Ray Massie is resigning as director of marketing at MetraPark, citing in part the push by Yellowstone County to privatize the facility.
Massie told Q2 News he submitted his resignation Thursday morning but plans to remain on the job through March 16.
The 66-year-old noted that a number of factors played into his decision, but he didn't want to be involved in any changeover in management.
"But what is being done to the staff and the operation here- and the morale that is being brow beaten by the commissioners- has just made it an untenable place to be. I wanted to find a place where I could be appreciated and really do what we do best, like we have done here at MetraPark," he told Q2 News Thursday.
In January, Yellowstone County commissioners voted 2-1 to allow private management firms to submit bids to take over management of MetraPark, with any final decision on hiring a group coming later. That move followed an agreement signed last July with Oak View Group Facilities to entice larger acts to perform at MetraPark.
While the decision to privatize isn't final, Massie believes it's a matter of time. If so, that puts 38 full-time jobs, including Massie's, at risk.
"Privatization is absolutely going to happen. What you see happening right now is nothing but a smokescreen for the eventual opportunity. There’s not been a whole lot of transparency and clarity despite what anyone says from downtown about the privatization initiative. You will get all kinds of denials—no we didn’t, no we didn’t—I can tell you almost to the date what is going to happen," he said.
"The effect (of privatization) is probably going to raise people’s prices. You will pay more for beer you will pay more for other things at the building, but for me there really isn’t a place for me working in private management operation. I’m much more of a creative make things happen kind of guy. And that really isn’t what private management is all about. Private management is about maximizing their profit and minimizing their expenses, and that is not a kind of environment I want to work in. I want to work in an environment where people are creative, excited, and making good things happen for their community," Massie added.
Massie has served as marketing director at MetraPark for nearly eight years. He was often the public face of the facility, promoting concerts, events and MontanaFair.