Kennedy Center Director Fired After 26 Years
The Kennedy Center Board of Directors voted to terminate the long-time director of Charlestown's anti-poverty agency, citing a communications 'break down.'
Editor's Note: This story was updated at noon.
Katherine McDonough, longtime executive director of the Kennedy Center, was terminated from her post on Thursday afternoon, after working at the anti-poverty agency for 26 years.
McDonough told Patch she intends to bring legal action against the Board of Directors at the Kennedy Center for an improper dismissal.
Tom Cunha, vice president of the center's Board of Directors said the board asked McDonough to resign this week, citing a communications "break down."
McDonough told the board (and Patch) she would not resign without a severance package.
Without a resignation from McDonough, Cunha said, the board opted to fire her. The board was unable to offer McDonough a severance package, Cunha said, without first analyzing the agency's finances.
Earlier this morning, Patch received a press release from the Kennedy Center board, announcing that McDonough, had "stepped down to begin new chapter in her life."
After seeing the news, McDonough contacted Patch to explain the statement from the board was incorrect.
She said three board members, Ton Cunha, Eileen Ward (president of the board) and John Tobin, told her the board had voted unanimously on Wednesday to seek her resignation.
McDonough is present for the board's meetings and asked the board members when the vote took place. She was told a special meeting was called to make the decision.
"I had planned to stay at the center four more years. I would have liked to retire just shy of my 70th birthday," McDonough told Patch. "I'm going to miss this job. The people who work at the Kennedy Center are kind-hearted people, trying to do the right thing."
On Friday morning, the Kennedy Center Board issued this statement:
"The board is very grateful to Kate McDonough for her many years of service and dedication to the center and we wish her our very best. We are fortunate to have dedicated, loyal staff and a solid infrastructure that allow us time to begin the process and procedure of hiring a new executive director."
Cunha said a search committee will be formed soon and a job description should be drafted by early next week. He also said the upcoming election for board members -- which was publicized in the Patch recently -- will likely be canceled.
"It wouldn't be fair to pull new board members into this," he said.
The Kennedy Center has assisted Charlestown for more than 40 years and today, it provides many resources such as Head Start, fuel assistance, programs for the elderly, and many more.