The National – Tuesday, February 15, 2011
SINCE the appointment of the National Museum and Art Gallery’s (NMAG) board of trustees (BOT) in February 2009, the members claimed that they were a proactive lot and anticipated in cleaning up the mess in the museum.
Certain BOT members alleged staff of NMAG of misappropriating millions of kina and stealing artefacts and told the staff an investigation would take place.
That was two years ago and in a recent media statement by the president, Julius Violaris, those found guilty would be prosecuted.
Whilst we applaud the BOT, we also urge Violaris to take ownership of the current anarchy at the museum.
The mess at the NMAG was created by Violaris and his cohorts and there is no point pointing fingers.
The rot started when the BOT mishandled the appointment of the director’s position when it fell vacant in September 2009.
It is also a shame for the president to claim that other stakeholders like the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the board’s efforts were marred by court orders executed by the former director, Simon Poraituk.
The BOT had resolved to follow due process concerning the appointment and warned Violaris the consequences if that was not properly executed. However, what transpired thereafter is only known to Violaris and his followers.
Further, the president claimed that the BOT, using the NMAG Act and related powers, have appointed an interim caretaker to the position of director.
The BOT or some of its members believed that the director’s appointment was automatic akin to private organisations, thus ignoring due process involved in the public sector.
What about the existing museum staff structure approved by the Department of Personnel Management?
What are the roles of the two deputy directors and their line managers and chief curators?
Where in the NMAG Act allows the BOT to make appointments?
Has the board deliberated carefully on the current court orders restraining the BOT and other parties from making such appointment?
These are questions that warrant serious attention as the NMAG is a public institution and taxpayers cannot be compromised for making poor decisions under these circumstances.
The first month of the year, earmarked for implementation, had slipped by and Violaris and his BOT continue to make thunder with no rain.