Imperial's director fired

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The Imperial Theatre board of directors has voted to terminate the employment of Lara Plocha, the theater's executive director.

<B>Lara Plocha</B>: Imperial Theater's executive director, named in July 2004, had been on paid leave since March, citing family issues.  Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
Lara Plocha: Imperial Theater's executive director, named in July 2004, had been on paid leave since March, citing family issues.

Board President Paul Brewer said Ms. Plocha's termination Monday was for performance issues.

"There were goals that were given to Lara back in January, and she did not meet those goals," Mr. Brewer said.

Ms. Plocha has been on paid leave from the Imperial since March, citing family issues. Mr. Brewer said an audit of the Imperial's books was under way but that it was routine when an employee of Ms. Plocha's stature is fired.

"It's our policy to do an audit," he said. "It's currently in the process of getting done."

Ms. Plocha was named executive director in July 2004. Before that, she served as the theater's director of operations. During Ms. Plocha's tenure, the theater had a new marquee installed, began the popular Southern Fried Flicks Film Festival and booked comedy, classical, family and world music concert series.

"It would be unnatural for me not to be disappointed by this," Ms. Plocha said. "The Imperial has been like another child to me. But it is the board's prerogative."

Although Ms. Plocha said she'll miss being at the Imperial, she said she will remain a presence downtown. She and her husband own a business, the boutique Blue Magnolia, on Broad Street.

"This will give me more time," she said, "more time for the store, more time to work with the Downtown Augusta Alliance, and more time for my precious children."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.

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ljc
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ljc 04/11/07 - 05:43 am
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I have been in awe at and

I have been in awe at and enjoyed the wonderful entertainment the Imperial the has had the last few years. If you want something to do in the CSRA, you could count on the Imperial (not the Bell or Civic Center) having something going on each week if not almost nightly at times. Someone has been doing a great job to get such marvelous entertainment to come to Augusta! Thank you for this and I hope the quality and quantity of entertainment we have come to expect at the Imperial does not diminish with the loss of Ms. Plocha.

CHIEF
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CHIEF 04/11/07 - 06:52 am
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you will have a mountain to

you will have a mountain to fix this one

getalife
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getalife 04/11/07 - 07:14 am
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Over the last couple of years

Over the last couple of years the Imperial has offered such a variety of shows and I felt was almost growing monthly with new shows. It certainly is not the lack of shows that Ms. Plocha was fired for, as she was doing a lots more shows than The Bell or the James Brown Arena???

foresthills
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foresthills 04/11/07 - 09:17 am
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My husband and I visited the

My husband and I visited the Imperial years ago and thought it was just wonderful.

darr350
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darr350 04/11/07 - 09:50 am
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I guess they want tell the

I guess they want tell the real story? Has to be more to it than this? Politics I would guess? Someone on this board has a friend or family member or business associate that he or she wants to hook up with this job? You can bet there is more to it, this lady was very successful and did a great job. Time will tell. More of Disgusta!!

edst4
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edst4 04/11/07 - 11:15 am
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I have to agreee with

I have to agreee with darr350. Ms. Plocha seemed to have brought life back to it and now i really do not see a bright future for it. I guess this town does not know how support somebody that does a good job. Nope they screw them. I wonder if the Paul Brewer mentioned is the same one that worked at A Mag? If so i feel for the Imperial then.

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 04/11/07 - 11:55 am
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Goals given in January and

Goals given in January and fired two months later for not meeting them??? I've been to the Imperial Theatre more in the past three years for a variety of events than I have in the previous 16 years in Augusta and that included the days when Channel Z held many concerts there. Contrast that to the three concerts at the Civic Center I've attended and never stepping foot inside the Bell. Ms. Plocha was doing something right. I hope the quality and diversity of entertaiment does not change or cease do to the board's decision.

bleudoor
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bleudoor 04/11/07 - 12:11 pm
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We held an event last year at

We held an event last year at the Imperial and Lara Plocha was a wonderful person to work with on this. I feel very bad for her, but am glad by all the positive comments. I completely agree...she had such wonderful ideas and vision for the Imperial, plus really worked hard to generate good publicity for the venue. What will happen now? Will we continue to have the movie nights and the variety of entertainment? If this was politics or certain board members just not liking her, then it's very disappointing!

dashiel
176
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dashiel 04/11/07 - 12:45 pm
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If things go according to

If things go according to pattern, Ms. Plocha will be replaced by three posturing chowderheads. Now think for a moment. Whose management style is THAT? (Hint: He likes big words, big hats, and little horses.)

mnwilliams111
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mnwilliams111 04/11/07 - 01:39 pm
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edst4, Yep...that would be

edst4,
Yep...that would be the same Paul Brewer as the Augusta Magazine. He leaves chaos and destruction in his wake, no matter where he is "managing". Just ask the poor sales folks over at FOX54. They have lost more sales managers, directors and salespeople in the last two years than most companies go through in 10 years! I wonder what school he went to get his management training? Oh, and the trick with not making unreasonable goals? That is his standard operating procedure....used time and time again.And no, this is not slander, this is a fact.

mnwilliams111
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mnwilliams111 04/11/07 - 01:41 pm
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Ms. Plocha, unless it is

Ms. Plocha, unless it is found you have ripped the Imperial off for gazillions of dollars...don't worry. The town and surrounding areas know you are just another sacrificial lamb. You made tremendous strides in making the Imperial a place to head back to. God bless you and God speed.

