Accusing leaders of the Waukesha Business Improvement District of "excessive bullying" and treating its staff in a "disgraceful manner," the executive director of the organization has resigned.
Meghan Sprager, who has been on the job for just more than a year, will stay with the BID through the conclusion of Art Fest on Sept. 8.
However, Sprager who has played a key role in the success and growth of the Waukesha Farmers’ Market, said she can no longer tolerate the "hostile work environment."
“Please know that my decision to leave the organization was not made rashly,” said Sprager in her resignation letter, which is attached to this article. “It came after months of inexplicable conflict brought on by the BID’s leadership. The disgraceful manner in which I, as well as others who work for or are a member of the BID, have been treated by the present BID leadership is clear to many individuals.”
Properties in the downtown area are taxed a special assessment to fund services of the BID, such as marketing, special events and business recruitment and retention. Sprager reports to a board of directors made up primarily of local business leaders.
“It is my observation that the BID is very unhealthy,” Sprager wrote. “It cannot continue operating in its current state. As presently configured, the lack of civil discourse among the BID’s leadership provides a playground for manipulation and excessive bullying.
"This, in my opinion, is why it has been historically difficult for the BID to retain executive directors, and it has poisoned the organization to such a degree that I no longer feel that there is any possibility for anyone to effectively administer the organization in this capacity," she added.
Sprager has obtained work with a different organization with help of a BID board member.
Sprager began working for the BID in May 2011 and had an annual salary of $65,000 at that time. She previously served as director of development and communications at La Casa de Esperanza.
When she was hired, Sprager said she was “passionate” about the downtown area. Sprager replaced Karen Richards, who resigned from the position in fall 2010.
Still, she earned praise Tuesday from at least one BID board member.
“She always has a smile and always approaches problems with an optimistic approach,” said Alderman Roger Patton, who lives in the downtown. “We have been very happy with her work.”