Schenectady County

Schenectady Museum fires director; Bordenave to be interim

Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium Executive Director Kerry Orlyk was replaced Wednesday,
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Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium Executive Director Kerry Orlyk was replaced Wednesday, marking the third switch in leadership at the cash-strapped institution in less than six years.

Teri Bordenave, the former president of Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region, has taken over the position on an interim basis, according to a news release issued by the museum.

Board President Brad Lewis declined to discuss why Orlyk was replaced, citing it as a personnel decision.

But Lewis said the Nott Terrace museum’s mission as a science and technology center won’t change. He wasn’t sure how long Bordenave will stay on as an interim executive director and said her salary would be flexible, much like her arrangement to work at the museum.

“We are excited to have the person who was able to step in for us and are looking forward to some exciting developments from that standpoint,” he said.

Calls to Orlyk’s home and Bordenave’s office were not returned Wednesday. In a statement released through the museum, Bordenave said she is excited to “help drive the organization to the next level and to secure a strong future.”

“Now more than ever, this region needs and deserves a world-class science center, and the Schenectady Museum is well-positioned to be just that,” she said.

Orlyk, who earned a salary of $104,000 in 2009, was named acting executive director after Lee Scott Theisen was fired in April 2006. Theisen, who had a reputation as a successful fundraiser, was dismissed after just three years on the job.

Orlyk, who served a year as the museum’s director of finance, was officially named executive director in December 2006. Under her leadership, the museum received a $250,000 grant to study building a new science and technology center in Schenectady.

But last year, the museum was faced with cutting its operating hours by 38 percent due to a widening hole in its budget.

About 40 percent of the museum’s budget comes from event sales and interest from investments, with the remaining amount garnered through donors or other foundation grants.

At the time, Orlyk blamed the weak economy for the decision to decrease total hours. The changes reduced the museum’s 2011 operating budget by about $400,000.

The museum was facing a $317,000 deficit in 2009, according to the tax return filed in 2009. The negative balance came after a $818,000 deficit in 2008.

It was unclear whether the institution’s budget woes are ongoing. Tax returns from 2010 could not be accessed Wednesday.

Bordenave headed Girls Inc. for more than two decades. Under her leadership, the advocacy organization grew from serving roughly 4,000 girls in Schenectady County to providing services to more than 20,000 girls across seven counties in the Capital Region.

“Teri is a respected professional in the region, and we are fortunate and pleased to have her in this important leadership role at the museum,” said Neil Golub, a longtime supporter and benefactor of the museum, in a statement.

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