I am writing in response to your article on Don Muchmore, director of the Museum of Science and Industry (“Controversy Dogs Director of Science Museum” by Beth Ann Krier, May 16). In your attempt to present a balanced picture of Muchmore and his accomplishments on behalf of the museum, you inadvertently cast aspersions on the quality and dedication of the staff that helped Muchmore accomplish what he has.
I was the administrator of the California Afro-American Museum, which shares the same campus with the Museum of Science and Industry. In that capacity, I worked closely with all levels of Muchmore’s staff. I know them to be dedicated and hard-working civil servants who have managed under adverse circumstances to turn Exposition Park into a showplace that this state can be proud of.
Public employees are often caught in the dilemma of trying to do their jobs in accordance with administrative rules and procedures set down by law while at the same time satisfying the often capricious whims of top management who have little knowledge of or regard for the system under which we must operate. To paint those employees who complained about Muchmore’s operating style as somehow incompetent, lazy and disgruntled is unfair and untrue. Many of them have been with the museum for a number of years, long before many people were aware of or cared about the museum. Their concerns are valid and should not be dismissed lightly.
As a manager, I know that you are only as effective as the people who work for you. I think Muchmore and the Board of Directors have forgotten that.