A staff shakeup at Medicine Hat's Monarch Theatre and City Centre Development Agency (CCDA) has nothing to do with sexual harassment allegations against the theatre's manager, according to a city councillor and CCDA board member.
"The manager of the Monarch Theatre and the executive director's position are now being combined in one position called operations manager," said Bill Cocks.
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The CCDA operates the Monarch, which was at the centre of a controversy involving allegations of sexual harassment brought by former staff ranging in age from 13 to 25.
Those allegations were dismissed by the CCDA, and a subsequent report it commissioned — which has not been made public — found no wrongdoing. A police investigation determined there was no evidence to support a criminal charge.
There are still active complaints before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Not directly related
"It's not directly related to that," said Cocks of the decision to merge jobs. "This was work that was already being undertaken by the board prior to those issues becoming of concern."
When asked it if it played any role in the decision, Cocks replied: "Not a direct role, no."
The current manager who was at the centre of the controversy and the current executive director have both been informed they are out of work once the position is filled, although both are welcome to apply, according to Cocks.
'A clear message needs to be sent'
One of the complainants against the theatre and the agency was Natasha Shannon, who was kicked off the CCDA board for missing three meetings in a row, something she said was because of her complaints against the organization at that time.
Shannon, who has two complaints still before the human rights commission, isn't happy with the latest news.
"The citizens of Medicine Hat, including downtown stakeholders, deserve better leadership than this," she said.
"I hope they stand up, speak out and demand to see the CCDA report. A clear message needs to be sent in this community that a culture of fear and intimidation is no longer acceptable and will not be tolerated."
Competition for the new job ends at the end of March and Cocks says they hope to have a new hire in place "fairly quickly."