Former American Numismatic Association executive director Larry Shepherd said he didn’t violate the ANA code of ethics, conflict of interest policy or employee handbook. And he offered to take a polygraph test to prove it.
Shepherd issued a statement about his dismissal by the ANA board of governors after last week’s issue of Numismatic News went to press.
“I am proud of what was accomplished during my three-plus years of employment at the ANA,” Shepherd stated. “I worked diligently to restore soundness and trust and to move the ANA forward and to bring it up to date with modern times, changing member preferences, and current technology.
“I saw the need for vision and forward thinking leadership, to adjust the ANA to the evolution of the hobby and I tried to provide that. I employed new staff and implemented new ideas and initiatives to prepare the ANA for the future. I emphasized the need to attract new members with a broader range of ages and collecting preferences.
“I recognized the serious challenges that lie ahead and realized that they would not be met by looking backwards or just re-employing the policies of the past. I challenged the board and the ANA staff to do the same; to view the future by looking forward, rather than through a rearview mirror. I realize that many people are resistant to or fearful of change, but with an aging and dwindling membership base we could not (and cannot, going forward) afford to keep our head in the sand. I knew that my forward thinking policies and efforts to force the existing staff and the board to deal with uncomfortable strategic issues might create some dissension and/or enemies, but I did what I thought was best for the long-term benefit of the entire ANA community, not just the vocal minority.
“Following this philosophy I pushed hard for results and accomplished them. Over the past 18 months we made great strides in upgrading the quality of our magazine, thanks largely to Barbara Gregory and her terrific staff. We greatly improved communications with our members and emphasized transparency through magazine articles, mailings and emails.
“Through the efforts of RyAnne Scott, my goal of becoming more active in social networking and introducing innovative programs to appeal to members of all ages was achieved. We worked hard to increase the exposure and improve the quality of Summer Seminar, to provide top-flight and affordable education to all our members. I created the Museum Showcase to bring the educational benefits of our museum to our convention attendees. I viewed upgrading our conventions and bourse activities as key components of our overall marketing strategy to promote the hobby. In response we produced the largest, and perhaps most successful and acclaimed convention and coin show in the ANA’s history. Despite the obvious negative reference to that in the ANA’s press release, I am very pleased with that.
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“I have received enormous praise and appreciation from the members and the dealer community for the job I have done. I believe I achieved for the ANA member and dealer community what the ANA hired me to do and I will always be proud of that fact.
“During my tenure at the ANA I have not violated the ANA employee handbook, or the code of ethics as stated in the ANA bylaws. I did not violate any provisions of the ANA conflict of interest policy. I did not violate federal EEOC anti-discrimination or harassment guidelines (sexual, age, race, etc.). I offered to the general counsel that I would take a polygraph to clear up any issues or concerns that may have arisen due to unfounded rumors and innuendo, but I sensed they were more interested in finding a cause than in finding facts, as evidenced by my being told on Aug. 20 that I would not be coming back, even before the outside investigation took place.
“I want to thank everyone in the ANA community for the tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement I received during this trying period. I especially appreciate the courageous ANA staff members who contacted me from their homes or who expressed their feelings to the numismatic media. These actions have meant a lot to me.”