Home > Clarke Historical Museum, Eureka California > Clarke Museum makes cruel Christmas cut

Clarke Museum makes cruel Christmas cut

[Submitted anonymously.]

20120102-083815.jpgAfter nearly 12 years as the Director/Curator of the Clarke Museum, Pam Service was fired from the Clarke Museum shortly before Christmas.

Officially the reasons are solely financial; the Clarke has been having budget troubles for some years, and had already gone through multiple rounds of trying to decrease expenses. Pam had prepared multiple different proposals for the Board on ways to decrease expenses while still retaining a Director/Curator, including cutting her position to part-time and eliminating her health insurance. But finally, after an Executive Board meeting on December 20th, Pam was informed that she was no longer on the staff, and she had until the end of the day to clear out her desk.

To fire someone after nearly twelve years of service — not for any wrong-doing, but merely (officially) for budget reasons, and then to not even give any notice or any time to tie up loose ends before the person is terminated — seems uncalled-for, cruel and unprofessional behavior. One cannot help wondering why she was not at least given until the end of the year to remain on staff and to complete some of the projects she had open. Exhibits that she was in the process of working on are now abandoned. The other staff members who have expressed their support for her and their shock at this development are now left to try and pick up the pieces – and to face the impossible task of somehow taking on the Director/Curator’s duties between them, which none of them have the training or the time to do, in addition to the responsibilities they already fulfill.

  1. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 9:20 am

    As stated this sounds unreasonable. There must be something else?

  2. Dusty artifact
    January 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    That’s a huge loss. The Fortuna Depot Museum smartly hired Pam’s daughter a few years ago and she turned it into a true museum. Before Alex arrived they had non-trained people running the museum proving that a museum curator/director makes all of the difference. Having someone run a museum as a “hobby” or simply because they have a great interest in history is a recipe for disaster.

  3. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

    The other staff members

    How many people does the museum employ? I’m surprised the answer is more than one. What are its funding sources???

  4. January 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Who, exactly, fired her? This is terrible news.

  5. just middle class
    January 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Many orginizations and businesses have to make tough decisions to eliminate positions, but unfortunately this blog seems to be “reporting” on something that they seem to know little about, which is unfortunate for the orginizationa and the past employee. Making a political issue about something like this can make it very difficult for the past employee to get a new job, how unfortunate and I do not see any good comming from this “report”.

  6. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 10:29 am

    True. If the anon tipster thought s/he was divulging a great wrong in support of the person who was let go, sorry, but airing dirty laundry isn’t doing the person’s job prospects any favors. Anyone remember a few years ago when Arcata Main Street let go its director (on Christmas Eve!), and the departure of KHSU’s manager? There are no winners in releasing this news/gossip.

  7. Julie Timmons
    January 2, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I nominate the brave anon who posted at 9:40 am to run the museum single-handedly. Surely they’ll be willing to do it for free.

    I don’t think this is a “political issue”. Who’s making it one?

  8. January 2, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Certainly would not want any one in any
    area of Humboldt County to expect commoners
    to be exposed to the facts surrounding the spending
    of public funds.
    Don’t look there! Don’t ask.

    Democracy minus transparency = Humboldt County

  9. Goldie
    January 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

    While information like this is released with a price it is worthwhile for the community to know that there were other options and this is the one the board choose. Pam was willing to work part time and without benefits. I feel for Pam for she put her heart into her work.

  10. Pat Bitton
    January 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

    If we really want transparency in Humboldt County, everyone who posts here should post under their own name. If you don’t, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  11. Just Middle Class
    January 2, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Again, the options that the Board may have had or not had are not available. This is a political issue if there is only guesses and informing the community is false since there is not reliable information. Just poor judgement, I fear.

