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State Paying Salary Of Raleigh Museum President

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state is paying the salary of the president of Exploris. While all other employees are paid with local funds, Anne Bryan is actually a state employee working for the Commerce Department. It is an arrangement that is raising some questions about whether the state should pay her salary.

Bryan has been in charge of the children's museum in Raleigh since it opened in January 1994. Before becoming president of Exploris, she worked for the Department of Public Instruction.

The Department of Commerce pays her salary of almost $88,000 and Exploris reimburses the state. Bryan has been a state employee since September 1972 and because of her current deal, she will be eligible for full retirement benefits Sept. 1.

Spokeswoman Melinda Pierson said the Commerce Department has 328 state jobs in which the salaries are reimbursed through outside fees; only one is at Exploris. Pierson told WRAL that Bryan's arrangement was "set up under a previous administration and we're not sure what the rationale was."

Even though Exploris has lost money every year, the state Commerce Department said the museum has never missed a payment and the state has not lost any money.

Bryan told WRAL that her position was created to establish a link between the state and the community to expand the flow of information to children. She said the job was created by the state and that she was recruited by the Commerce Department. She also said she felt it was a smart move for the state and that both sides had been well-served.