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Three trustees resign from museum board

May 12, 2007|By TAMELA BAKER

Three trustees of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts have tendered their resignations, but said Friday their decisions weren't related to the departure of museum Director Joseph Ruzicka.

The board of trustees declined last month to renew Ruzicka's contract. His last day at the museum was April 18.

Trustees Lois Easton, Leslie Hendrickson and M. Kenneth Long have resigned from the board since then. Long, a Circuit Court judge, said he resigned because of scheduling conflicts. Long said he knew it would be a busy time for the board as it searched for a new director, and his courthouse duties made attending the board's meetings difficult.

"It's not fair to the board of the museum," Long said.

Hendrickson said her resignation had nothing to do with Ruzicka's leaving, but was a personal decision. She declined to say more.

Easton also said her resignation was unrelated to Ruzicka's departure.

"I think it was just time for me to get off (the board)," Easton said. "I was almost at the end of my term and I thought it was time to move on." She said she had about a year left on her term.

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Museum trustees are appointed for three-year terms. Trustees may serve two consecutive terms, but must rotate off for at least a year before being appointed again. They are limited to a total of five terms.

Board Vice President Thomas C. Newcomer said Friday that the board had 18 voting members before the resignations, and three ex officio members - the mayor of Hagerstown, the president of the Washington County Commissioners and the superintendent of Washington County Public Schools.

A nominating committee will recommend new board members to replace them, and other board members whose terms expire June 30.

A search committee for the director is being assembled, Newcomer said.

In the meantime, Chris Shives, a member of the museum staff since 1985, has assumed administrative duties.

"She's doing an excellent job at that," Newcomer said.

"I'm working closely with the executive committee," Shives said. "I'll continue as long as they need me to."

Shives said patrons shouldn't notice anything different at the museum other than new exhibits.

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