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U.S. Marshals Museum CEO resigns, national search to begin

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U.S. Marshals Museum
The U.S. Marshals Museum under construction in Fort Smith

Patrick Weeks, who faces two felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, has resigned as president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum. Museum Board Chair Doug Babb said Friday a national search will begin for the position.

“We are most grateful to Patrick for his valuable contributions to the museum project. He oversaw the construction of the museum building and worked with Thinkwell Group to design all of the museum experiences which will soon be under construction,” Babb said in a press release.

Weeks, hired in June 2014 as museum president and CEO, succeeded Jim Dunn who had served as museum president since 2009. Weeks was arrested Dec. 21 on two felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and was placed on administrative leave Dec. 23 by the museum board.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Dec. 30. Week’s case was filed directly from Fort Smith District Court to Sebastian County Circuit Court before a preliminary hearing on Feb. 15. A jury trial under Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor is set for July 5.

According to a Fort Smith Police Department report, Weeks refused to allow two OG&E workers into his yard to work on street lights on Dec. 21. The workers called police when Weeks followed them with a pistol and pointed the pistol at them. He was arrested without incident following the encounter and was released on a $3,000 bond from the Sebastian County Adult Detention Center on Dec. 21.

Conviction of a Class D felony is punishable by up to six years in prison, in addition to a fine not to exceed $10,000.

NEW SEARCH

The museum board has retained Lindauer to conduct a national search for a new museum president and CEO.

“The Lindauer firm successfully recruited the USMM Foundation president and chief development officer, Anthony Meyer, earlier this year. They already have a complete understanding of the project and are well-positioned to effectively recruit a replacement for Weeks,” Babb said.

Babb, who took over the day-to-day responsibilities of the museum after Weeks was placed on administrative leave, will continue to be responsible for operations and coordinate progress in the project. The search and hiring process for a new president and CEO is expected to last about four months.

“This is a highly attractive position for a candidate who has had success running a large national or regional museum,” Babb said. “A new CEO with a proven track record of achievement in museum operations will add tremendous value to this project. As I’ve mentioned previously, the museum experience fabrication process is on schedule, and we continue to receive significant donations from new donors.”

MUSEUM PROGRESS

Babb said Ronald Davis, director of the United States Marshals Service, visited Fort Smith Wednesday and toured the museum.

“He was very impressed with our progress and told us the U.S. Marshals Service stands firmly behind this project,” Babb said.

The museum signed a contract in September with Thinkwell for the construction of museum exhibits. The museum foundation has raised the $7.8 million needed to complete that construction, Babb said late last year, adding there is a full schedule this year for building the interactive exhibits. The production is on schedule, Babb said Feb. 22.

Museum officials announced in early November that the Fort Smith-based museum had received an influx of contributions following a $5 million matching gift announced over the summer, meaning production of the museum experience could start soon and the museum could open within a year. Construction of the approximately 53,000 square feet U.S. Marshals Museum was completed – except for exhibits – in early 2020. The facility is located on the Arkansas River near downtown Fort Smith.

Babb said an opening date cannot be set until the exhibits are fully fabricated. Contracts for the construction of the experiences will be signed in the spring.

In January 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the site for the national museum. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in September 2015, and museum officials initially hoped to have the facility open by late 2017.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.