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Downtown Lodi Business Partnership fires executive director

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Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2005 10:00 pm

Pamela Hayn has been fired as executive director of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership.

Hayn, who has held the position for the past two years, said she learned of the termination Tuesday night in a phone call from board President Mary Wallace, owner of Frames and Fine Things.

"The Board of Directors has concluded that the current executive director is not in agreement with the future direction of the strategic planning and development of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership," Wallace said in a statement sent via e-mail.

Vice President Greg Soligan, owner of Valley Window Coverings, declined to comment but said he believed the termination was effective immediately.

Hayn said she has not received any written notification of her dismissal. However, she said she intends to fight the termination.

"I'm not leaving," Hayn said, adding she has hired an attorney.

Hayn wondered if the board voted to remove her and, if so, when they did it.

Wallace, who the board unsuccessfully targeted for ouster just weeks ago on an illegitimate vote, and Soligan declined to discuss whether Hayn was removed from her post through a vote of the board.

Board member Phil Biddle, owner of Vine and Branches Christian Bookstore, said he was not immediately aware of a vote to remove Hayn. If there was a vote for Hayn's termination, Biddle said, it must have been made by the DLBP's executive board, of which Wallace and Soligan are members.

Board members Steve Bria and Roger Rehmke could not be reached for comment.

The DLBP works to market and promote businesses in downtown. Those businesses pay annual assessments to the DLBP, which is also funded through taxpayer dollars from the city. The organization received $45,000 from the city this year, and $52,000 last year for its $189,000 proposed budget.

Hayn's dismissal comes as the board prepares to submit its annual report to the Lodi City Council. After the council reviews the report, which could happen as soon as Oct. 19, council members will discuss adopting a resolution to levy an assessment on downtown businesses and set a date for a public hearing on both the report and the assessments.

The final report includes a list of expenditures and accomplishments for the past year, as well as information on the group's plan for the next year, Councilman Larry Hansen said.

After the board's attempt in early August to oust Wallace over a perceived conflict of interest, and the departure of three board members in frustration with the panel's leadership, Hansen said he hopes to see "continuity and some spirit of partnership and cooperation" in the DLBP's final report.

"I just hate to see the division that has happened," Hansen said. "I wish them well in working it out."

Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at jakea@lodinews.com.

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