Posts Tagged ‘randall reid-smith’

Cake decorating!

January 13, 2010

So this is the best use they can find for the state Culture Center? No art exhibits, no concerts scheduled, but Commissioner Reid-Smith can give us cake decorating classes, taught by an employee of Education and the Arts. I wonder if Robin Taylor had to get an Ethics Commission exemption to be paid for this.


A disrespected visionary?

June 1, 2008

Interesting items to take away from Phil Kabler’s report on the Fred Armstrong firing:

1. Randall Reid-Smith has a low threshold of pain when it comes to “disrespect.” Lack of self-esteem?

2. Kay Goodwin is not RRS’s boss. She didn’t have anything to do with hiring him, and was not involved (she says) in firing Armstrong. His backing comes from Manchin’s Chief of Staff. What the hell does she do over there all day? Apparently the Governor’s office didn’t even consult her before appointing RRS, which also shows that they were waiting for their opportunity to get rid of Troy Body and give the job to Reid-Smith.

3. RRS was given assurance he could “form his own leadership team when he was hired to carry forward his vision.” Apparently that included appointing a Museum Director with no prior experience in museums. One wonders if they are going to find an Archives Director of equal qualifications.

4. RRS claims to be a visionary, but the idea about the cafe came from consultants. Then again, no idea that RRS has come up with on his own since his tenure as Culture Czar has been a good one.


March 24, 2008

In depositions Friday, Randall Reid-Smith claimed he fired Fred Armstrong because “Armstrong was “not a team player,” and that he had ‘disrespected’ Reid-Smith.”

How do you disrespect a guy that breaks out into song in the middle of discussions and who calls all the men he talks to, whether from another state agency or even his own staffers, “Honey” in front of everyone?


January 30, 2008

RRS and Kay Goodwin took a group from the Legislature on a tour of the Cultural Center yesterday, showing them around the Archives library and storage areas. Lots of phrases were tossed around like “Many folks think this is an absolute done process, but we’re at the beginning” (Goodwin) and “proposal to relocate the archives library and install a café/gift shop in its space…is merely one possibility” (paraphrase from RRS) and “consultants who helped design…recommended adding the amenities for visitors” (paraphrase RRS).

Look, let’s get things straight. There has always been a plan for a gift shop for the museum, they want to be able to sell junk to kids. That’s a good idea, all museums do it, and all kids want to take home a reasonably-priced souvenir. (Ask the Clay Center what turns over fastest in its gift shop.) The craft shop that used to be in that space was never intended to supplement the museum, it was part of Norman Fagan’s efforts to assist WV artists. It lost a lot of money. Sadly, a gift shop would probably mean no more art exhibited at the Cultural Center, since that’s the only place left to show it.

The food idea is a recent one. Adding a food facility is not a bad idea, as long as it fits the clientele. But sticking it inside the building where they want is stupid. I’ve heard from more than one source that the building developed a rodent problem when Bill Drennen made the craft shop store and cook popcorn for his movie series, and that was on Saturdays. Imagine what would happen if there was real food being brought in seven days a week.

The library is adjacent to offices in the Center. Think about the odors drifting back through the building and out into the lobby. Do they plan to stick an exhaust vent out the side of the building?

As for “done deal” and “merely one possibility,” that’s how this has been presented to the public since it first leaked out. No one would talk about it, but plans were drawn and estimates worked out, and apparently one supervisor fired over it. No alternatives were suggested until this month.

One final quote: “This will be so thoroughly vetted that people will be sick of it.” (Goodwin) They’ve been working on it for two years and it’s just now coming into the light. It should be interesting on History Day.

Obey the law, get fired

January 27, 2008

It’s nice to see the Fred Armstrong-Randall Reid-Smith squabble back in the news, as Armstrong’s amended grievance becomes public. Armstrong cites three events he thinks led to his dismissal:

His objection to merging the two libraries; not assisting with putting in historical markers in Wayne County, which the Archives and History Commission had twice voted down;  and his objection in 2006 to sending the WV History publication to WVU. Armstrong points out that state law both requires the state to maintain an archive and requires Archives and History to publish an annual history. Does this mean Kay Goodwin broke the law when she sent the publication to Morgantown?

The business about the historical markers is most interesting, though. RRS has become known for his efforts to make Culture and History the pet of state legislators, especially powerful ones. In addition to their obligations toward legislators, such as researching and responding to constituent issues, he has the staff decorating legislative (and minions’) offices with state-owned art, spending agency money on personal decor for said offices, moving furniture around, and doing a lot of work that should be considered “personal.” Reid-Smith’s attitude is that everything gets done and no one gets slighted, in spite of the work load.

One can easily believe that Reid-Smith assured the speaker’s office that things “would get done” in spite of the legality. It would fit in with Kay Goodwin’s reprimand for trying to comply with state law.