History Museum Promises More Transparency

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- Critics of the management of the Missouri History Museum put museum leaders on the hot seat Thursday questioning payments to former museum president Robert Archibald and asking about the purchase of contaminated land on Delmar.

The Chair of the History Museum Board of Trustees and the Chair of the Missouri Historical Society Subdistrict  presented the museum`s 2013 budget during a public meeting at the Center of Clayton.

Trustee Chair John Roberts said he had been advised Archibald had to leave his post to regain momentum for the cultural institution after months of controversy.  'That`s putting it pretty bluntly, but that`s what I was told by a number of people,' Roberts told the umbrella board, the Zoo Museum District Board.

Roberts explained Archibald offered to resign but with conditions.  'He isn`t going to walk away from two contracts without something.'  Archibald had a three year contract when the controversy over his purchase of the contaminated land for $800,000 and his substantial pay erupted.  The veteran museum executive settled for a $270,000 six month consulting contract and $566,827 in unused vacation pay along with his retirement benefits.

The chair of the subdistrict, Romondous Stover said, ' I do not envision that then new chief executive  of the museum  will make anywhere near the salary that Dr. Archibald made.

The museum`s 2013 budget counts on $10 million in tax revenue.  Another four million from donations, ticket sales and memberships would complete the operating budget.  Roberts said Archibald is expected to work to raise new donations during his six month period of consulting.

Roberts acknowledged  the role of the taxpayers during an interview.  'I think the museum needs to be more aware that the substantial portion of our money results from the generosity of the taxpayers.

The umbrella Zoo Museum District Board will set the property tax rate for the five cultural institutions later this year.

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