  12. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I don’t know any of the parties and don’t really have much of an opinion, except it certainly sounds cruel to dismiss someone and show them the door the same day. To find out more, anyone interested could contact the people listed on the Clarke’s 2010 tax form:

    Wendy Walund, Treasurer
    W Donald Hill, Director
    Shirley Laos, Director
    Roy Shappard, VP
    Rosemary Hunter, Trustee
    Mock Wahlund, Advisory Board
    Lonnie Wellman, Pres
    Lisa Slack, Director
    Lane Strope, Trustee
    John Winzler, Trustee
    John Burger, Advisory Board
    Jim Moranda, Director
    Jerry Hale, Trustee
    Gary Albee, Director
    Charles Petty, Secretary
    Ann Sullivan, Director

  13. Plain Jane
    January 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

    You should start a blog on Humboldt County issues and require people to use their real names, Pat. Good luck with that.

  14. Sir Pomphrey Snicklefritz
    January 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I second Jane’s motion.

  15. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 11:39 am

    “If we really want transparency in Humboldt County, everyone who posts here should post under their own name”.

    With the new Citizen’s United ruling added to the existing corporate-government corruption, the blogs could become the last place to find transparency. Knowing the names of the Wall Street execs, the regulators, the Senators, and the U.S. president did nothing for transparency, or accountability in illegal wars, bailouts, outsourcing, offshore tax havens, etc, etc,.

    This didn’t look like a political issue until the board member’s names were listed above.

    Watch for one of their own to become the next curator, its how that city has operated forever, especially in hard-times.

  16. wondering?
    January 2, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    The Clarke Board of Directors skews conservative, and Pam was a longtime Democratic activist and member of the Central Committee of the Humboldt County Democratic Party. Would this have happened if Pam was a Republican activist, good ol’ girl and Arkley butt-kisser?

  17. just middle class
    January 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Well now, with Wondering?’s comments, it truly is a political issue, how unfortunate.

  18. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    The Clarke Museum is a local treasure. I can remember going there for the first time many years ago.

  19. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Would this have happened if Pam was a Republican activist, good ol’ girl and Arkley butt-kisser?

    If you add to your mythical equation the museum’s finances being mythically great, you’re right, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

    It’s interesting how you wall yourself off from reality to see only what you want to see. Did you not read the anon description Heraldo posted? It presumably was posted in opposition to the board’s decision, but it reads more like a sensible explanation of the circumstances.

  20. January 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Perhaps, rather than sling accusations – you should donate generously to the Museum, with your donations specifically earmarked for curator salary. Like the recent school building purchase, the community CAN save things like this IF it values them.

    How can you possibly doubt that this is for budget reasons? The museum has never been rolling in money. And in today’s economy, it has to be pretty bleak. Impossibly bleak, and getting worse.

  21. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    No Rose, this is all Dave Tyson’s fault.

  22. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Except for the zoo, lots of funding there….oh, and the Chamber…and the ….

  23. wondering?
    January 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Hey Just Middle Class,

    Were you a political advisor to Herman Cain’s presidential campaign? Your arguments are cut from the same cloth.

    That’s right – how dare I note factual circumstances germane to the issue at hand, and ask simple questions regarding their relevance. This whole thing oughta be just neatly swept under the rug – right?

  24. High Finance
    January 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    “zoo, lots of fuding there..”

    How many visitors were at the zoo last year compared to the museum ?

  25. Decline To State
    January 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I recently read that the museum was able to find the financing to now light up the outside of their building at night. Lights/utility bills-yes, Curator/Director-no. One must have their priorities.

  26. January 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I may not agree with your need to be “Anonymous”; but I will defend your right to be ‘Anonymous’ to the the bitter, horrible and even squishy, death.

    In the Trappist monastery Anonymous is sacred and it’s the highest form of humility.

  27. just middle class
    January 2, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Wondering?, I question your “facutal circumstances germane to the issue”. If these are facutal, quote your source! Otherwise, it is just your guess as to what the situation is or was. Since you do not have a names “reliable source” then it is just a political statement and cernainly does not rise to the level of germane. Sorry.

  28. January 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Thank You, moviedad.

  29. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    How many visitors were at the zoo last year compared to the museum ?

    Good question. I’ve been to the zoo maybe a dozen times, but not once to the museum after living here two decades.

