The Vernon Museum is providing more details on the firing, and possible rehiring, of some of its six staff.
“The Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Society was facing immediate and long-term financial difficulties that meant as soon as later this year it wouldn’t have been able to meet payroll,” said the museum’s executive director, Steve Fleck.
“We operate mostly on a grant from the Regional District of North Okanagan and the total payroll, including benefits, exceeded the grant.”
So, last week, the museum issued layoff notices to its four full-time employees and two part-timers.
The six workers are still on the job and will be for the next three months as the museum completes an assessment and starts a restructuring.
“The six employees will all meet one-on-one with the consultant (Lorelei Fiset of Lumby-based Pinnacle Communications) to give input on what the four new job descriptions should be,” said Fleck.
“All six will be encouraged to apply to any of the four new jobs they feel qualified for first. But the four jobs will also be advertised widely so we can hire the best person for the job. That may be someone who already works at the museum or it might be someone else from outside the organization. It’s a process that provides a fair opportunity to those already here, but also moves the museum forward.”
The museum is also making provisions for current museum employees to take courses and training on work time to boost skills so they are better qualified to apply for the new jobs.
“Lots of people are concerned and it’s been stressful for everyone involved, including myself,” said Fleck.
The 12,600-square-foot museum, which is located beside Vernon City Hall, has been suffering declining attendance and has struggled to keep up in a digital world.
“Of course, we want more people to come to the museum and we can do that by curating interesting exhibits,” said Fleck.
“But we also have to increase engagement and community programming by increasing our social media and digitizing materials to reach more people.”
The Vernon Museum currently doesn’t have an education co-ordinator, the person responsible for bringing student groups in from the Vernon School District.
Such groups immediately boost attendance numbers.
The four new positions won’t be finalized until the consultant has done her assessment.
However, Fleck assumes the new jobs will be more multi-faceted with increased responsibility and a component of social media promotion.
For instance, current jobs include an artifacts manager, events and marketing manager, communications and research manager, and a gift shop clerk/receptionist.
One of the new positions could be program and curation manager, and he or she would work in many areas including artifacts, events, communications, social media and maybe even lead tours when needed.
The four new positions may even pay more because of the additional skill and responsibility required.