ALBERT MARTENIS III was introduced as the new executive director of the Owosso Historic Commission (OHC) during a press meeting at Curwood Castle on Wednesday, Feb. 19 in 2020. Martenis (second from left) is shown with 2020 OHC Vice Chair Dave Acton (left), OHC Chair Elaine Greenway, longtime Curwood Castle docent and historian Denice Grace and OHC executive committee member/supporter Mark Erickson.

   The group is shown in front of the 1910 cover illustration by Frank Hoffman for the James Oliver Curwood book, “The Danger Trail.” The illustration was a new acquisition for OHC.

(Independent File Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor

  Owosso City Council approved a new contract between the city and the Owosso Historical Commission/Castle City Museums board, allowing for a raise for Albert Martenis III, who formally became the OHC director in February 2020. The only condition the council required was to have additional language added to the contract to ensure the raise is covered entirely through upcoming fundraising efforts.

   Due to the pandemic, the city museums, including Curwood Castle, have been closed to the public and fundraising efforts were made exceptionally difficult in 2020. Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth explained to council members, some having doubts about the contract, that Martenis and the board have still remained busy, with new effort going to modernize displays and reflecting on new fundraising efforts going forward.

   Not quite a year ago, OHC hired Martenis on an 11-month contract. That agreement expired. The new contract will be extended for 18 months in order to align with the city fiscal calendar.

   The Owosso Historical Commission/Castle City Museums board approved a 17 percent wage increase in the contract based on the idea that the director role has expanded, since the position now entails duties related to both OHC and Castle City Museums. Prior, the director duties were connected to the OHC position alone.

   According to a memorandum from OHC, the OHC board decided in November to increase the “scope” of OHC and Castle City Museums by having “one set of members constitute” both boards.

   Also mentioned in the memorandum, is a plan to institute stronger fundraising efforts. “Specifically and primarily, the every other year home tour fundraiser will happen in fall 2021, with expanded scope and activities, the millage funding Capital Improvement Plan spending will be in high gear for the next several months, new displays and experiences at the Castle with a plan to ‘keep them fresh’ will be rolled out …” and so forth. A lot of fundraising efforts are, of course, with the hope that pandemic restrictions will come to an end.

   The contract with Martenis is an independent contractor agreement. Once signed, the contract will end in 2022. As an independent contractor, Martenis is not a city employee and is therefore, responsible for his own insurance and has to accept liability related to his services for OHC.

   Entering into the new contract, the city will pay Martenis $48,000 in total, or approximately $2,600 per month going forward until the contract is completed.

New Contract for Owosso Historical Commission Director was last modified: January 26th, 2021 by Karen Elford