- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) - The financially troubled Springfield Museum has reopened following a two-week closure that began with the dismissal of its two paid employees.

The museum board closed the downtown museum July 25 after firing executive director Jim Cupples and part-time exhibit coordinator Tina Casebeer. It has been staffed by board members since reopening last week.

Board president Christine Stole and other board members declined to say why Cupples and Casebeer, whom Cupples hired in December, were let go.

Cupples told The Register-Guard (http://is.gd/lPd0d3) that Stole fired him after learning that he planned to resign in September to pursue an online project called Ballot Path.

Cupples, who was hired in October 2012, acknowledged that he had slipped up on his management duties as Ballot Path took more of his time. Some bills and other matters had gone unattended, he said, but the museum did not face immediate closure.

The museum is located in the restored Western States Power and Electric building on Main Street. It opened in 1981.

For the past decade, the city has contracted with a nonprofit organization to run the museum and maintain its collection of artifacts. The city pays the organization $45,000 a year to manage the museum. The museum also receives grants, donations, member dues and exhibit sponsorships.

The museum has been operating at an annual deficit. The museum ran deficits of more than $26,600 and $8,400 in the 2010 and 2011 tax years, according to the most recent financial filings with the Internal Revenue Service available online.

City spokesman Niel Laudati said the museum notified officials of the temporary closure. He called the museum a tremendous asset and said the board did what it thought was best.

“If they had to take some time to review everything, it was probably time well spent,” Laudati said.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com