  30. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Look around dip sticks. Has the news hit this world renowned blog that folks like her in similiar capacities are getting the ax all around the State.
    Why, I ask has not the story about the head hunting of Barbara Walser, the Exec Director of Easter Seals gotten the same.
    Talk about a local organization that has led the Nation in it’s work towards a worthy goal….but no, let’s find one of the biggest libs in our area and whine for her…..too bad, but these are tough times.

  31. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I know 7 of those people personally on that list of board members. This is a pretty responsible bunch. I have sympathy for them over their decision, and since I know Pam as well, more sympathy for her. I think she has worked hard for the Clarke.

  32. anon
    January 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I heard Arkley wants to turn it into a Home Depot.

  33. Anonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    There is just no money. This museum speaks to the true local history. Not that interesting to most.

  34. Suburbanonymous
    January 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Face it, everyone has a shelf life in Humboldt County. Her “use by” date just expired.

  35. Jack Sherman
    January 3, 2012 at 12:00 am

    “How many visitors were at the zoo last year compared to the museum”?

    I must agree with “High finance.” Community popularity should be considered as a condition of public funding.

    Since less than half of the businesses in Eureka belong to the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, taxpayer funding to one of Eureka’s richest private clubs is utterly absurd.

    The Humboldt Visitor’s Bureau does a fantastic job and could do much more. Their financial records are public, the Chamber’s are not.

    Our worsening economy is exposing the hypocrites who call themselves “conservatives” without shame in protecting their political sacred cows and duplicated services that taxpayers can’t afford.

  36. walt
    January 3, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Only the little people do austerity.

  37. Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Eureka’s “richest” private club is neither exclusive nor rich. It is struggling, like many clubs and many businesses. Any tax funding to this club is related to preserving a special historic structure and is not related to the fact that anyone “special” belongs to the club. You should have a look at the members of this club. There is now a wide range of types of businesspeople represented and would not be considered a good old boys institution.

  38. insider
    January 3, 2012 at 8:23 am

    “No Rose, this is all Dave Tyson’s fault.” I have to agree Dave Tyson has always had in for Pam and the Museum.

  39. Down the Road
    January 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Put a caged animal in the museum and call it an annex to the zoo.
    Frank would back that or ask David back it. Tawnie’s lawsuit
    against the city ended up costing more than a million including the
    retirement she received. Better yet Fire Tyson, then we would
    have money and a better run city.

  40. Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Someone should give this town two machine guns to shoot both feet with. The only thing they can actually relate to is tiny Sequoia Park and the zoo. The picture of the poor captive Chimpanzee hanging in City Hall is a clue as to how lame this town is.

  41. Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Doesn’t the Chamber get $150,000 from the city? There are at least 2 things wrong with Pam to be palatable to the good ole boyz-She is a liberal and not a native of Humboldt.

  42. Carol
    January 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Pam, wishing you and Bob all the best, Sometimes when a door closes another one opens. I hope this will lead you to something better. Did you know that Pam is also a published sci-fi writer? Talented lady!

  43. Carol
    January 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm
  44. Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Just what we don’t need. We now lose an intelligent and talented individual that made our town at least seem like it had come close to being a civilized place for tourists and locals. To those of you that never went to the museum? That figures. Just a symptom of the huge lower class that permeates this unlucky city.

  45. Insider2
    January 4, 2012 at 6:37 am

    The museum receives $25,000 per year from the City plus the use of the

  46. Anonymous
    January 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

    How much does the Chamber of Commerce receive? And how is it used? Does Hockaday’s salary come from the payment of city funds.

  47. Anonymous
    January 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Walser worked for the American Cancer Society and was laid off, along with 22 other ACS Community Service Directors statewide. Easter Seals director went about a year earlier.

  48. Alas
    January 5, 2012 at 1:29 am

    The ACS, like the Chamber, could double their memberships if their messages were relevant.

    One, keeps silent on the cancer epidemic and the toxins in everyday products, while the other trumpets the big box/sprawl agenda of their deep-pocket members which has undermined the quality of life that attracts capital investment.

    Enjoying those tacos at Stanton’s Cafe?

  49. January 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Political all the way. Arkley had his influence and the board voted 6-5 following the good ol’ gang.

