Message #123 From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 Subject: Salmon Ruin -- The Full Monte [ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] : From: Brian Kenny Regarding SASIG #117 SASIG #119 I wrote... " What else is new? This place has been poorly managed for years -- it doesn't all come down to money. It comes down to no money plus a complete lack of vision. We have a tendency to create heritage tourism venues, staff them with downwardly-mobile archaeologists (dMA s) with no management or financial skills, then sit back and wonder at the mess. " Notice I did not slight a single individual. I discussed tendencies. Several wrote to tell me that I was cynical, or, that I was impugning someone's reputation (and named names), or that I should NEVER speak badly about archaeology, etc, etc, etc. Well, the things I said are true. The place IS a dump and HAS BEEN a dump for several years, and the newspaper article even said so. Yes, the truth hurts! So what? Well.... Teresa Paglione wrote a very positive comment and suggested possible avenues for finding money. The newspaper article pointed out interesting ideas that the current director is testing. Read that information carefully. It is good stuff! I asked a rhetorical question "How is this place not like a business?" I think it is very much like a business -- the place really needs a hard-nosed business manager to handle the business end, and, it needs an archaeologist to handle the stabilization and interpretation and education functions. Without these divergent skills, no amount of weekend or full-time fund raising will help this place in the future. This institution is NOT like a business in that the CEO cannot be dictatorial as in some corporate settings -- after all, it is a not-for-profit with volunteers (a larger goal of such an institution is to promote harmony, diversity, and concensus building) -- what the place needs are two individuals who mesh well together. These two need to go out into the hard business world and out into the community of consensus and play good cop/bad cop; timing and coordination are very important. The place needs both sound financial management and progressive archaeological management by the THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS and staff. If people on the Board do not have these skills, they should step aside. To reiterate my thoughts, even with little or no money in the institution right now, I recommend that the Board of Directors piece together a standard income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows (one can almost do it completely just by lifting the figures from the newspaper article). They also should prepare a sober annual report -- all this as a baseline. They should do this each year and share it with the archaeological community. They should try Teresa's ideas and Larry's ideas mentioned in the newspaper articles. I would hope the Board might earnestly discuss Larry's concept that the institution does not want to be subjugated by the County by begging for their money; Larry says he is willing to beg elswhere, but the sources he cited also come with big strings attached -- there really needs to be some clarification about the immediate and long-term goals of the institution and how these goals might be accomplished. Statistical Research just provided SWA with an electronic copy of the USFS PIT Traveler (volunteer opportunities). I think the Salmon Ruins should seek a grant (Mott Foundation? NPS? NSF?) to sponsor their own 'PIT' program. In one opportunity, they could ask Wall Street Journal writers (and others on the web, e.g., INC and Forbes Magazine) to publish an human interest story about the need for a professional financial manager (one with an interest in historic preservation) to volunteer to come to the institution and do a little tutorial for the staff and Board, and, to work on setting up the books and the statements for future public consumption. (The only way to gain back the financial confidence of the public at this point is to be very public in an annual report; before the public donates more money and creates a new cash flow, or stable endowment, they will really want to know that strikingly transparent measures have been put into place; of course, this is a bit like asking South Korea to reform monetary policy, or North Korea to swear off Stalinist ideology, but, it must be done!). I think additional 'Salmon PIT' grant money could go to sponsoring a volunteer PIT work program at the facility using professionals on busman's holidays, and, using our many wonderful avocational archaeologists who crave opportunities to assist. The volunteer sessions / program(s) would need to be clearly well-defined with measurable success built in in incremental steps; it must be well-planned). Why not have a week or 10 day session just before this year's Pecos Conference. At least we can have all the fist fights completed before we arrive at PECOS NHP.... That's all I have to say after reading the newspaper article about Salmon Ruin. If you have ideas, contact Larry and the Board of director's at Salmon Ruin. BTW, the original rebuttals to my editorial comment are posted below, except for one writer whom asked not to be published. The last comment from GC Moore is titled "Salmon and the Den of Thieves." REBUTTALS: From: Paul Reed I take offense at the above statement. On what basis do you make the charge of a poorly managed facility? Just where do you get your information? I don't believe that your opinion (whatever information it may be based on) is much help in this situation. Larry Baker has done a good job at Salmon, considering the dwindling resources available to him, and the slowdown in local archaeological work. Your cyncisim is unwelcome. I consider your commentary unprofessional and damaging, both to Salmon Ruins, and to SW archaeology as a whole. In my view, members of the Southwest archaeological community should work together