Concerns arise from timing of Games resignation

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Arctic Winter Games International Committee is keeping an eye on the situation in Alaska after learning this week that general manager of the 2006 Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games Host Society had resigned, an official with the committee said Tuesday.

Loren Smith, named general manager of the host society in December 2003, resigned Feb. 10 during a host society board meeting. That occurred as the board was set to retire to executive session.

Officially, "family reasons" were cited as the reason for Smith's departure. Board members have declined to discuss issues relating to Smith's decision.

International Committee President Gerry Thick said in a written statement that the committee had "concerns relating to the timely communication and reporting that is required to accurately assess the progress" of the host society in planning and preparing for the 2006 games, scheduled to begin 13 months from now.

"We are sorry to see the departure of the general manager who has been a dedicated supporter of the Arctic Winter Games for many years," Thick said. "However, if a new manager is what the host society deems necessary to get the host society on track, then we will support the decision."

Thick said the international committee was monitoring the situation, and representatives would be in Kenai and Soldotna in March for previously scheduled meetings with the host society.

"At this time, it is our intention to meet with all committees to determine their progress relative to the games' staging manual and to provide support, guidance and assistance as required," Thick said. "We are confident, as a result of these meetings, present difficulties will be resolved and significant progress will lead to a very successful 2006 Arctic Winter Games."

The host society has launched an effort to find a replacement for Smith.

When asked, several members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voiced a measure of unease concerning the matter, and one expressed concern that borough Mayor Dale Bagley, named acting general manager of the host society until Smith's replacement can be found, might have a lot on his plate.

Bagley reminded the assembly he had acted as general manager for six months prior to Smith's being hired.

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