Local

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful CEO has no plans to move from Cherry Blossom Pink House

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful commissioner Theresa Robinson, left, said the organization agreed to move out of the Cherry Blossom Festival headquarters at the Pink House, but CEO Pam Carswell, right, said she has “not made any such plans.”
Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful commissioner Theresa Robinson, left, said the organization agreed to move out of the Cherry Blossom Festival headquarters at the Pink House, but CEO Pam Carswell, right, said she has “not made any such plans.” Telegraph file photo

With a 5 p.m. Friday deadline looming for the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission to vacate its office, CEO Pam Carswell said she will not be moving.

Last week, the Cherry Blossom Festival asked that its founding organization move out of the Pink House building that the two entities have shared.

Don Bailey, the Cherry Blossom Festival’s board chairman, cited personnel issues when the festival originally wanted Carswell out of the building last week.

He and KMBBC Chairman Adam Cochran agreed to a one-week extension, Bailey said.

Carswell said she knows nothing about it.

“To my knowledge, KMBB has not agreed, as a board of commissioners, to move out of our headquarters, nor has any documentation or anything in writing been received that would justify ‘moving out’ of our headquarters,” she stated in an email response to a Telegraph inquiry.

Last week’s KMBBC meeting felt more like an ambush to Carswell and some board members, as they were told of the request and got a lashing from Macon-Bibb County leaders about internal and external squabbling that had made it to the mayor’s office in recent months.

Interim County Manager Julie Moore also asked for KMBBC’s financial and activities reports.

Carswell has said an audit is underway and is not late, and that she was told by Mayor Robert Reichert that monthly activity reports were not necessary.

Carswell, who was out of the office this week due to a medical procedure, said she has no plans to leave the office at the corner of Cherry and New streets.

Bailey said due to Carswell being out of the office this week, there are no plans to physically move her belongings out of the building.

“Obviously if Pam is out on medical leave, we’ll do everything we can to work with them,” Bailey said. “We hope they get their issues worked out and everything returns to normal. This is crazy.”

Carswell maintains that the deed to the house identifies it as the headquarters for both Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful — which formed in 1974 — and the Cherry Blossom Festival, which began in 1982.

She said if any changes have been made or an agreement reached to allow the Cherry Blossom Festival to take over the building and exclude KMBBC, it was done without her knowledge.

“As to whether KMBBC will be moving out of its headquarters at 794 Cherry Street in the future, I have not made any such plans,” she wrote.

KMBBC commissioner Theresa Robinson is under the impression that Carswell agreed to the move last week.

“The president and CEO Pam Carswell agreed to move her office out of the Pink House as agreed with Cherry Blossom at the board meeting last week,” Robinson said in response to a Telegraph inquiry. “We have an agreement with Cherry Blossom, as far as the board is concerned. We are keeping that commitment.”

Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore said the county is considering pulling $110,000 in fiscal 2018 funding from the commission due to issues within KMBBC and with the community and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The Telegraph has left phone messages with Cochran, but has not heard back.

Macon-Bibb Commissioner Bert Bivins has called a meeting Tuesday with KMBBC, Cherry Blossom and the Industrial Authority to discuss their operations.

Come back to macon.com for updates and read Saturday’s Telegraph.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines

  Comments