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Missouri History Museum To Share Powers With Commissoners

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - In a major step Friday, members of the Missouri History Museum's Board of Trustees voted to share more power with commissioners who represent taxpayers.  Recent criticism from members of the public and the umbrella Zoo Museum District Board preceded the vote.

Wednesday, Zoo Museum District Board member Robert Lowery publically called for Museum President Robert Archibald to resign.

A review of operations by the district board revealed a questionable land deal that went sour, the promise of funding for the Delmar trolley and details regarding compensation being paid to museum president Robert Archibald that included hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of unused vacation days.

Under a new agreement with the History Museum Subdistrict Commission (part of the Zoo Museum District) budget planning would be shared equally by museum trustees and commissioners as would decisions regarding executive compensation.   The museum's president would continue to report to the museum's Trustee Board, but no land could be purchased or expenditures over $300,000 made without the approval of the subdistrict Commission.

The new agreement attempts to address complaints from subdistrict commissioners that they had been denied access to financial documents regarding the museum operation.  It establishes new checks and balances for the operation of the institution.

The museum receives ten million dollars a year from St. Louis City and County property taxpayers toward a 16 million dollar annual budget.

Late Friday afternoon, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay praised the action saying it "is a strong first step" toward restoring "badly broken taxpayer confidence in the institution."

Betsey.Bruce@tvstl.com
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