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New MAC board members could shift power

Thu., June 21, 2012, 1:45 p.m.

Four new members of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture Board could shift how the museum resolves its dispute with its terminated leader.

The new president of the board, Bruce Howard, this week appointed four new members who were members of the museum’s separate foundation board when that group voted unanimously to criticize the firing of Forrest Rodgers, who was let go in April.

Early this afternoon, the MAC board, including some of the board’s new members, met privately to discuss a possible lawsuit that could be filed by Rodgers.

The board’s bylaws give the board president the power to appoint members to vacant seats if the board’s operations committee recommends the new members. Howard said the committee recommended the appointments of all new members.

At the end of the meeting, the board publicly voted to give Howard the right to represent the board in working to resolve the dispute with Rodgers.

The new members are Al Payne, Rich Marll, Shaun Higgins and Cece Perko. Higgins is a retired executive at The Spokesman-Review.

Rodgers was terminated by the executive committee of the MAC board in April in a decision that violated board rules requiring that the museum director be fired only by the governor or by a vote of the full board.

Earlier this month, an attorney representing the MAC board offered Rodgers two months of pay and a letter of recommendation if he didn’t sue and signed a “non-disparagement” agreement. The board also for the first time outlined reasons he was fired, including “poor performance.”

Bob Dunn, who represents Rodgers, called the reasons listed for the firing as “after-the-fact, cover-your-butt rhetoric.” He rejected the MAC’s offer last week and set a deadline for today for the MAC to rehire Rodgers or pay him $750,000, according to a letter he sent to Assistant Attorney General Maureen McGuire, who represents the MAC. If the deadline is missed, Dunn said last week, he will file a lawsuit against the museum, which is a state agency, and some members of the executive committee that made the original decision to terminate Rodgers.

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