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Saturday, July 16, 2022
Bishop Museum Board: "Frustration, stress, and fear"
By News Release @ 3:32 PM :: 3220 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii History

STATEMENT OF THE BISHOP MUSEUM BOARD OF DIRECTORS

July 15, 2022

For more than a week, Bishop Museum CEO Melanie Ide has used the court of public opinion in an effort to dissuade the Board of Directors from continuing an independent investigation into serious workplace concerns. She threatened to resign several times if the Board did not change its course, but has now informed the Board that she will not resign, citing pleas from the community that she stay.

The Bishop Museum Board is focused on voices that are coming from inside the Museum, pleas for action that have been unheard for too long. These appeals paint a picture of a hostile work environment; they speak of frustration, stress, and fear, and it is our fiduciary duty to pay attention. A number of talented staff have left the museum in recent months, many citing a toxic work environment as a factor in their decisions to leave. After a concerted attempt to work with leadership to address these issues was met with continued resistance, we had no choice but to act.

The Board is not acting without guidance. We are following the advice of experienced employment counsel who has hired an independent investigator to thoroughly review employee concerns. Standard operating procedure in these instances is to create an environment that allows employees to feel secure in participating. This is why Melanie Ide and two other executives were placed on paid administrative leave, and this has been explained to those involved.

We have not asked for Melanie Ide’s resignation. Our goal is to conduct an impartial review of the Museum’s workplace environment, and we had hoped she would welcome that. To be clear, the Board is not directing the investigation; the timing and order of interviews is being done at the discretion of the independent investigator. The three leaders on paid administrative leave will be among those interviewed.

We wanted to get through this investigation privately and quietly, so as not to damage the Museum’s reputation and cause further distress among the staff. We regret the accusatory and divisive language aimed at the Board from individuals who have heard only one side of the situation. However, for the sake of the Museum and its dedicated employees, the Board will not deviate from our course of action.

A healthy and secure staff is the foundation of any successful organization. Vision for the future is critically important. We have respected and supported Melanie Ide’s vision throughout her tenure, and acknowledge her significant contributions to the Museum. But we reject a narrative that ignores the important contributions of many people -- over many years -- to the success of Bishop Museum, and fails to acknowledge a kuleana to protect our staff colleagues.

The kuleana to identify and resolve problems within the workplace initially rests with salaried management, but is also vested in the powers of the Board when it becomes necessary for the Board to step in. We have done so on behalf of those inside voices, and we are committed to carrying it through. The health and well being of our staff is too important to ignore.

PDF: Statement

---30---

July 10, 2022:  3 top officials at Bishop Museum placed on leave amid internal probe

July 13, 2022: Bishop Museum president to resign amid internal flap

July 15, 2022 HNN: Bishop Museum board says internal probe focused on claims of ‘toxic work environment’

July 15, 2022 SA: Bishop Museum CEO Melanie Ide reconsiders resignation

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