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Interim CAC manager and Event Center at Brushy Fork manager Matoula Hartley addresses the Colonial Arts Center Board at its meeting Tuesday. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

Colonial Arts Center Board recommends city council consolidate management of CAC and Brushy Fork Event Center

BUCKHANNON –The Colonial Arts Center Board is recommending that Buckhannon City Council combine two positions — the Colonial Arts Center manager and the Brushy Fork Event Center manager — into a single position.

The CAC Board had already appointed Matoula Hartley as the interim CAC manager, but the board opted to recommend making her position permanent during their March 6 meeting.

City Recorder Randy Sanders said he originally interviewed Hartley to manage the Event Center at Brushy Fork. However, in recent weeks, the city abruptly parted ways with prior CAC manager Anne Wilson. When asked about the circumstances surrounding Wilson’s departure, CAC Board President John Waltz declined to comment because it was a personnel matter.

Sanders said he believed Hartley had enough experience to handle the managerial responsibilities associated with both venues.

“We were confident in offering her for the [Brushy Fork Event Center manager] position, and then some days later, when the manager position of the CAC became open, to protect the city’s interests, we asked Matoula to step forward because we had two ongoing events approaching quickly,” Sanders said.

“I have put her training for the Event Center on hold so she could get up to speed with the CAC because I’ve been handling the Event Center anyway, so I have continued to operate the center for now,” he added.

Sanders asked the board to consider allowing Hartley to manage both facilities.

“Looking at the two properties, they have similarities, but they’re vastly different,” Sanders said. “They do have share similar booking processes and vetting process for potential activities within those venues.”

Director of Finance and Administration for the City of Buckhannon Amberle Jenkins said she does not believe the board is required to advertise for the CAC manager job.

“I did check with our city attorney (Tom O’Neill) to make sure we didn’t need to advertise, and he said, ‘not necessarily,’ because it would just be modifying the job as the event center manager and adding these duties, so it wouldn’t be a problem if we just wanted to go that route,” Jenkins said.

“The board can make this recommendation, but they already approved hiring the event center person so it’s modifying that job title to include the CAC manager part, so they certainly need to be aware of it,” she added. “Your recommendation would certainly carry weight.”

The rest of the board agreed to recommend appointing Hartley for both positions, so Buckhannon City Council will likely take up the matter during their next regular council meeting March 21.

“I have done every aspect of theater entertainment,” Hartley said. “I own my own production company in Las Vegas and in Atlanta, a union production company, which ran successfully and runs to this day; my best friend bought it. I’ve done lighting, I’ve done sound, I’ve booked acts – I’ve done everything.”

In other Colonial Arts Center news, the board decided not to ask the Upshur County Board of Education to fill the vacant BOE Fine Arts and Culture Facilitator/Educator position housed previously in the CAC.

“At one point, we had someone in the position, and then we didn’t, so Keith (Buchanan) and I had a meeting with [the prior administration], which was somewhat successful, and then the changeover happened,” Waltz said. “Now, I believe some of it could be tied to the levy – I don’t know if that’s true or not – but we don’t know where that stands.”

Sanders said the superintendent of Upshur County Schools, Christy Miller, has volunteered to join one of the CAC board meetings in the future to discuss the position.

“I think we need to just assume that position isn’t going to come back until the takeover has ended,” Sanders said.

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