In the community, Local government

Board fires executive director of Four Rivers Cultural Center

ONTARIO – Lynelle Christiani, the Four Rivers Cultural Center executive director for the past 30 months, was fired Tuesday, April 2.

“It was a complete blindside. They told me at four and wanted my desk and office cleared out by 6 and my keys turned in,” said Christiani.

Christiani became executive director in September 2021. She previously had been manager of the Malheur County Fairgrounds.

Christiani said she walked into a room at the center where she thought she would meet with two members of the cultural center board for an annual job review.

“The entire board was there,” said Christiani.

The Four Rivers Cultural Center Board consists of Bob Komoto, Betty Carter, Mike Iseri, Guy Blair, Tobey Huddleston, Cathy Yasuda, Efren Garza, Vale attorney Mike Mahony, Prudi Sherman, Fran Halcom and Raeshelle Meyer.

Christiani said members of the board told her she was fired because “I wasn’t honest or approachable.”

Board member Tobey Huddleston declined to comment. Mahoney is out of the office this week and phone messages left with Komoto and Halcomb were not returned.

After inquiries from the Enterprise, the board on Wednesday issued a three-sentence statement.

“Following a special meeting this week the Four Rivers Cultural Center Board of
Directors voted to dismiss Executive Director Lynelle Christiani effective
immediately. Board Chair Fran Halcom said Christiani was hired in September of
2021. Halcom said the Board will be working on a search process for the new
Executive Director.”

Christiani denied she was dishonest and said the board is “dysfunctional.”

She said her dismissal was “indictive of what is going on right now with the board.”

“The staff are all honorable people and that is the problem,” said Christiani.

Christiani said since she became executive director she received “not a single criticism as far as from the board or a single directive as far as you are not doing this right or that right.”

“I’m not a very good ‘yes man.’ I don’t sugar coat things. My door was always open,” said Christiani.

Christiani said her future at the center was hampered because she wasn’t “a good ole boy.”

“I got crosswise with a couple of board members and this is the result,” said Christiani.

She declined to name the board members.

“I planned on staying at the cultural center but it’s been pretty uphill,” said Christiani.

Christiani praised her employees.

“I have an amazing staff and I don’t want to do anything to hurt them. People work here because they love doing good things,” she said.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE – The Malheur Enterprise delivers quality local journalism – fair and accurate. You can read it any hour, any day with a digital subscription. Read it on your phone, your Tablet, your home computer. Click subscribe – $7.50 a month.