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No Return for Shepherd

Paid administrative leave has turned into unemployment for American Numismatic Association executive director Larry Shepherd.

ANA President Tom Hallenbeck made the news public in a telephone conference call to the numismatic press Sept. 28.

Hallenbeck said he would attend an ANA staff meeting later that afternoon to tell the organization’s employees of the decision of the ANA board of governors.

In the words of the official press release, “The American Numismatic Association Board of Governors today announced that it has ended its employment relationship with Larry Shepherd as executive director.”

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The vote was taken Sept. 20, one month after Shepherd had been placed on paid administrative leave Aug. 20. All nine members of the board voted in favor of ending the relationship.

Shepherd still had approximately two years left on his employment contract, according to ANA legal counsel Ron Sirna.

“We appreciate Shepherd’s past three years of contributions, but the board determined the association needs to move in a different direction going forward, providing greater focus on its core educational mission,” Hallenbeck said in the formal press release.

Shepherd had been hired in March  2008 as the permanent replacement for Christopher Cipoletti, who had been terminated for cause in 2007.

The ANA gave no specific reason for the break with Shepherd.

“The ANA is about more than just being a big coin show,” Hallenbeck stated in the press release. “It’s about our individual members and member clubs. It’s about educating our members and the general public, doing so by creating a positive numismatic experience for the many diverse segments of our organization and the greater hobby community.”

What comes next is still to be worked out.

Hallenbeck said in the conference call that he expected the board to sit around the table at its meeting at the National Money Show Oct. 13-15 in Pittsburgh and determine “what we need to do. We don’t have a timeline at this point.”

Still, he expected the process of replacing Shepherd to go “relatively quickly.”

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The focus of the executive search will be on the association “providing a more balanced approach to serving its educational mission,” Hallenback stated in the  press release. “We will be seeking a new executive director to help us achieve this objective in a way that will better serve the total hobby community.”

The ANA also will establish a corporate governance committee, and Clifford Mishler, former president and current governor, will chair a strategic planning committee.

When asked if the organization’s finances are sound, Hallenbeck replied, “I believe they are.”

Will members notice any impact on their interaction with headquarters staff?

“I’ve seen no disruption to any of the services of the association,” Hallenbeck said.

Kim Kiick, senior administrative manager, was named director of operations on an interim basis.

Also, Hallenbeck said he visits headquarters on a regular basis. “I’ve tried to get over here at least several times a week.”

The ANA has hired a human resources firm to address overall management issues.

“The board initiated the process for a comprehensive organizational review of management issues and employment matters and engaged the assistance of Employer’s Resources of Colorado,” the press release stated.

“The human resources consulting firm has identified employment policy deficiencies and provided recommendations for improving internal operational practices and positive motivational development as the ANA moves forward.”

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