towards positive ends, and try to avoid cynical, unproductive criticism. Paul Reed From: John Torres I am extremely offended at this statement. Where do you come-off making such ad hoc statements. Who is this "we," ? I don't recall seeing you at any board meetings. It is far easier to criticize than to provide any constructive assistance. As a board member of the San Juan County Museum Association and a local archaeologists (Not with DCA) I believe in the mission of the ruins. I saw a problem and have offer to help. Yes the museum in understaffed and the grounds need work. But the financial climate is not good for the world of CRM right now, especially noprofits. It is Larry's attempt to rally county support for the facility that prompted that newspaper article, it is extremely exaggerated. So please check out the facts before you spout off. As professionals we are supposed to support preservation of important resources not put them down. So roll up your sleeves and get off your high horse and stop sitting back and wondering why. Nothing positive will come from your unwarranted and unsolicited off the cuff cynical comments. Thank you, John Torres From: Steve Dye There is a long ugly story behind this. It was the actions of a couple of well known members of the local community who were on the popularly elected Board of Directors who destroyed a functioning operation with the capacity to fund the Museum Association. In the absence of the destructive acts of those folks, Salmon Ruin, the Museum and the public programs would be in pretty good shape. Larry Baker inherited a disastrous situation. It was non-archaeological, rich community clowns who screwed this up. Regards, Steve From: Brian Kenny Last July I was there yet another time (incognito, as a 'tourist'), saw the ill-repair, talked about the situation with staff, and, with others in town. The place IS mismanaged both by the people at the facility and the County officials. (And yes, in addition to being a professional archaeologist, I also happen to have professional training and experience in financial management). No, I did not look at their balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, but somebody with training should before another dime is turned over. I stand by my statement as the kindest thing the Salmon Ruin staff -- and especially -- the County officials should hear. There is both a lack of funds and imagination there. If he County officials hear the criticism and act, then the criticism is productive. If they don't do anything, then it doesn't really matter what I or anyone else might say. Finally, just because we are involved in historic preservation activities, and the venue is a ruin park, does not mean that we should uncritically support a fiasco. It simply does not make sense to do so, and in doing so, only causes greater harm to the successful activities that we all hope to promote to the public. Yes it is my opinion. I was not even attempting to be cynical. From: John Torres Are you saying Larry is mismanaging funds? There are no funds to mismanage. The county, up until last year, did not fund the facility at all. Nearly all of the funds come from DCA, which, due to the oil and gas slow down, has little work. I have seen the financial statements and am personally involved with how daily expenses are handled and I can assure you that every "imaginative" idea is explored. And unlike the perfect world you apparently live in, if you criticized the facility to the county, they would not be a white knight, they would shut the doors, sell the collections, and let the place get looted. The county is willing to take credit for the good the facility provides, but wants no financial burden or managerial responsibility. We are committed to keeping Salmon open, and unless you want Larry's job don't be so quick to criticize. John From: Brian Kenny No. I NEVER said that. As I mentioned, I have not seen the balance sheet, income statement, or cash flow statement, nor the annual report, to know precisely how the financial problem is hung up. That is the first step to be taken. To say the problem lies exclusively with a downturn in oil and gas shows lack of imagination in allowing the finances of the venue to be based on one industry; not diversifying sources of clients, income, and investment to spread economic risk is foolhardy. I did not write the newspaper article, but having been to the facility numerous times, and considering what I personally have seen and heard, it is still my opinion is that it is the County that is mismanaging their approach to the problem. I was not picking on Larry. The County does not fund the place, then when they do give a little money, they have unrealistic expectations. The truth of the matter is, if it were a corporation, it would be shut down and its assets and mission restructured; the CEO would get the boot and the board of directors would bring on new management; not archaeological management, but a person or persons with financial and business management aptitude until the crisis is resolved. The question we should be asking is 'how is this venue not like a business?' From: Paul Reed It seems to me that you miss the point. Your criticism probably will hurt more than it helps. Archaeology has limited support by the public, to begin with, and your opinion will only fuel the fire for those who don't think any public support should go to places like Salmon. Your SWA gives you a big voice to speak with and you need to exercise care with the messages you send out. You should have considered a more private vehicle to level such harsh criticism at Baker, the county, and the museum. I would concede that you have started a dialogue, but not in the best way. At the least, you owe Baker the opportunity to respond, and to have his response sent out over SWA. Beyond that, what are you willing to do to address the situation, beyond just bringing it up? Paul Reed From: Brian Kenny To my knowledge, Larry Baker