and Bill Hamilton.

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