- BC Games
Smith ends his association with Hyack
The Hyack Festival Association is looking for a new executive director.
Douglas Smith, who held the job for almost two years before he was dismissed by an executive committee of Hyack's board of directors on July 31, said Tuesday he's no longer working for Hyack as of last Thursday.
Smith had disputed his dismissal as he and some members of the board contested the committee's authority to fire him.
In August, Smith was reinstated as Hyack ironed out its internal politics.
At the time Smith said he'd give the board a month to sort things out.
But as his self-imposed deadline passed and those concerns "hadn't been addressed whatsoever," Smith pulled the plug.
"I wish it hadn't come to this," said Smith, who's started a wrongful dismissal action against Hyack. The association has yet to respond, he said.
Gavin Palmer, the president of Hyack, said the board of directors is still "working internally to solve the issues we have."
Palmer said the dispute comes down to a difference in philosophies.
"We have two sides, one wants to change everything and one that doesn't want to make dramatic changes," he said. "We need to make some changes, but also respect history and the past."
Since joining Hyack, Smith initiated a number of changes to the program of festivals and events the association organizes, including the introduction of Uptown Live, a music festival centered around Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street that features local independent and up-and-coming bands. He also shortened the annual Hyack International Parade that concludes the week-long Hyack Festival in May and he canceled the annual Easter antique car parade.
Palmer conceded some of those changes were necessary.
"Hyack has been doing the same thing for a long time and sometimes an organization gets a little comfortable in what they're doing," said Palmer. "You do need fresh ideas and changes, especially when you're in the entertainment business."
—With files from Chris Bryan