Director Of Athens Historical Society And Museum Resigns

By
Steve Robb - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Tue, Dec 31, 2013 10:01 am

Ron Luce has resigned as director of the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, according to members of the organization’s board of directors.

Luce could not be reached for comment Friday, Saturday or Monday. Attempts to interview Board President Tom O’Grady also were not successful, although he later contacted The Messenger by email.

Luce submitted a letter of resignation a few weeks ago, saying he would be leaving his post at the end of the year, according to board members. His last day is today, Dec. 31.

According to board member Lynne Newell, in his letter of resignation Luce indicated he had put in a lot of effort, was tired and ready to move on.

“I think he has put in a tremendous number of hours,” Newell said. “He has increased the visibility of the museum. I think he has done a very good job.”

Tom O’Grady, president of the board, praised Luce’s work as director.

“Ron did a fine job for the Athens County Historical Society and Museum,” O’Grady said in an email to The Messenger. “He put together a good team of employees and volunteers and contributed countless hours of his time and energy helping to improve the organization. His contributions were exceptional.”

“I think he’s done a decent job, really,” said board member Mary Anne Reeves. “He really has, he’s done a good job.”

However, Reeves said she believes Luce at times felt that others were trying to act as director — which she said was not the case.

“He felt like others were trying to run the show,” Reeves said.

“I think that’s a pretty good description,” board member L. Alan Goldsberry said of Reeves’ assessment.

“It was somewhat controversial,” Goldsberry said of the resignation. “But he was not asked to resign. In fact, he was asked to stay.”

According to Goldsberry, Luce indicated he would stay if the board was willing to make some changes, which it was not willing to do. Goldsberry said the issues were not between Luce and the board, but between Luce and a couple of the volunteers. Goldsberry declined to elaborate.

Although he is a past president of the board, Goldsberry noted that he wasn’t privy to all that transpired because he rejoined the board about a month ago after a year-and-a-half hiatus.

Asked if the board sought Luce’s resignation, board member Anne Cornwell said “absolutely not.”

“He was not asked to resign,” Cornwell said.

Another board member declined to comment, saying she did not want to “stir up any more feelings.”

O’Grady said in an email that the board will likely establish a search committee to select a new director.

“In the meantime, the organization has a very capable staff and a strong volunteer contingent and the Historical Society and Museum will continue offering services and programs,” O’Grady said. “Many activities and events are on the calendar for 2014 and plans are underway to support all of them.”

Luce is completing his third year as director of the historical society and museum. Luce taught at Hocking College for more that 25 years, and has also been active in the local arts.

Earlier this year, he ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on Athens City Council.

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