Guide president resigns under pressure
Some members of the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides objected
to Rick Hohmann’s criticism of Gettysburg National Military Park.
By ERIN JAMES
The Evening Sun
Step down, or we quit.
That’s the message Rick Hohmann said he was getting recently from a “vocal minority” in the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, from which Hohmann resigned as president last week.
Hohmann said he decided to resign after some members of the guides’ association objected to his sending letters in February to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Todd Platts, R-York County asking that they request congressional hearings on what Hohmann called “possible malfeasance at Gettysburg National Military Park.”
That decision came under fire from some guides, who objected to his signing the letters as president of the association, Hohmann said.
“I guess some members of the guides’ association weren’t too happy that I did that, for some reason,” he said. “And there was a lot of talk about some people possibly resigning.”
Quitting members would take their membership dues with them, Hohmann said.
“Of course that would be a financial blow to the association,” he said, adding that another guide threatened to withdraw a regular donation of book royalties if Hohmann remained president.
In the letters, Hohmann cites “possible ethics violations” by the park’s superintendent, John Latschar, before and during the construction of the new museum and visitor center.
In his two years as president, Hohmann has been a frequent critic of Latschar and the park’s policies.
But that position did not always sit well with all members of the guides’ association. Some guides objected in January 2008 when Hohmann said the park did not cooperate in efforts to create a new guide reservation system. He also said at the time that he believed licensed guide Terry Latschar, the wife of John Latschar, was attending association meetings to intimidate other guides. [Mayor’s Note: You think so?]
Several guides said publicly at the time that Hohmann did not represent their views.
Former association president Sue Boardman said Tuesday that Hohmann’s resignation is an opportunity to foster a better relationship between the park and the guides’ association.
“I think that maybe initially Rick’s intentions were good,” Boardman said. “But I think he listened to people on the outside that had a personal vendetta against the superintendent. It caused Rick to change his course.”
As a friend of the Latschars, Boardman said she, too, is biased. But, she said, an appropriate level of respect needs to be maintained.
“I think the only way that we can move forward as a group of licensees is to be cooperative with the park,” she said.
Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon declined to comment on Hohmann’s resignation.
As a member of the association’s executive council, licensed guide James Clouse said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with Hohmann’s objections to park policies.
“Some of the officers probably agree with his thoughts,” Clouse said. “But he wasn’t authorized by the officers to put that letter out with his signature as president of the association. That’s the problem.”
Hohmann said he had been considering a resignation for some time, but he will remain a member of the association.
“Basically the reason is just that I feel that I’ve done all I can do for the organization up to this point and thought it would just be best to step down,” he said.
Roy Frampton, a licensed guide since 1968, will replace Hohmann as president until a new election in November. Frampton did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
Under new leadership, Clouse said the guides are optimistic about putting past disagreements with the park behind them.
“We’re hoping maybe to mend some fences,” he said.