Graff resigns from theater board

May 21, 1997


Staff Writer

The fifth member of The Maryland Theatre board to resign in six months is bowing out because she says she is not able to do the kind of fund-raising the theater needs.

Sue Graff, a member of the board since last June, said Wednesday that she decided to resign because "I felt that at the current time I'm just not the right type of person to help in leading The Maryland Theatre."

"It was a very difficult decision," she added.

The theater needs board members "who can generate more funds ... the people that have the connections to business," said Graff, who is a nurse. "I'm just not one of the big money folks."


The board "fell short" of its goal for every member to raise $10,000 by April 1, Graff said.

The theater needs the kind of financial support that the Washington County Hospital receives, she said.

Graff said she was not dissatisfied with the management of the theater under Board President and Acting Director Patricia Wolford.

"My decision wasn't really based on the management at all," she said.

Three theater employees resigned between October and December, citing problems with Wolford's management style and decisions.

The other four board members who resigned offered a variety of reasons.

Graff submitted her resignation letter on May 13, effective immediately, she said.

But Wolford said Wednesday that "there have been no resignations accepted by the board. There's no official resignations."

Another board member's future at the theater is uncertain.

W. Kennedy Boone III, a board member since 1994, was sworn in Monday as a Washington County Circuit Court judge.

At the swearing-in ceremony Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit Frederick C. Wright III told Boone that he must "immediately resign from the board of The Maryland Theatre."

But on Wednesday Wright said Boone is "not required to withdraw from the board. I had made that suggestion or given that advice as part of the role that I played in his investiture proceedings."

It was the "court's advice" that Boone avoid "any perception of impropriety ... (that) would perhaps raise an eyebrow about a judge using his office to benefit" any organization, Wright said.

According to judicial ethics a judge may serve on the board of an educational, religious, charitable or civic organization, subject to certain restrictions such as that the judge not solicit funds or use the prestige of his office for that purpose, he said.

"My advice was to look at the organizations in which he has been active, as an example The Maryland Theatre ... so that there are no ethical questions that are raised while he is a judge," Wright said.

Boone said he would like to stay on the theater's board if possible.

"I am checking with the judicial ethics (committee) to see if it's appropriate for me to remain on the board," Boone said Wednesday. "I'd like to assist the theater in some capacity other than fund-raising."

The other members of The Maryland Theatre board include vice president Tim Campbell, John "Jay" Frantz, Bill Hamilton, Dave Barrett and Jack Staley.

Under the theater's by-laws the board must have at least five members.

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