By Ashley Yarchin
St. Louis (KSDK) - It's been talked about as a stain on the story of the Missouri History Museum. The institution's president and his ethics have been called into question in recent weeks.
While some have said Dr. Robert Archibald should be let go, he wasn't. Rather, Friday his contract was cut short by two years. So, Tuesday afternoon an emergency meeting held at the museum.
It was the third meeting in the last three business days, each one held by a different entity that oversees how the history museum is run.
It's a complicated story that's come with a lot of contention, but one that's truly important to this community. Friday President of the History Museum Dr. Robert Archibald was docked two years of his contract, which pays almost $400,000 a year. That was done by the 50-member board of trustees for the museum.
Then, Monday, the Zoo-Museum District, which oversees how much tax money go to the museum went through an audit that discusses what may have been a misstep for Archibald in 2005. The allegation is that he had the museum buy land on Delmar, which was never appraised. So, his critics say he could've gotten it cheaper, and not from a former mayor, who may have had a conflict of interest in all of this.
Tuesday a sub-committee of the Zoo-Museum District met. They have the power to oust Archibald, but they did not. Rather, the members went over a new agreement with the museum that would keep alleged bad purchases with taxpayer money from happening in the future.
"I'd love to see him stay, especially under the terms of the new agreement with there being more oversight and direction and involvement of the taxpayers' dollars. I think I'd be fine with that," SAID Chairman Romondous Stover.
He went on to explain why he does not blame Archibald for what may have happened in 2005: "Well, it's no one man show, I can tell you that, so I'm not going to point fingers or blame him for anything."
Late Tuesday, the Missouri History Museum released this statement: "As we have said all along, the leadership of the Missouri History Museum is committed to an open and transparent process for managing the Museum, especially as regards the public and private funds entrusted to us that support its programs and services. Now that the History Museum Subdistrict has adopted the proposed changes to the management contract between the Subdistrict and the Museum, we have, together, strengthened our governance and oversight structure. These changes protect the interests of the taxpayers, as well as the future of the Museum and all the benefits it brings to the St. Louis region. Working together, the Missouri History Museum will continue to be a tremendous resource and attraction."
Additionally, V. Raymond Stranghoener, who is chairman of the board of trustees for Missouri History Museum, said this: "We are deeply indebted to Senator John Danforth for making himself available to help us work with the ZMD and ZMD Subdistrict to strengthen that process and improve our governance and oversight structure. Thanks to Senator Danforth's wise and steady guidance and the good will of all parties involved - including Mayor Slay and County Executive Dooley - we have arrived at a solution that protects the interests of the taxpayers, the private supporters and donors, as well as the future of the Museum and all the benefits it brings to the St. Louis region."
Dr. Archibald was at Tuesday's meeting but would not comment.
For now, he will finish out his contract through 2013. Then, the assumption for many in the subdistrict is that they'll try to negotiate a new contract, possibly with a smaller salary.
To read a statement from John C. Danforth, view the PDF link above.