Article updated 02/16/10

Citing the poor economy and a desire to streamline its operations, the OutCentral Board of Directors has eliminated the center’s sole paid-staff position.

Executive Director Jim Hawk has been voted onto the center’s board, and in this role will now have a vote in its operations going forward, according to a letter to members and supporters from Jason Fletcher, moderator.

“The position was designed in our bylaws and original business plan as a full time, paid position,” Fletcher said. “Unfortunately, due to the recent economic difficulties and recession, we have not been able to raise the funds needed to support this position.”

The executive-director position, while designed as a paid job, has never been funded, something that was unfair to Hawk, added board member Kate Nelson.

“We were very optimistic three years ago that we would finish construction, begin a lot of programming, have a lot of members and rent out all our space,” Nelson said. “Our fundraising hasn’t grown as quickly as we would like and the economy isn’t helping, and we wanted to take the stress off Jim. He’s had a lot of pressure and expectation from the community, and has been doing incredible amounts of work all on a volunteer basis. This will relieve that and also give him a chance to vote with everyone else on the center’s issues.”

Hawk has served as the executive director since OutCentral’s formative days, and in this role did not have a vote with regard to the facility’s direction, according to Fletcher, who added that “We feel like in this role Jim can still provide his talents and direction to OutCentral, while balancing the number of hours that he has to put in to match more of a volunteer role. Additionally, a position on the board allows Jim to be able to vote on OutCentral's business, giving him a true voice in the direction of the organization.”

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