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McKinney Center reopens, two out of three employees resign

Just when everything concerning the physical structure of the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School seems to be coming together, the staffing of the facility is falling apart.
The Town of Jonesborough has accepted the resignations of two of the center’s three staff members — full-time interim director Bridgette Ward and part-time interim director of arts education Kathleen Buttolph.
Buttolph’s resignation was effective July 19. However, Ward’s departure is more recent, with her last day on the job being Sept. 13.

That leaves Jules Corriere, the interim Mary B. Martin outreach program director, as the sole remaining employee at the facility.
Now, just a few short months after hiring staff for the arts center, Director of Parks and Recreation Rachel Conger and Town Administrator Bob Browning are faced with the chore of re-staffing it.
With dozens of arts classes, exhibits and events already on the books for the center, Browning says the resignations “haven’t helped us.”
Both women resigned for health and personal reasons, Browning said, adding he is very disappointed to see them go.
“We had a team of people so good I was just beside myself,” he said. “It is always difficult when you lose good people, but we’ve gotten started and off the ground. We’re working on ways to compensate.”
The resignations come just as Town of Jonesborough Operations Manager Craig Ford announced that although some work on the facility is continuing, much of the major construction is now complete.
In his August monthly report presented at the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Sept. 9, Ford noted that the final classroom has been completed and crews have begun moving in furniture.
The walkways in the front and back have also been completed as has the HVAC, fire alarm and sprinkler systems.
A final inspection by the state fire marshal gave the building a long-awaited certificate of occupancy. The lack of that document earlier decisions concerning the job vacancies need to be made quickly.
There is a possibility Corriere’s responsibilities may be redefined as well as the two positions just vacated, he added.
“We are going to look at doing some kind of combination of the openings we have now,” he said. “We will look at the feasibility of combining aspects of the two jobs and once we have determined how we want to move forward, we will need to advertise that as soon as we can.
“We have some aggressive programs and an aggressive time schedule, and we need to get started right away.”
Browning, however, said he is grateful for the time Buttolph and Ward spent working to develop the McKinney Center and its programs.
“It is great to have quality people for any length of time,” he said. “It helps you get off to a good start.”