In the community, Local government

Former Four Rivers Cultural Center director contesting her firing as improper

ONTARIO – The former director of Four Rivers Cultural Center has started a process to file with the state retaliation, discrimination, wrongful termination and hostile work environment regarding her termination in April.

Lynelle Christiani, who served as the executive director of the facility for 30 months, was fired by the Four Rivers board on April 2.

The board consists of Bob Komoto, Betty Carter, Mike Iseri, Guy Blair, Tobey Huddleston, Cathy Yasuda, Efren Garza, Mike Mahony, Prudi Sherman, Fran Halcom and Raeshelle Meyer.

Christiani said she directed her complaints at four board members – Halcom, Meyer, Carter and Sherman – and to the board as a whole.

Christiani said she initiated the complaint process with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries shortly after her termination.

Rachel Mann, bureau communications director, confirmed last week the agency received a complaint questionnaire from Christiani.

When someone files a complaint, they must first fill out a questionnaire, said Mann.

“Then there is some communication back and forth to formalize the complaint,” said Mann.

Once the questionnaire is submitted, it can take up to six months for it to convert to a complaint, said Mann. Then it is assigned to an investigator.

“If substantiation of evidence is determined then it is referred to our administrative prosecution unit,” said Mann.

The complaint and the questionnaire are public records, said Mann.

If the bureau finds violations, it can assess financial penalties.

Meyer said last week she had not received notification from the bureau about a possible complaint. She had no further comment. Mahony and Halcom, the board chair, declined comment.

Christiani said her tenure at the cultural center was punctuated by a lack of board involvement and the existence of a “toxic” environment.

“It was horrible. It was very hostile. I would spend half my time trying to work around the board to do what we needed to do and to show my staff how much I appreciated them,” said Christiani.

Christiani said she should not have been fired. She said she would ponder returning to the cultural center under the right conditions.

“I would go back in a heartbeat but I want at least four or six of the board members gone. If they wanted to stay, great, but you have to show you love the cultural center and that means helping the cultural center,” said Christiani.

Christiani said she is still unemployed.

“I’ve had a couple of interviews. I’m not in a hurry. I was worn out mentally and physically,” said Christiani.

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

Previous coverage:

Board fires executive director of Four Rivers Cultural Center

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