By Terrance Gavan
RD Lawrence Place co-ordinator Sheryl Loucks, and curator of the Minden Hills Museum, Caroline McLachlan-Darling, were both handed their walking papers last week. No explanation was provided by Minden Hills Council and apparently none will be, at least until the two terminated employees have had a chance to look over their severance packages.
Reeve Barb Reid and CAO Gerry Morrison did not respond to calls before our deadline; Councilor Brigitte Gall said that for the moment, Council will not be making any statements.
“We really can’t comment at this time. It’s to allow the employees time to look at their package and respond accordingly. They need their time and they don’t need to read things in any of the papers right now. We are letting them have the time they deserve.”
Gall added that once they have reviewed the packages, Loucks and McLachlan-Darling would have an opportunity to either accept the severance or seek advice. She also told The Highlander that once the gag order has been lifted she would be happy to comment on the situation.
Interim director of the Minden Hills Cultural Centre, Laurie Carmont, posted a release pertaining to restructuring plans last week.
Loucks contacted the Highlander on Jan 31 via a Letter to the Editor with the following update:
Barb Reid told the Minden Times that she would be issuing no comment on the firings and CAO Gerry Morrison specified in that same article that any explanations would come by way of a press release.
Sharon Lawrence, wife of RD Lawrence and a huge supporter of the Minden Cultural Centre, said on Wednesday that she had not been informed of any change in plans for RD Lawrence Place, nor has she had an opportunity to talk with Loucks.
“I realize that no comments will be made to the press until a press release is issued,” said Lawrence. She added that she had heard that the release would be coming “soon” probably in early February. “It’s not fair to make any comments until the release is issued.”
Lawrence added that a recent Cultural Centre newsletter specified that some programs would be continuing, a statement which could be interpreted to mean that others will be canceled; the newsletter added that the centre it is still open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 to 5. “I don’t exactly know what programs are running, but it’s open now, and I think we still are continuing the memoir writing class with Melody Richardson once a month.”
The Cultural Centre newsletter states that, “Programs and events are undergoing some changes at RD Lawrence Place. Please call 705-286-2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure that programs you are interested in are still running.”