Larry Shepherd, executive director of the American Numismatic Association since 2008, was placed on 30-day administrative leave during an Aug. 20 ANA board executive session held on the concluding day of the organization’s World’s Fair of Money in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont.
It wasn’t supposed to go this way.
The action came just one day after the board announced the acceptance the membership resignation of former executive director Christopher Cipoletti, closing four years of litigation and problems associated with his firing.
Three rumor-filled days followed the board’s action involving Shepherd before a short official statement was issued Aug. 23.
It reads, “American Numismatic Association Executive Director Larry Shepherd has been placed on administrative leave during an organizational review process, President Tom Hallenbeck has announced.”
Hallenbeck, who was installed as ANA president on Aug. 19, told Numismatic News earlier on Aug. 23 that other than to say it was part of an organizational review process, “I can’t talk about any personnel issues.”
He characterized the situation at that point in the day as fluid, which prevented him from sharing more information.
“This is not what I wanted when I first got on the board,” Hallenbeck said. “It is not a good way to start a presidency.”
Postings Aug. 23 by ANA governor Greg Lyon on the U.S. coin message board of the Professional Coin Grading Service’s website added some additional information. These were picked up by the CoinWeek website before they were taken off the PCGS website less than an hour after their original postings.
According to CoinWeek, Lyons wrote:
“Unfortunately, I cannot add much to this discussion beyond what was released in the press release. As many of you are aware, there are significant legal reasons why details cannot be released. This decision was not taken lightly and was clearly in the best interest of the ANA.
“At this point, an investigation will be conducted by a third-party group and any further decisions will be made by the board subsequent to that investigation.
“I am saddened that this had to be one of the first actions I took after joining the board. I welcome any questions – which will be answered as best possible – through this thread or private messages.”
CoinWeek added: “The ‘Third Party Group’ Mr. Lyon referred to is Employer’s Resources of Colorado, which handles HR issues.”
“Mr Lyon went on to say that ‘There was a board vote taken, as the ANA Press Release states,” CoinWeek reported. “This is not a political move – and has nothing to do with the convention (other than timing), but rather one based on evidence presented to the board.’”