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

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

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."


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

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;;
Museum Web Site:

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.

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.