is not on the SWA e-mail list so he has not received this communication unless someone has sent it to him. Like anyone, he can express his opinion, or relay facts in the matter if he so desires, and, have his statments published on the SWA SASIG and distributed via e-mail. The newspaper article started the dialogue. The article was posted on NMAC-L by Dave Phillips; I cross-posted it to SWA and made an Op-Ed statement on SWA. I do not know if NMAC-L is running their own thread based on the article. You have responded to my statements with your own specific information, knowledge, and opinions. I am most willing to publish via SWA pertinent facts, opinions and offers that bring interested individuals to an acknowledgement that there is a problem. Further discussions, public and private, may lead the preservation community to a solution. The newspaper article made the issue public, and the public reading these comments are really quite smart to make up their own minds. They should look into the issue carefully and become informed. Since e-mail addresses are provided, the general public and members of the preservation community, if they wish to be involved, can contact the individuals directly involved in the issue. The public needs neither the newspaper article nor SWA as a filter for their decision-making. From: Teresa Paglione Teresa Paglione, AL Cultural Resources Specialist, USDA NRCS email@example.com I don't know he particulars, but a few of Alabama's state parks aren't fully funded (budget - yes - but not $$)- AS a result, in recent years the Park Archeos have instituted "Field Days/Frontier Days" - events that grow every year and provide a substantial part of their $$. Most recently they have been inundated w/busloads of kids from schools more than 100 miles distant. The events (different parks) started small, but have grown and are now becoming a planning (because of the crowds, re-enactors, etc.) headache for the archeos - but, it is a necessary evil. And it just lasts a 3-4 days. One other thing - contact the Rural Development office (used to be Rural Community Development) - associated with USDA NRCS - usually one in every county. They have funds for community economic activities...and Outreach Program with NRCS. They should be in the phone book - in the US govt section. They won't have big bucks, but start up funds - tops maybe $10-15,000 to begin a community - oriented activity might be there - especially if it is minority population... From: Katherine Roxlau This is what we need - not complaining or blaming, but ideas to resolve the situation. Thank you Teresa! From: M. Steven Shackley Re: Your editorial comments -- Actually, most university museum's are populated by staff that are attracted to museum work because they cannot make it in the archaeological/anthropological world. This also applies to many private museum's too. Our collections manager hates archaeologists and went into museum's to work at denying access to archaeologists. I call museum staff "myopic procrastinators" since they seem to focus on trivia and never finish a project. It's the kind of people who are attracted to museums, so I guess I would agree with you. There are wonderful exceptions, Rosemary Joyce, George Gummerman, and a number of others, but by and large it attracts a certain personality, just as social anthropology now attracts assholes. M. Steven Shackley, Ph.D., Associate Research Archaeologist, Adj. Associate Professor,Director Archeological XRF Laboratory, Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, 103 Kroeber Hall University of California Berkeley, CA 94720-3712 USA; (510) 643-1193, x-3; fax: 642-6271; firstname.lastname@example.org; Museum Web Site: http://www.qal.berkeley.edu/~hearst/ From: GC Moore Subject: Salmon and the Den of Thieves I don't know if this is the proper way of getting my comments out on Salmon, but please pass them along for me. Hey, the horses have been out of the Salmon barn for a long time. Where has everyone been? They were all stolen by (or given away to) Western Cultural Resource Management quite some time back. If there are those of you who want to place blame on the state of affairs at Salmon Ruin, check your history before you jump on Larry Baker's back. I think Larry's doing a remarkable job, considering the fact that he inherited only what the horses left behind. When I went to work for Salmon Ruin/DCA in 1989, the Four-Corners area was enjoying some pretty flush archeological times. Outside of the fact that the Farmington BLM seemed intent on reinventing the oil/gas/archeological wheel every time someone found a site (ref. prior booms in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, etc.), contract archeology was employing about 200 archeologists in San Juan and Rio Arriba counties alone. Salmon Ruin/DCA was, as a matter of fact, leading the pack. So, what happened? The most obvious answer to that question is that the methane gas boom busted. And, in fact, that's what happened, but with some rather interesting twists where Salmon Ruin was concerned. Here's the abridged history lesson. The San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library at Salmon Ruin was existing "just because" Byron Johnson couldn't figure out a way for the Division of Conservation Archaeology to make them go away. In theory, DCA operated as a "DIVISION" of the San Juan County Research Center and Library at Salmon Ruin, answerable to the Director and Board of the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library at Salmon Ruin. In theory, the Director and Board controlled all revenues, expenditures, and activities of the overall organization. In reality, the tail was wagging the dog. Byron Johnson/DCA told the Director and Board how much money the Museum, Library, etc. would receive, and freely spent the rest on DCA needs and luxuries. But, how could this happen? How could a mere Division Director dictate the fortune of the parent organization? It