June 03, 2005
Unless many good things happen we may see the end of a Milwaukee cultural institution. The Milwaukee Public Museum in the past few weeks has shown itself to be a financial disaster. They have a $7 million budget deficit, have already laid off 56 people with more to come.
Museum president and CEO Michael Stafford resigned this morning citing "the impact of negative publicity these past weeks" that has "my effectiveness as a leader and fundraiser in this community." In other words, no one has any faith in him. That's not a surprise since during his 18 month term the museum went from popular crowd pleaser to financial embarassment.
So far there has been no evidence Stafford did anything dishonest, unethical, or illegal to bring about the museum's demise. A Milwaukee County audit is suppose to be finished next week. What we do know is this collapse occured on Stafford's watch. Museum Board Chairman David Meissner can defend Stafford all he wants by saying Stafford was "not the cause of the museum's current financial hardship." We do know the museum was fine financially before Stafford arrive, and now it's on critical life support. If Meissner knows who is responsible for this mess he should let us know. If he doesn't maybe he should consider resigning too since a board chairman should have some inkling of what is going on.
"Public Museum President Stafford Resigns"