Leaders critical of regime in charge of JFK LibraryHistorians in the News
tags: JFK Library, Thomas Putnam
The director of the John F. Kennedy Library has resigned, the most prominent in a long line of recent departures from the iconic institution, triggering a new round of rancor among longtime library figures.
Thomas J. Putnam, a federal employee who joined the library in 1999 and became its fifth director in 2007, notified colleagues on Tuesday morning that, under his current plan, he would stay on only until Thanksgiving. He called his departure a personal decision.
The library has seen a mass exodus of employees — more than one-third of the staff has left voluntarily or been terminated — over the past year and a half, since Heather Campion became chief executive of the foundation that works in tandem with federal archives officials to run the library. During that time, the library has seen a plunge in morale, according to many people familiar with the library’s workings.
Putnam’s announcement ignited criticism Tuesday from former longtime library executives who previously had refrained from publicly criticizing the new leadership, including a suggestion that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg bore some responsibility for the turmoil.
Tom McNaught, who preceded Campion as head of the foundation, called Putnam “absolutely the most remarkable leader of any presidential library,” and laid the reasons for his departure squarely at the feet of the foundation’s highest echelons. ...
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