was pretty simple, actually. Some of the Board was simply inept - serving out some sense of public duty. Some of the Board used the position to further personal and professional needs. And, at least one of the Board members put his heart, soul, and sweat into making a go of the situation. What about the Director? Well, some people seem to be willing to do just about anything to keep the only job available to them. The writing was on the wall. There was no long-term planning for Salmon's survival come the certain bust in the gas fields. There was no intent of research, except for a short-lived field school attempt (directly vetoed by Johnson). There was no money put away for a rainy day. Surely there were some "improvements." The theme park was built down below - missing only the water slide down from the museum. Then there was the "Little People of Peace" - or whatever - festival and play, actually held on a National Register of Historic Places site. That was a lot of fun. We got to see white folks hang red folks. We got to see white folks dress up like red folks and do a musical play. Then came the El Paso pipeline project. I don't know the overall monetary figures for El Paso, while in the hands of DCA, but having been in the contracting business for a long time, I can assure all of you that there was enough money there to complete the project, rebuild the museum, stock the library, run the field school, and keep DCA in business for over a decade. I suspect that if we know all the answers to what happened with El Paso/DCA/WCRM, we would want to go and stick our heads in the sand. But, here are some of the things that happened during that time. The membership on the Board of Directors made a drastic change from members who had no personal stake in the organization, to those who had some pretty strange credentials. At one time or another, the membership of the Board was made up of former employees of the Museum/DCA who had been fired, former employees who were currently working for DCA's competitors, owners of firms competing with DCA in the contract market, current employees of DCA, and Federal employees charged with the responsibility of the review and compliance of DCA's contracting work. Isn't there a faint hint of conflict of interest there? El Paso? As near as I can figure things, WCRM decided the El Paso project would be better in its hands. WCRM did, as it happened, have some experience in stepping into other contractors projects. Again, the exact details are somewhat muddled, but some are pretty obvious. WCRM wanted the El Paso project. WCRM hired DCA employees committed to the El Paso project. El Paso suddenly decides its project is better off with those who actually did the project. The Board of Directors of the San Juan County Archaeological Research Center and Library PAYS WCRM to take over the project. WCRM hires all of the DCA El Paso project personnel (including Byron Johnson), the Salmon coffers are suddenly found quite empty of funds, and after a spell, Larry Baker ends up holding the bag. Larry, here's my advice. As your last act as Director, hire a sveltely challenged, epidermally illustrated lady to take tickets, flood the Great Kiva and stick in a few alligators, put price tags on all the artifacts, drop the keys in the donations box, and run like hell. The archeological community has already demonstrated its lack of concern for Salmon Ruin. Don't take the fall for the pack of thieves who robbed the place blind before you got there. Signed, Gary L. Moore From: Tom Vaughan Isn't this the county that just a few years had a ballot issue on whether the county should create the biggest pot museum in the Four Corners as a tourist attraction while Salmon Ruin languished as an unwanted stepchild? Tom Vaughan "The Waggin' Tongue"
(970) 533-1215 11795 Road 39.2, Mancos, CO 81328 USA Cultural Resource Management, Interpretation, Planning, & Training On Thu, 26 Mar 1998 Lori Reed wrote: I have been watching the back-and-forth dialog concerning Salmon Ruins for quite some time and have discussed it extensively with Paul Reed. As a former employee of DCA, I know first-hand the situation that occurred at Salmon and DCA between about 1989 and 1996. The events leading up to the current situation at Salmon were a long time in developing and were much more complex than anyone has indicated. A lot of people were involved in the saga including county officials, a Board of Directors who were involved in petty county politics, some former Salmon Museum Directors, and some upper level management of DCA. Some lower level employees of DCA contributed in their own way by collecting large paychecks and then leaving before they produced final products or even a reasonable data set or report that could be finalized. The politics at Salmon and DCA from about 1990 to 1993 were just insane and at times were oppressive. I tried very hard to keep myself and my ceramic analysts out of the fray, but there were a couple of times that I got dragged into it and had to swim hard to get out of it. Some mornings it was unclear if everything would be normal, we would all be fired, or we would be locked out of the building. I am disturbed by Gary Moore’s commentary on the situation and it is clear to me that he is a very bitter man. He played his own role in all of this and is not just “peaches and cream”. His version of the story is very bitter and slanted. He does not even begin to describe the complexity of the situation, which many of us could write a book about. As with many of the people involved in Salmon and DCA between 1990 and 1993, Gary had is own agenda. I have my own opinions about the situation between 1990 and 1993. I don’t think, however, that the internet is the place to spill my guts. Maybe someday it will make an excellent novel. In any event, lets get past all of this bickering and throwing blame. The past is the past and there is nothing we can do to change it. I think the constructive suggestions