By Ben Olson
When community members attended the Panida Theater board meeting Oct. 5, many didn’t realize they’d be watching a drama that was every bit as compelling as many films that have shown on the historic theater’s screen.
Prior to taking up usual business, the room heard at length from Board Members Jimmy Matlosz and Michele Burkey about their desire to see a change in the leadership of the board, a role held by Jim Healey as chair until mid-November.
With those in attendance sitting in silence, the board members began discussing differences some have expressed in Healey’s ability to lead the board, which saw the resignations of Gail Mico and Zabrielle Dillon the week prior to the Oct. 5 meeting.
“What I’m concerned about is the way he treats people and the lack of goodwill on the board,” said Matlosz.
Burkey acknowledged the meeting was “hard, awkward and unfortunate,” claiming she’s “never seen a group as dysfunctional as this board.”
After lengthy discussion, a motion was made to remove Healey from the board altogether, with Burkey claiming she wouldn’t be comfortable continuing on the board with Healey still in place as chair.
Board Member Gail Trotta urged her colleagues to resolve their differences, saying, “We are not always going to agree, but as a board we are adults. Why can’t we sit down and resolve whatever grievances either in an executive board meeting or whatever? This shouldn’t be happening right now.”
After hearing from some members of the community, including former-Board Member Tari Pardini, about their support of the chair, Healey was asked to make a statement prior to a roll call vote.
“I don’t think anything I say will change anyone’s mind at this table,” Healey said. “What I will say is to you folks out there, whatever this vote is, don’t lose sight of the Panida. Continue to show your love for it, continue to volunteer, continue to donate and help the Panida in the ways it needs to be helped as it heads into its second century.”
A roll call vote ended with members Trotta, Cline, Sean Behm and Dan Thompson voting against removing Healey and Matlosz, Burkey, Jeremiah Greenfield and Donna Guthrie voting for removal. Due to lack of a majority, the motion failed, prompting Matlosz and Burkey to tender their resignations and leave the meeting immediately.
Later, Healey told the Reader, “You don’t have to love the people or enjoy being with them, but you have a common goal and you have to work through that. … [M]oving forward, we’ve got a solid group of people.”
The Panida Board of Directors will hold its annual meeting Monday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in the main theater (300 N. First Ave.), which will include board elections. All members of the public are invited to attend.
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