Walsh resigns; receives agreement
By Shellie Berg
By Shellie Berg
On Thursday, Sept. 20, the MetroCentre Authority Board announced that its pulling the curtain down on General Manager Brad Walsh after 21 years of employment with the entertainment venue.
The board approved a transition agreement for Walshs resignation. Gary Marzorati, president of the board, refused to disclose the details of the agreement.
Walsh said he is satisfied with the agreement. Board member William Penn refused to go into details about the whole situation, but provided an opinion on the agreement. I think it was fair on both sides, he said.
Controversy has arisen over the citys refusal under the Box and Scott administration to release former Rockford Community Development Director Barbara Richardsons compensation package upon her departure. The Rockford Register Star has reported that it has repeatedly requested under the Freedom of Information Act the agreement the city made with Richardson. The city has refused to release the document, claiming it is a personnel matter and not covered under the FOIA.
At the MetroCentre, employees have complained about poor wages and poor management during Walshs employment. Part-time
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stage hands at the MetroCentre and Coronado voted to unionize, to attain better wages.
Dale Posey, director of organizing for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union, said that some employees were only making $6 to $7 an hour and that some of the employees live in homeless shelters and cant live on their wages. Union wage is $12 to $13 hourly.
Walshs average bonuses over the last three years have been $23,700. Walsh said his yearly salary is $64,480.
The board has hired The Furst Group, a Rockford search firm, to hunt for a replacement. Walsh will continue working until a replacement is found. Once that occurs, the board might add a second person as an assistant, so the general manager can pursue Mayor Doug Scotts priorities. Scott wants to bring a convention center and a hotel to the River District.
Walsh said that in light of the new directions the board is taking, its best for him to leave at this time.
Brad has been talking about making a change, Marzorati said. Weve been talking about it for a while. His best interest is whats good for the community.
Walsh said he will seek out new opportunities in the area. Rockford has become my home, he said. He also said he wants to utilize his skills. This is the business that Im in, he added.
Despite rumors of the MetroCentre Board of Directors displeasure with the new union and his performance, Walsh asserted he didnt necessarily feel pressure to resign. It was enough for me to look for other opportunities, Walsh said.