presented by some of the folks involved in this dialog are good. We need to deal with the situation as it stands and solve the problems. Larry Baker is doing a fine job considering the county politics he has to deal with. Also, Larry worked with Cynthia Irwin Williams in the 1970s during the initial excavations at the site and for him his directorship at Salmon is as much a labor of love as it is a job. Lets all help Larry Baker and Salmon Ruins by providing helpful suggestions and not get caught up in the past. Regards, Lori Reed To: Lori Reed Interestingly there indeed are several good suggestions in all the back and forth. I am not sure if you want me to add your letter to the list. You'll need to tell me. Even in your letter you point a finger but add no suggestion for the future other than to offer a general lets work together plea. So shall I publish your letter and do you have any suggestions for the future? I gave mine rearding expected financials and necessary management skills and a Salmon 'PIT' program... What are your suggestions? Thanks, Brian Kenny From: Lori Reed Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 10:27:44 +0000 Brian, I understand your comments on my previous message and you are correct that I did not provide any possible solutions. Because my experience with fund raising and obtaining grant money is limited, I am not sure that I would have many constructive suggestions on that front. Being a member of the archaeological community in the Four Corners area, however, there are contributions we can all make by volunteering to help Salmon. I have, on several occasions, volunteered my time to help at DCA and in 1990 and 1991 I offered my assistance in the computerization of the library facility. There is much more that can done, including volunteering for fund raising, participating in the archaeology fair(an annual event at Salmon), and offering our services for archaeology workshops. Archaeologists in the Four Corners area have a lot of knowledge that can be shared with the public -- organizing workshops and lectures through Salmon is a good way to promote preservation and rally support and money for the museum. My previous message was meant to show the complexity of the situation and that if there is blame to bestow it goes to a large group of people, playing various roles which contributed to the final outcome. I was truly appalled at the commentary written by Gary Moore and felt that it was unnecessary. Prior to Gary's comments, the dialogue was productive -- people with varying backgrounds in archaeology, museums, and fund raising offered constructive suggestions on how to solve the problems. I can only hope that the Salmon discussion has brought the problem to the forefront and that more people (including Paul and I) will offer their services and $$$$$ to help. I think that most people (even archaeologists who live and breath their profession) get caught up in their own lives and sometimes forget that there are causes out there worth fighting for. Yes Brian, you may add my two messages to the growing list. Regards, Lori Reed Lori -- Thank you I will add your comments. Mr. Moore is entitled to his opinion, and since he gave it with permission to post, I posted it. Interestingly, there seems to be a lot of commentary about offense and finger pointing in this entire chain of commentary. This is the kind of stuff that an archaeologist told me about many years ago when he said "archaeologists are the only social scientists who are known to eat their own children." With relish, I might add. Archaeologically, the place (Salmon) is wonderful. As a facility, we all know and are saddened that it presently leaves much to be desired (I even called it a "dump"). The newspaper article that started it all noted that something new was going on at Salmon Ruin. Now through e-mail commentary, we know that some care deeply, and, that several persons are working hard to change the current sad situation despite the mismanagement cabals of the past. I still hope the Board will consider getting the financial books in order to make them transparent for the public. If an endowment is to grow to sustain the place, the public needs to have faith that the Board can withstand a professional financial audit. It is my opinion that seeking grants from year to year will not save the place despite good and focused intentions -- such behaviors are only stop-gap measures. I also hope the Board will consider something like a highly focused 'PIT' program (call it what you will), one which invites professionals and avocations to come help out -- the tasks and opportunities must be prioritized and sequenced for maximum effect. This is another job for the Board and current staff -- forward-looking planning and solicitation for brainpower and musclepower, not just money-seeking. Regards, Brian Kenny From: Katherine Roxlau Subject: another helping of salmon I think to properly close this "thread," we who have been following it need to hear from the man himself, Mr. Baker. Salmon Ruin has probably never received as much attention as it is now getting, and Larry should capitalize on this. He has our attention . . . Kathy Roxlau Ecosystem Management, Inc. The newspaper article quoted Mr. Baker extensively, so some of his thought about Salmon are known. The thread wasn't about Mr. Baker, though several tried to imply it was a referendum on his current tenure. I think the thread shouldn't even have been about blame. I think the thread was about prior mismanagement, lack of appropriate financial skills at the institution, and self-deception before Larry Baker ever got there. That is why I recommended that the Board have someone with business sense for the business end, and an anthropologist/archaeologist for the curriculum, etc. end of the venue. Mr. Baker is not on the SWA list. If he communicates, SWA will post his comments. It would be good to hear more about this at Pecos Conference, too. -- SASIG Ed.