Padfoot
5
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Padfoot 04/11/07 - 03:15 pm
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What bothers me is that all

What bothers me is that all of this was whispered about...then softly denied...then alluded to...then skirted around...and now that Masters has passed...publicized and aired. Lara is gifted and creative, I know it. What troubles me is that Austin would say that the Imperial Theatre has a mess on its hands...that it will find it harder to solicit help from the community...that donations won't be so freely offered up as they have been in the past. Austin, are you on the board? Do you presume to know the business of the Imperial? Austin, be careful, when you make those kind of statements...it is in my opinion that you are doing damage as well. If your opinions hurt someone financially...then are they still just opinions? Maybe the same reason you took "Ryan B" to court, mmm... Just as you believe that you can't put faith in an individual...only a belief or a principle...I believe there are always two sides to a story. As a "high-ranking member of the media"...you should know that. As for Lara and family, my prayers go with her. The downtown needs her more than the theatre does anyway, things happen for a reason.

dwntwnbz
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dwntwnbz 04/11/07 - 03:15 pm
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Personal attacks on Paul

Personal attacks on Paul Brewer are completely out of line....And to assume that The Imperial Theatre will no longer thrive is unfair to the hundreds of volunteers, arts groups, supporters, employees, and board members who have worked VERY hard to bring glory back to the theatre and provide a variety of quality entertainment. As is usually the case, the real heroes are the ones behind the scenes, working tirelessly towards a common goal, not grabbing headlines or credit for the efforts of a TEAM. Time WILL tell...until then, speculation is unfair to everyone, including Lara.

edst4
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edst4 04/11/07 - 03:36 pm
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Well dwntwnbz seems

Well dwntwnbz seems mnwilliams as well as I do know Mr. Brewer. Are you Mr. Brewer? Ms. Plocha was the sacrificial lamb. Sure you have 100's of very hard working volunteers employee's and such. But who guided them to be a great asset for The Imperial. Was it you dwntwnbz I am assuming not. It was Ms. Plocha that got the job done. Same ole same ole story in this town get rid of the good hard working people that made things happen. Keep people who bring things down. I hope for the sake of The Imerial the board knows what they are doing. But with what I had read sound like a bunch of people with big ego's. Who got bored and said lets ruin somebody's life. Good job folks I sure hope my tax money is not supporting you.

Ron Martin CPP
2
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Ron Martin CPP 04/11/07 - 10:15 pm
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Sensationalizing Ms. Plocha's

Sensationalizing Ms. Plocha's departure does not serve a usefull purpose. Why didn't you just she left? OR, nothing at all. Please sensationalize some good news.

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 04/12/07 - 01:34 am
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I don't like the Imperial

I don't like the Imperial Theatre's Board of Directors decision to fire Lara Plocha.
How it all played out in the media was very poorly handled.
If, as the press reported, Lara had offered her resignation and the Board said '"no"--wait until we're finished.'...THEN they fired her without letting her resign! Lara has given more to the theatre and to this community than most of us...and for her to be treated this way is shameful.
I'd like to know who serves on this Board so I can communicate my displeasure directly.
NOTE: (see below) She was given goals in January.....and in three months she did not fulfill them.
"There were goals that were given to Lara back in January and she did not meet those goals," Mr. Brewer said.
Did the Board give her less than 3 months to fulfill these goals and tell her "or else?"
As the President of the Board said to Austin on the radio-paraphrasing---'in time things will be known or we'll know more'-----
I'd like to know now. Lara has given so much time and energy to the theatre and to the events played there over the past several years. For those of us who support the theatre and the shows I'd like more information.

good grief
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good grief 04/12/07 - 10:59 am
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Lara Plocha is one the most

Lara Plocha is one the most progressive voices for downtown Augusta. In seeking to build the arts culture of the CSRA she brought a diverse array of musicians, films, and events to the Imperial. I am sure there are many reasons why things have transpired as they have, but it's a case of saddling someone with duties and responsibilities that should have been given to someone hired for those specific tasks, not to Lara who was essentially performing the work of several people.

whereisjustice
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whereisjustice 04/14/07 - 09:51 am
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This is a step in the wrong

This is a step in the wrong direction for the imperial. Lara has done a terrific job as Director and and bringing entertainment to a blighted downtown area. I give the Imperial less than a year before we se it close. Lara's passion and vision was the catalyst this theater needed to succeed and this move was the death nail.

good grief
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good grief 05/03/07 - 06:14 pm
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The Imperial is on the verge

The Imperial is on the verge of implosion. Now the entire Arthouse film series, which features progressive independent and world cinema, is on the chopping block. Apparently it's due to the fact that many of these films, though internationally lauded, have never played at the local megaplex, and therefore, have no real merit as films.

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