Sea base on lookout for new head

Executive director Charlie Abbott was fired after six months in the latest change at the helm.

August 29, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

Management is again changing at the Newport Sea Base where executive director Charlie Abbott was fired for undisclosed reasons after about six months on the job.

A former sailing and windsurfing instructor with a bachelor's degree in economics, Abbott took charge of the sea base in February. He was terminated in early August, said Lara Fisher, marketing director for the Orange County Council of Boy Scouts, which operates the sea base. Fisher is acting as director until a replacement is found.

The base offers youth educational programs in sailing, canoeing and other topics, and its facilities are used for various community events and activities.


Abbott "was terminated for violating one of our policies," Fisher said, but she did not say which policy was violated. She declined to give other information about Abbott's departure, saying she cannot publicly discuss such personnel issues.

Abbott did not return a call for comment.

When he became director, Abbott replaced Catherine Malm, who had been with the base for five years in various positions. When she left in October 2005, Malm said she wanted to spend more time with her young children and write a book.

Her resignation came right after program director Knowlton Shore quit, though officials said the two events were unrelated. Shore had complained of mismanagement by a county Scout executive.

The previous resignations "really have no connection to what's going on now," Fisher said, adding that the sea base has not suffered from the management changes.

"We believe we're still doing very well down there. We had a large increase in participation over the summer," she said.

Also early this year, base officials were hit with news that Argus, the base's 101-year-old tall ship, would need a $1.5 million overhaul or would have to be retired. An attempt to auction the ship on EBay was unsuccessful, and Abbott had to find another ship to use for summer sailing programs. No permanent replacement for Argus has been found.

The search for a new sea base director began Monday, Fisher said. The ideal candidate will have a bachelor's degree and be able to handle the diverse array of responsibilities that go with managing a $7 million property and a $600,000 annual budget, she said.

"It's a very diverse job in the sense that the person needs marketing skills and they need fundraising skills and they need education skills," she said. "The goal of that property is to have it become the best of what it offers in the bay, and that's youth programming … for the youth of Orange County."

Fisher said she's not sure how long it will take to fill the director's job.


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