Gloria Ray at KTSC board meeting
On Friday, the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation met for the first time since controversy erupted after a 10News report on President and CEO Gloria Ray's compensation.
Below is a chronological account of Friday's events.
Update 1:40pm Gloria Ray is in attendance at the board meeting discussing her pay and compensation.
KTSC Attorney Edward Phillips says the extension of Gloria Ray's contract, referenced in this story, is not valid. Duncan says that agreement was reached in violation of the organization's bylaws and state law, because all executive board members did not take part in the discussions. Only board chairman, David Duncan, was a part of those negotiations. Duncan has since resigned as board chair.
Update 2:05 KTSC attorney says he believes Gloria Ray might have prepared her own contract extension. Was signed by Ray and former chair David Duncan.
Phillips says a $50,000 signing bonus was paid to Ray on October 13, 2008, which is two months before the Executive Committee approved it in December 2008. Only Ray and Duncan's signatures are on the October 13, 2008 Retention Incentive Agreement that contains the $50,000 signing bonus.
Update 2:35 KTSC board unanimously votes not to ratify reconciliation and retentions payments made to Gloria Ray.
Update: 2:40 KTSC board unanimously votes to ask Ray to pay back unauthorized $96,000 in bonuses.
Update 2:45 Gloria Ray asked to speak at the KTSC board meeting. She said it has become clear that the controversy about her compensation had become a distraction to the KTSC and its good work. She said she was unaware that any payments made to her were unauthorized by the board. She said she has always given her heart and soul to KTSC, and would never have done anything to cause her termination. However, she is willing to retire if an appropriate agreement could be made. Ray said she had intended to retire in 2011, but was asked by board members to stay on for two more years.
Update 2:55 Board member Peyton Hairston made a motion to terminate Ray for cause. KTSC's attorney said the board would be on "solid legal ground" to do so.
Update 3:00 Lots of discussion about which course the board should take. Ray says she offered to resign to remove herself from the leadership of the board, to save the board from having to make a decision about termination. She again asserted that she was not aware that any payments or agreements were made without termination. Attorney said Ray can retire immediately and the terms of her retirement can be negotiated and approved by the board.
Update 3:05 Harris' Motion to terminate Ray for cause has been withdrawn. Board still discussing best course of action. Interim board chair Susan Brown pointing out that Ray has been cooperative and forthright since the documents and questions came to light.
Update 3:25 As discussion continues about how to deal with Ray's offer to resign from KTSC, Interim board chair Susan Brown announced she plans to resign from the board when that agenda item comes up. She says at least two other board members may do the same. Attorney encouraging them not to do that.
Update 3:30 KTSC board agrees to accept retirement of Gloria Ray, effective in two weeks, subject to the attorneys reaching an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the board will move to terminate her employment, that discussion will be postponed for two weeks. The debate is over any further compensation Ray may be awarded.
Update 3:40 Four executive board members announce intention to resign.
Update 4:00 All four remaining members of the KTSC Executive Committee say they are resigning: Susan Brown (interim chair), Jason Crippen, Bill Morrow, and Frances White Hall. The board approved mayoral appointments of Bo Connor and Bill Lyons to the Executive Committee. Peyton Hairston was appointed Vice Chair. The meeting adjourned.
Statement from Gloria Ray:
"I am so proud of KTSC, and all the success and accomplishment that we have achieved as a team. I appreciate the board taking time to hear from me today. It was clear that the board understands that I was told that every contract I signed had been properly approved and, that I entered into all contracts in good faith. I look forward to working toward a resolution that is best for all parties involved."
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero released the following statement about the KTSC Board Meeting:
"I appreciate the difficult work of the Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corp. Board today and am encouraged by the movement toward change in the organization's leadership.
I personally believe there was no wrongdoing on the part of the executive committee and deeply appreciate their service. Their resignations will ensure a fresh perspective moving forward, and help restore public confidence in KTSC."
The Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation will meet at 1:30 Friday to discuss the controversy over the organization's spending and compensation.
Below is the agenda for the meeting:
A. Call to order - Susan Brown, Interim Chair.
B. Counsel's explanation of facts/legal issues related to President's compensation agreements - Edward G. Phillips.
C. Consideration of action regarding certain unauthorized compensation agreements.
D. Consideration of President's employment with KTSC.
E. Consideration of status of Executive Committee.
F. Consideration of actions necessary and appropriately related to the foregoing agenda.
G. Close meeting ¬- Susan Brown, Interim Chair.
Click here for a complete list of documents that have been released to the public.