Jenks City Officials Remain Mum On Aquarium Director
JENKS, Oklahoma - The Director of the Oklahoma Aquarium is now on leave, but Jenks city officials aren't commenting about whether she'll be fired.
The Aquarium is under the oversight of a committee, but until a couple of weeks ago was run by a director who is now on indefinite leave.
The Aquarium had a steady flow of visitors Wednesday, while the City is considering what to with the facility's executive director.
Teri Bowers ran the aquarium until mid-October when she was placed on administrative leave.
But the City of Jenks won't say anything else about Bowers.
"I cannot discuss a personnel matter," said Jenks Assistant City Manager Rebecca Stewart.
Stewart said the situation with Bowers is not an indicator of financial problems but the City is eager to wean it off a $400,000 a year subsidy from the taxpayers of Jenks.
"The aquarium is on solid financial footing; we're not concerned with that aspect of it. What we are dealing with is, the City of Jenks is subsidizing the debt that was created by the bond issue. We'd like to get to the place where the aquarium is servicing it's own debt without the city subsidy," Stewart said.
Bowers, who said she couldn't comment on camera, issued a statement:
"Due to the circumstances leading up to the city manager abruptly sending me home Friday, October 13th, and the division of votes during the Jenks Aquarium Authority meeting Monday night, I am carefully evaluating my options and cannot go into detail. I can say I have retained an attorney and will pursue legal action if necessary. My overall concern, however, is not only for my personal employment, it is also for the overall success and support of the Aquarium."
The City doesn't have a timeline for replacing her and said while the City Manager is officially in charge, the staff is running the place day to day.
"But who's running the aquarium is the same people who have run it every day, the people who come here and do their jobs," she said.