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Aquarium leadership structure changes

With the Great Lakes Aquarium up and running, the role of the Lake Superior Authority is changing. Friday, the authority board voted to separate itself from the private nonprofit board that actually operates the facility. The authority was establ...

With the Great Lakes Aquarium up and running, the role of the Lake Superior Authority is changing.
Friday, the authority board voted to separate itself from the private nonprofit board that actually operates the facility.
The authority was established in 1990 by the Legislature to work with the Lake Superior Center to construct and operate a public education facility.
The center has its own board, and in 1996 the two became interlinked, as authority members joined the nonprofit board as well. At the same time, the authority remained independent.
The move was to improve communication and simplify staffing.
"It worked very well," said authority chair Tom Spence. "We got the building built."
With the facility now open, he sees the authority's role evolving. Its function now is to be the building's owner and landlord on behalf of the state.
He does not see the authority having any function in the day-to-day operation of the aquarium.
"It's a logical thing to do and a logical time to do it," said Great Lakes Aquarium President Ann Glumac, who chairs the nonprofit board. "I think it's appropriate. There's been a lot off confusion over the last couple of months. This might provide a little clarity."
Spence said he began thinking about the move in early November and was not prompted by legislation proposed by Rep. Dale Swapinsky, DFL-Duluth. Among other things, that legislation would prohibit the same people from serving on both boards.
The motion to separate the two boards passed, and authority members will resign from the nonprofit. In addition, the two boards will not be sending representatives to each other's meetings. Instead, the primary contact will be through the fall report.

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