San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden cuts executive director position

jhickey@thetribunenews.comApril 15, 2013 

The purple gateway welcomes visitors to the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden.

JAYSON MELLOM — jmellom@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The board of the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has eliminated its executive director position in a cost-cutting decision.

Executive Director Mike Bush joined the garden at El Chorro Regional Park in 2011, after working at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, where he oversaw construction of a $400 million horticulture conservatory.

Bush informed others of his immediate departure on Wednesday, April 10, in an email to his contacts: “Yesterday afternoon … the Board informed me that my position as Executive Director had been eliminated. My last day is today.” Bush wrote. “I’ve truly enjoyed my all-too-brief time at the Garden and have enjoyed the support of a superior, professional staff and a grand group of volunteers,” he added.

The Tribune was unable to reach Bush for comment.

The existing staff of four will operate the garden, along with active volunteers and the board of directors. The board anticipates no other staff changes to current services or programs.

When asked to comment, board president Ke-Ping Tsao wrote in a statement to The Tribune: “The Board’s fiduciary and oversight responsibility to periodically review the best use of its resources has led to this decision…We want to maintain a focus of resources and people on our ongoing programs as well as renew our efforts on our hardscape and FireSafe Garden projects.”

According to the most recently available financial records, the nonprofit Friends of San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden reported $431,674 in revenue and $308,374 in expenses for the fiscal year ending in 2010. However, in recent years expenses have exceeded revenues, Tsao said.

The garden, which started in 1989, is home to a variety of plants and is designed to educate the community and connect local people to nature and conservation.

The 150-acre site features a demonstration garden, education center, greenhouse and children’s garden.

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