The Clintonville Area Historical Society (CAHS) will soon be moving to a new location.
The move may take place in April, though the Society must first find a new location for their office.
Rich Beggs, who serves as president of the Society, owns the building in which the CAHS office is located. He said there is no hurry for the Society to find a new location, but said he hopes something can be arranged in the near future.
“The lease expires April 26, though I had hoped we could have the office moved by April 1,” said Beggs. “We will get it done when we can. I have no prospective buyers for the building at this time, but it is a bit awkward being building owner, landlord, and president of the Society.”
Beggs noted that CAHS membership is up, thanks to the efforts of Kathy Dins and Marilyn Berkvam. He also stated that since the Society received a large sum of money from the Robert Billings estate, the future has become considerably brighter.
CAHS member Mary Beth Kuester seems to agree that the future of the Society is looking up, but expressed frustration with Beggs’ leadership.
“I had asked a representative of Premier Community Bank to present information to the Society regarding the interest we could earn if we invested the money from the Billings Estate. Her figures showed that we could earn $12,000 a year in interest if the funds were invested.”
Beggs commented that a theoretical scenario was being presented to the Society when the $12,000 figure came up – a figure that was reached by using a theoretical interest rate of over 6 percent annually.
Kuester feels that Beggs is trying to violate the terms of the will, but Beggs claims that there is no intention to do so. He feels there is a difference in the interpretation of the wording of the will.
Kuester said she will request discussion on the topic by asking Beggs to list it as an agenda item at the next meeting.
The Society’s bylaws have also been at the center of the debate between Beggs and Kuester of late. Kuester has sought legal advice because she feels the bylaws are not being observed, while Beggs feels the bylaws should be completely re-written to include modern formatting and wording.
Kuester claims Beggs hasn’t followed the bylaws, which include a term limit for officers. The bylaws state that a president can serve two 3-year terms, but then must be off for a year before running for election again. Beggs has been on the board for 26 years, and has served as president for the last 15 years. He feels that a term limit is not practical, stating that people seldom show interest in running for the position.
According to Beggs, nobody wanted to be president of the Society when elections came around last November. He claims Kuester nominated herself, ran against Beggs, and was not elected. Beggs is currently serving a 1-year term that will expire in November, and said he may not seek re-election.
“I have had a hard time working with Mary Beth,” said Beggs. “She has several good ideas that we’ve worked on, but at times she is not cooperative and not a team player. It’s not pleasant to be at the Society’s meetings. It used to be fun and enjoyable, but not anymore. There is now great heartbreak and consternation.”
The CAHS meets at 7 p.m. every second Monday of the month. The next meeting will be held at the current office within the old Beggs Furniture store on Main Street.