Archive for Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Davis severs ties with CLEAR group

October 9, 2002

After several weeks of controversy, Kathy Davis, founder and long-time executive director of the CLEAR Foundation, has chosen to "cease" her "participation" with the organization.

Davis was asked to take a sabbatical or resign as executive director several weeks ago, she said, adding that she declined both options. The CLEAR Foundation is best known for its presentation of numerous plays in Baldwin, including the major production each June.

Numerous meetings involving the foundation's board of directors and others were held during the last month regarding the issue. There was a special meeting Monday night where it was hoped the matter could be resolved. Davis chose not to attend, instead sending a letter via her daughter.

In that letter, Davis stated she had chosen to "cease my participation with the present CLEAR Foundation as it is presently configured."

Board president Linda Ballinger said Tuesday that Davis' letter leaves open the possibility of her returning to a differently aligned group.

"Basically what it says is 'if we can get rid of the present board, I may be back,'" said Ballinger.

Davis said that's not exactly true.

"What I said was should the board decide to change its stance, it can certainly contact me," Davis said Tuesday.

CLEAR spokesperson Lynn George said the board regrets that Davis has decided on her course of action.

"On Monday Kathy's daughter delivered a letter and in this letter Kathy announced her decision to sever her ties with our group," said George. "I'm interpreting this as a letter of resignation. We regret that Kathy feels this is necessary. She can continue to have a leadership role with the organization if she so chooses. We all recognize her many accomplishments."

George also outlined how the board had proceeded on the matter, including that it was a personnel issue that board members didn't think should be made public. The board is not bound by Kansas Open Meetings laws, she said.

There have been numerous accusations floating around town on both sides of the issue. George addressed several of them.

"Why did we initiate this action in the first place? It was not an intended 'power play' to oust Kathy as many of her supporters portray," said George. "The board truly wished to refine our operational structure in accordance with our by-laws, and to organize an annual meeting with elections.

"Since receiving a grant from the Kansas Arts Commission, we have agreed to abide by certain requirements. Since this is a board-driven endeavor, Kathy was offered a sabbatical during this restructuring, and was informed that the board planned to offer her a position at the conclusion," she said.

The decision has also been made to change the name of the group to more accurately portray what it does. It will now be known as Baldwin City Community Theatre. Also, the group will have an annual meeting in January where members will be able to vote on future board representation.

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