  50. January 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Last time I saw numbers, the Chamber got around $100,000 PLUS free rent on a million dollar city owned property. The zoo was pushing something like $700,000.
    I guess ‘culture’ ain’t important here. 25 G’s for our past and our history doesn’t seem like much.

    I’ve been to the museum a number of times in recent years. I haven’t been to the zoo since the prairie dogs were ‘buried’.

  51. High Finance
    January 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “million dollar city owned property”

    Laughable statement. It is worth about a third of that amount.

    Then Mouse makes the intentional mistake of pretending the $100,000 paid to the Chamber is a gift of public monies, it isn’t. Those funds are from the Bed Tax paid by tourists at Eureka’s motels. The Chamber is required to spend that $100,000 on tourism outreach and services which help bring more tourists and their dollars to town.

    Mouse may have been to the museum many times more than the zoo, but he is old and has no young children. The total visits last year at the zoo dwarfs the total visits at the museum.

  52. Anonymous
    January 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    No that’s what you would expect to pay Steve, after Tyson discounts the property to you like he did the Daily building for you and your head man robbie..Let us pay for another of your projects. I thought you good christians told the truth. The way to know if you are lying Steve, is your lips are moving. Ask the lady who you bought the property from on 101 in front of the radio station where your office is what she thinks of you. I used to watch you at church. oh never mind. Needless to say I’m not a fan of yours anymore.

  53. High Finance
    January 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    The Daily building was “discounted” because the Daily building was a wreck and falling ever more quickly into ruin. Nobody else wanted it or could afford the massive repairs needed. What is the value of a building nobody wants ? ZERO.

    After pouring millions into it, the citizens benefited by having beautiful buildings in its place. The taxpayers benefited because now we received tens of thousands of dollars a year in property taxes from it.

  54. Anonymous
    January 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Please, can’t you guys spell “DALY” properly? Also, the guy on the news, calling the Mattole Valley or River the MATTOLLEY. My god.

  55. jr
    January 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Don’t they know that on the North Coast the “e”s are silent as in Del Nort

  56. Anonymous
    January 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Who is Steve?

  57. Sparticus
    January 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I am Steve!!!!

  58. Apologist Not
    January 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    High Finance says:
    January 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “The Chamber is required to spend that $100,000 on tourism outreach and services which help bring more tourists and their dollars to town”.

    I have to agree with High Finance here, the Chamber is supposed to spend their huge public subsidy on tourism outreach.

    The problem is that the Chamber of Commerce does not keep separate detailed schedules on how this money is spent, in fact, this is a private club and their financial reports are not made available to the general public that subsidizes them.

    The Visitors Bureau financial reports are transparent and they already provide Humboldt County with superior tourist outreach.

    It’s always amusing when we catch so-called “conservatives” defending public pork for their friends, while Eureka struggles annually to balance its budget, (theoretically) forced to cut $25,000 from its own historic museum.


  59. High Finance
    January 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    So, how many visitors did the Clarke Museum have last year ?

  60. Apologist Not
    January 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I must agree with you again HF.

    Ignoring the obvious facts about the Chamber, (exposing “conservative’s” hypocrisy in supporting its public subsidies), is the only way for a troll like you to move-on.

    The tourist-count at the museum is voluntarily supplied, the zoo counts ticket sales.

  61. High Finance
    January 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

    How many visitors did the Clarke Museum have last year ?

    How many visitors did the Zoo have last year ?

    How many tourists contacted the Chamber last year ?

    Since the numbers for the Zoo & the Chamber dwarf the numbers by the museum by many times over, I am perplexed why you lefties support the museum and want to close the others.

  62. Apologist Not
    January 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    No one here has called for the closure of anything, but that’s how trolls make their arguments.


    If you are correct, and the Chamber needs public subsidies to remain afloat, you are indeed an ideological hypocrite. The fact that you don’t know the answer to your own questions (above) further exposes your hypocrisy.

    Everybody knows that most U.S. cities have a Chamber. Thus, very few can justify, nor do they typically receive, public subsidies.

