Darren McCaffery says he's been asked "not to return" to the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre (MJCC) - four months after he was hired.
In February, the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre Board of Governors announced the hiring of McCaffery as General Manager, replacing the deposed Graham Hall, who had been in the post since the downtown arts facility opened in 2004.
Word surfaced this week that McCaffery was no longer employed by the MJCC, and he confirmed the news with Discover Moose Jaw, saying he isn't completely sure why it happened.
"I've asked many times for clarification on that issue," said McCaffery as it pertains to his employment status, adding that he was asked to hand in his keys and MJCC credit card "a couple weeks ago."
"I think they're trying to create a narrative that I haven't been following my contract," McCaffery claimed. "I think what they're trying to do is clear the slate and run the building the way they want it to be run."
McCaffery came to Moose Jaw from Prince Albert, where his company (Star Development Corporation) operates the E.A. Rawlinson Performing Arts Centre. McCaffery's plan was to move to Moose Jaw and handle day-to-day operations here, while a "second in command" handled similar duties at the Prince Albert facility.
McCaffery's attendance in Moose Jaw appears to be one of the issues at the heart of the dispute.
"They had some issues with me not being (in Moose Jaw enough) and giving face time, which was not part of my contract," McCaffery stated. "At the same time, I've been clear that I have a contract in Prince Albert and a contract in Moose Jaw and I'm trying to do as much good as I can to help Moose Jaw."
McCaffery says he was in Prince Albert for a Rawlinson Centre Volunteer Appreciation night when MJCC Board Chair Colleen Patterson called to tell him he wasn't welcome back to his job in Moose Jaw.
In an April interview, McCaffery said one of his goals for the Cultural Centre was to "get other, alternative spaces that are in the building up to date and able to be used by other groups in a safe way."
He appeared to make that happen in May, when it was announced that Rubarb Productions - Moose Jaw's professional theatre company - was moving from their original office location and leasing available space in the Cultural Centre.
McCaffery says it was a move met by "negative" reaction from some board members.
"They're (the board) looking for revenue and here's a group that wants to use the space," he said. "We have all these spaces that are not used at the (Cultural Centre). I thought it was a really good move, but the board definitely did not appreciate that."
McCaffery acknowledges that even after that less than enthusiastic response to the Rubarb idea, he went ahead an signed them to a one-year lease anyway.
"I really thought it was within my purview to do that," McCaffery said in relation to the contract.
Discover Moose Jaw has reached out to the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre Board. At this time they have chosen not to comment.