Hanford · Highlight

Hanford gives 10-day ultimatum for improvements on Carnegie Museum

The City of Hanford is reaching a boiling point with the nonprofit Hanford Carnegie Museum, Inc. (HCM), pushing for a laundry list of repairs to be executed within 10 days or have its lease for the Carnegie Museum cancelled.

In an Aug. 23 letter, Hanford requested the nonprofit board fix 18 separate items including cracks in the walls of the museum, repair water damage, and repair or replace a broken air conditioning unit for the building.

The nonprofit initiated a digital fundraiser to raise $10,000 to fund the repair costs for the city’s list.

In a financial report provided to the Hanford City Council last week, Hanford Carnegie Museum posted a net loss of $39,673.04.

The nonprofit’s loss was roughly $1,400 more than its operating income for the year.

Steve Alfieris, an attorney representing Hanford Carnegie Museum, told The Valley Voice that the 10-day timeframe was unreasonable.

“This goes against the spirit of the lease and what donors have supported for decades,” Alfieris said. “The City is being critical of items which were never at issue with previous boards and prior managers of the museum.”

He noted to the paper that building cracks were previously fixed by City workers.

“All of this leaves the question of why the city is really pursuing the Hanford Carnegie Museum in such a manner,” Alfieris noted.

Beyond maintenance of the museum itself, the Hanford Carnegie Museum board of directors has been under considerable scrutiny over the course of the past two years.

Its membership criteria has come under assault from Hanford natives, including former Hanford City Councilwoman Diane Sharp. Sharp twice attempted to join the board of the nonprofit, only to be rejected.

HCM’s first rejection occurred while Sharp was still a sitting member of the Council, and cited its bylaws prohibiting City Council members from serving.

Her second application, made after exiting the City Council, was rejected because she “publicly raised concerns about the organization’s management and degree of compliance with the city’s lease,” while on the City Council.

Alex Tavlian
Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.