    City museums typically receive public subsidies. The museum is featured in the Visitor’s Bureau literature as a tourist attraction in our historic Old Town. (Yes, the same Old Town that your right-wing town fathers wanted to demolish in the 50’s but could afford to buy it and demolish it themselves).

  63. walt
    January 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Everybody is TALKING about how many visitors each had. . .does anyone really KNOW? And how much our lobbyist got? And how much Mr. Crandell and his staff got?

  64. Anonymous
    January 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    The Chamber does not receive a public subsidy. The city pays them for tourism promotion. If you call the chamber, as I did, Jay Hockaday will take the time and explain this to you.

    Now, you may not agree with the city paying for this service, and i believe the contract will be up for renewal soon – so when it is,show up and say your piece at the the city council meeting, but it isnt a subsidy.

    The city also pays the visitors bureau to promote tourism.

  65. High Finance
    January 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

    What on earth are you doing on this blog 8.35pm ?

    They don’t welcome people who speak logically and with facts.

  66. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Anyone that actually has listened to Hockaday and looked at the shape of this town should know that the city is being fleeced.

  67. January 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Clark Museum Public Board Meeting 4pm today

  68. Apologist Not
    January 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    “If you call the chamber, as I did, Jay Hockaday will take the time and explain this to you”.

    If you call the Chamber, as I have, you will learn that their financial records are not public and Hockaday can claim anything he likes.

    My inside source informed me that the Chamber does not keep a detail schedule of annual expenses paid out of its Eureka subsidy.

    The idiots that support this unaudited fraud would crap if the Visitors Bureau or Baykeeper received the same funding for the same purposes. At least Baykeeper actually provides free bay tours for tourists.

  69. Harold Knight
    January 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Citizens have complained about the Chamber’s political award (public subsidy) for years at city hall.

    Walt, no one knows how many tourists/locals visit these organizations, only the zoo has a mandatory, provable tally via ticket sales.

    This issue further exposes the lying provocateurs who are Heraldo’s resident trolls.

  70. 835
    January 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    The Chambers’ records are, for the most part, private — however, the part that is not, and is open for review, is the portion that is for promotion of tourism.

    Just because you don’t like it, George & Harold, does not take a service which is funded by the city a subsidy. A subsidy infers that nothing has been performed for the money – again you may not like the service, or its perceived effectiveness, but, there you go.

    And Harold, I am neither a troll, nor a lying provocateur (nice word though, a phrase, which often describes the types of posts emanating from our host(s))

  71. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Do the records show where Hockaday’s salary comes from? Why is it that Eureka pays for the Chamber of Commerce when other city’s don’t pay for theirs. $100,000 FROM THE CITY FOR WHAT.

  72. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    FOR PROMOTION OF TOURISM AND BUSINESS, silly goose. How exactly do you know that other cities dont pay “for theirs”?

  73. Anonymous
    January 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    “…however, the part (of the Chamber’s finances) open for (public) review, is the portion that is for promotion of tourism”.

    It’s astounding how many times these hypocrites will lie to protect the public pork going to the Eureka Chamber of Commerce for dubious services duplicated by the Visitor’s Bureau.

    If there were supporting financial schedules listing every charge against Eureka’s subsidy to the Chamber it would have exposed this charade long ago.

    Instead, every time this issue gets heat, Hockeday trots out the same meaningless figures showing how the public subsidy is apportioned.

    Does lying feel heroic in defending public welfare for your financial better’s?

  74. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Does lying

    Those are strong words for someone who makes extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence, oops, sorry, without any evidence whatsoever.

  75. Anonymous
    January 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

    7:49 I guess the pork subsidy is good as long as it goes to your buddies. The end result is that Eureka continues being a nothing town. Sad that something so valuable, a cultural asset such as an historic museum is given short shrift. The question still is where does Hockaday’s salary come from? The city?

  76. March 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    A museum must have a curator who acquires/ preserves/and enhancss it’s e xhibits–judge by Value–What is the Cost???I was
    a docemt for thirty years Elsewhere mainly working with school\ kids
    who can appreciate historical aqspects as well as live animals
    in a zooHumboldt has a rich history to preserve and remember,

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