Despite being drafted more than a year ago, the governing provisions have not been executed. All that's required is the signatures of UL President Ray Authement and the president of the UL Foundation's board. The version of the bylaws given to The Independent is the same version that was drafted more than a year ago.
That draft states: "The business of the Museum shall be managed by a Museum Governing Board, which shall have full power and authority â?¦" The provisions add: "The Museum Governing Board will have sole responsibility and authority for the operation and maintenance of the Art Museum and all physical facilities comprising the Museum project." Although there is no direct reference to whether the board is responsible for terminating museum staff, it does state that the board is to be responsible for managing "the selection of a museum curator and staff."
UL Vice President of Academic Affairs Steve Landry says the board was never consulted before Authement placed former Director Herman Mhire on administrative leave in August ("Museum Meltdown," Nov. 23). Whether the board or Authement had that authority is unclear since the board has apparently been operating without provisions.
But that's not what the current UL Foundation president says. Rusty Cloutier, president of the foundation board, says in an e-mail, "I have seen the agreement, and it was done and signed by Jim Prince." But former foundation President Jim Prince, under whose watch the bylaws were drafted, says that isn't the case. He writes in another e-mail: "I may have seen a copy of the draft agreement; however, I do not recall whether said agreement was ever finalized and/or executed."
Mark Tullos, UAM's deputy director, says he can't locate a copy of the provisions but believes they had been adopted and signed by Authement. "Of course, I wasn't involved in any of that, so I don't know," he says. But a memorandum from last year states that not only was Tullos involved, he was provided with a draft of the provisions. Dated Nov. 2, 2004, Foundation Executive Director Julie Falgout sent Tullos the eight-page copy of the bylaws with the following cover letter:
"Mark, per our conversation, I am enclosing the final draft of the Governing Board provision bylaws for the University Art Museum Governing Board. The documents need to be authorized by the University President and Foundation President.
"However, I wanted you to have them to include in your board manuals. I will forward final copies for your records once authorized." Copies of this memo were also sent to Mhire and Landry.
And if the status of the bylaws isn't confusing enough, no one seems to know who has authority over the governing board. Landry says, "I think the governing board was formed to try to establish a close working relationship between [the university and the foundation]. It's hard to say it's one or the other. It's intended to guarantee participation by both." While the foundation owns the land and the museum facility, the university leases the property from the foundation and provides the museum with staff and operational costs.
Lead donor Paul Hilliard, who pledged a $3 million gift for the museum, is still confused about the governing board. "I don't know what its job is," he says. "Was it ever supposed to do anything? As far as I know, Authement came to every meeting of the governing board and controlled the agenda. So I would guess that most of them just sat there and didn't say anything because they knew this was just out there to make people think that there was actually a group of citizens." Landry says it is common for Authement to attend the meetings of university boards.
Mhire says Authement attended the meetings and controlled the governing board, even though the university president wasn't a member of the board. "He dominated most discussions whenever significant decisions had to be made," Mhire says. "The governing board usually followed the president's lead and voted accordingly. I cannot recall a single moment when a board member expressed a point of view different from the president's, or openly disagreed with the president's position on any aspect of museum policy or operation."
Hilliard is also unclear as to if or why the bylaws have never been signed or executed. "Maybe it's a fraudulent document, what they call a spurious instrument ' it doesn't mean anything," he says. "Was it just out there for public consumption? I don't know the answer to that."
Authement says, "The governing board is in a state of flux, but it is very near to completing its bylaws." For now, Landry is taking responsibility for the bylaw confusion.
"I was personally responsible for having those executed between the president and the foundation," Landry says. "We totally began to operate in the context of those governing procedures without me having them executed. â?¦ Given the attention that we're giving to it now, and recognizing my own failings in not having this executed, I will bring it to the next governing board meeting to see if they still stand now."
A new long-term strategic planning committee is studying the bylaws to see if they are in line with the stringent accreditation process administered by the American Association of Museums, a goal the university will have to attain in order to attract the large-scale exhibitions that will sustain the museum. Given the confusion and lack of clear governing authority for the museum, national accreditation seems little more than a pipe dream without significant changes to the museum's bylaws.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue — the second in the last four months.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.