McTaggart out at Old Stone Fort


By Jim Poole

Melinda McTaggart is out as director of the Old Stone Fort Museum in Schoharie.
Ms. McTaggart resigned in May, and the Board of Supervisors named museum curator Dan Beams as interim director.
That’s according to Mr. Beams’ statement in the spring-summer edition of the Schoharie County Historical Review.
Mr. Beams’ article in the Review, which is published by the County Historical Society, is apparently the first public notice of Ms. McTaggart having resigned.
County Attorney Mike West, who’s also treasurer of the Historical Society, said Ms. McTaggart failed to meet supervisors’ deadline to move into the county.
Almost all department heads must live in the county in which they work, according to Public Officers Law, Mr. West said.
Ms. McTaggart, who lives in Otsego County, agreed about the residency issue but didn’t give further details about leaving.
Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Federice also didn’t want to discuss the circumstances.
Ms. McTaggart had a house in Summit but couldn’t live there because of a water issue, Mr. West said.
“It just happened,” he added. “Sometime in May the deadline passed. It had nothing to do with her performance.”
Mr. West said the parting was “amicable,” though Ms. McTaggart chuckled when told Mr. West’s description.
The relationship between county government and the Historical Society has come under fire recently, especially from letter-writer John Osinski. It’s unclear, however, whether that relationship played a role in Ms. McTaggart’s resignation.
Ms. McTaggart was director for nearly four years. Mr. Beams has been curator for almost 24 years, and he served as interim director when former director Carl Kopecke left five years ago.
Mr. Beams said Monday that he’ll continue work on the Palatine Project, a study of the earliest German settlers here, and on the county’s role in the nation’s upcoming 250th anniversary.
Mr. Federice was confident Mr. Beams would do well.
“We’re in good hands while we look for someone [a new director],” Mr. Federice said.
Mr. Beams was unsure whether he’d apply to be the permanent director.
“In the meantime, my goal is to move the society and the county along in the time that I have,” he said.
Ms. McTaggart looked at the parting as “a chance to do something different” and work in public policy or a museum.
“I think we accomplished a few good things while I was there,” she said of her directorship.