UPDATE: City officials receive a letter of complaint about one of the non-profits they subsidize

UPDATE: As I reported on January 31, it seems action has taken place;

The president and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is no longer employed with the zoo, according to the board chairman.

Elizabeth Whealy had been employed with the zoo since 2005. In an email to the Argus Leader, Jeff Hugunin, the chair of the Board of the Zoological Society of Sioux Falls, confirmed Whealy’s departure, saying she had left “to pursue other opportunities.”

As I said in the post below, I think it is unfortunate, because I think she really turned the organization around, not just appearance wise but financially. But you know what they say, money isn’t everything, and sometimes you have to treat the people you work with a little nicer.

The letter was supposedly sent to the non-profit’s board of directors, city councilors and I believe the mayor’s office. They are essentially complaining about the management style of the director/CEO and blame that person for the low morale and massive employee turnover. The letter comes from an anonymous group of current and past employees.

Let’s just say it is one of the major subsidies the city has under it’s umbrella. This paragraph is troubling;

We, as a collective, love working here, but unfortunately ‘The Director’ is extremely hard to work for and creates a toxic climate.

I know what you are thinking, ‘It’s the Pavilion’. It’s not, but if it was it would not surprise me. I have actually met the person they are referencing one time at an event, and enjoyed our conversation, and I think they have done a great job turning this entity around. But what can I say, success is usually achieved by a hard ass.

I’m sure this will come out in the MSM soon.



8 comments ↓

#1 D@ily Spin on 02.01.20 at 12:12 pm

Might be the Orpheum or State Theater. The city must get out of the entertainment business and back into public infrastructure and safety. I fear Huether will come back after a required stagnancy. Then, we’ll have a movie studio, theme park, and (perhaps) an airline.

#2 l3wis on 02.01.20 at 2:42 pm

It’s not, the Pavilion is tied to the Orpheum now and the State Theater is private. This entity is set up like the Pavilion (it’s not them) the city owns them, and the property, they have a board of directors and separate management company running them, but we subsidize the facility. Like I said above, I am surprised because we have been subsidizing this place less and less since this person took over operations, they also have raised a ton of money privately. It just goes to show that somethings are not as perfect as they appear. While this director has turned around the finances and appearances of the entity, it seems this person has done it by sacrificing a good work environment, which is unfortunate. I hope the city and board of directors do a full investigation, and if there is wrongdoing heads may roll. I am also surprised the MSM hasn’t reported about this, there are many people talking.

#3 scott on 02.18.20 at 7:47 pm

good for the board to persuade her to “seek other opportunities”. most places would tell employees if they don’t like it, quit.

#4 D@ily Spin on 02.18.20 at 9:04 pm

It’s hard to get performance from civil servants. They know they can’t get fired. If a director imposes pressure it’s easy to go after him/her such that (politically) they must move on.

I was once equivalent to GS9 at city of Dallas TX as land surveyor. I was young and maxed their test so they had to hire me. I wanted to get someone reprimanded. Instead, I was told to let it ride because of the Union. I resigned and went on to form my own engineering business. After 30 successful years, I don’t regret leaving.

#5 Anonymous on 02.18.20 at 9:40 pm

I know her personally. Unbearable friggin person who has no insight or caring into how her words or actions make people feel. She brings her kid places and lets him run all over the place and do what he likes. Never keeps an eye on him at all, even when he was the age of 3.

#6 The Guy from Guernsey on 02.19.20 at 9:13 am

The stories are now surfacing that this crappy workplace environment has existed for years.
I have to wonder who’s were the ‘wrong toes’ on which she stepped in order that this action was (finally) viewed as necessary.

#7 Jon on 02.19.20 at 3:41 pm

This went on far too long. Should have been taken care of several years ago.

GFG makes a great point. She must have pushed the wrong person’s buttons to get this result. Nothing would have been done if it was just rank and file folks, sadly.

#8 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 02.20.20 at 1:10 am

Animals and a revolt, I think I read that novel in 10th grade English class. Expect the Vietnamese Pot-bellied ones to now make a move even though the monkeys most likely drafted the initial letter with the geese then airmailing it.

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