John F. Martin

Muskogee

The Muskogee War Memorial Park (Museum) has not had a true director for eleven months. A job opening is currently not posted by the City of Muskogee.

The museum grounds look absolutely terrible. Park maintenance is virtually nonexistent. Brent Trout, former director, paid a lawn care service $1,450 per month for mowing, weed-eating, edging, and leaf blowing the entire museum grounds every week.

I understand that the person now running the museum is paid $2,800 per month only working three days per week. He seems to accomplish little for this museum expense. He did disable the security camera system two months ago.

The high grass and weeds at the museum now pose a serious safety hazard for museum visitors. While at the park three weeks ago, I saw a copperhead snake, triangular head included, at the burn/trash pile which has been growing for more than 10 months.

Stephanie Morgan (Museum Trust Board and City Council member) and a towing company still have not repaired the damage and debris they left during a photo shoot at the museum. Morgan signs employee time sheets without any verification whatsoever that what she is approving is correct; a rubber stamp used by a total stranger would be just as effective.

I received a call last week from the temporary employment agency that provides the single worker at the museum seeking help with getting their bill paid. That weekly bill had not been paid in 20 weeks. I suspect that there are many museum bills in a similar condition. The Board is failing in its basic fiduciary responsibility to handle finances correctly.

I don't understand why City Councilors want to control the various boards associated with the city. A good board member devotes time, effort, and money to the organization, i.e., they have a passion for the organization — the Trust Board at the museum appears to fail at all three. The incompetence level of the current Museum Trust Board is breathtaking.

City elections do have consequences. Sometimes those consequences, as the museum is now experiencing, are of the very worst kind.

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