American Numismatic Association leaders announced Sept. 28 that as
of Sept. 20 the board of governors had “ended its employment
relationship” with Larry Shepherd as executive director of the
30,000-member nonprofit association with headquarters in Colorado
ANA President Tom Hallenbeck announced the action during a
telephone conference with the numismatic press. He was joined in the
conference call by ANA Governor and Immediate Past President Clifford
Mishler and Ron Sirna, ANA general counsel.
Hallenbeck said the ANA Board voted 9 to 0 Sept. 20 to end
Shepherd’s service as executive director.
Shepherd was hired in March 2008 and had approximately two years
left of a five-year contract. He was placed on paid administrative
leave Aug. 20 by unanimous vote of the board.
Sirna said ANA officials could not publicly discuss any severance
arrangements, nor would they discuss the ANA Board’s reasons for
taking the action, generally describing them as personnel matters.
Shepherd told Coin World Sept. 29 that he had received a letter
dated Sept. 20 informing him of the board’s action, but was surprised
by the manner in which the announcement was made.
“I was not aware of the news release or what it stated until
people started calling me a few minutes after it was sent to ANA
members by email Sept. 28,” Shepherd said.
The ANA’s press released stated:
“Coinciding with placing Shepherd on leave in August, the board
initiated the process for a comprehensive organizational review of
management issues and employment matters, and engaged the assistance
of Employer’s Resources of Colorado. The human resources consulting
firm has identified employment policy deficiencies, and provided
recommendations for improving internal operational practices and
positive motivational development as the ANA moves forward.”
Shepherd took exception to the implications in the ANA press
release as well as what he characterized as “malicious gossip and
innuendo” that have been swirling in the numismatic community and in
Internet postings since Aug. 20.
In a written statement issued to Coin World Sept. 29
“During my tenure at the ANA I have not violated the ANA employee
handbook, or the code of ethics as stated in the ANA bylaws. I did not
violate any provisions of the ANA conflict of interest policy. I did
not violate federal EEOC anti-discrimination or harassment guidelines
(sexual, age, race, etc.). I offered to the general counsel that I
would take a polygraph to clear up any issues or concerns that may
have arisen due to unfounded rumors and innuendo, but I sensed they
were more interested in finding a cause than in finding facts, as
evidenced by my being told on Aug. 20 that I would not be coming back,
even before the outside investigation took place.”
In the statement Shepherd enumerated a long list of
accomplishments realized during his three years as executive director
and thanked those who have supported him during “this trying period.”
(See full statement on Page 5.)
Also on Sept. 29 Harlan J. Berk Ltd. of Chicago announced that
Shepherd had joined its staff as of Sept. 23.
Via the ANA press release Hallenbeck acknowledged progress under
“We appreciate Shepherd’s past three years of contributions, but
the Board determined the association needs to move in a different
direction going forward, providing greater focus on its core
Hallenbeck added: “The ANA is about more than just being a big
coin show. It’s about our individual members and member clubs. It’s
about educating our members and the general public, doing so by
creating a positive numismatic experience for the many diverse
segments of our organization and the greater hobby community.”
In response to questions from the numismatic press Hallenbeck said
the ANA is on sound financial footing and that the board will be
considering a new budget during its meetings in Pittsburgh in mid October.
The ANA president described headquarters functions as being on
“cruise control.” He said Operations Manager Kim Kiick is in charge of
day-to-day operations and directing the staff.
Hallenbeck noted that his coin shop is only two blocks away from
ANA headquarters and that he has been stopping by a couple of times a
day to deal with any matters that need attention.
Hallenbeck announced that the ANA is establishing a corporate
governance committee and will soon begin the search for a new
executive director, although no timeline has yet been established. He
noted that he expects to focus on providing a more balanced approach
to serving ANA’s educational mission.
“We will be seeking a new executive director to help us achieve
this objective in a way that will better serve the total hobby
community,” Hallenbeck said.
The ANA president added that he expects extensive and possibly
“heated” discussions in Pittsburgh regarding how to move forward.
General counsel Sirna said it is likely ANA will bring in outside
consultants to advise the board regarding best practices for nonprofit
associations and establishing better dynamics in the working
relationship between a governing board and the executive director.
The ANA Board is scheduled to meet in open session Oct. 14 from 3
to 5 p.m. in Room 330 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in
Pittsburgh during its first fall National Money Show. ■