Cherry blosom dating
The recent rift between the Cherry Blossom Festival and the CEO of the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission has been simmering for years.
Tensions boiled over in October when the festival’s executive board asked KMBBC’s Pam Carswell to move out of the Pink House headquarters, but there has been friction dating back to 2012 after Carswell was hired to head the community’s beautification efforts, The Telegraph has learned.
“The issues run deeper than what the public knows,” said Don Bailey, chairman of the Cherry Blossom Festival’s board.
Information obtained through Open Records Act requests as well as interviews with multiple people involved with both organizations show that Carswell has been accused of bullying workers, maligning festival and KMBBC board members and blowing minor issues out of proportion.
Five years ago, both organizations were on the brink of financial insolvency.
Garnto wrote in a September 2016 email to the festival’s executive committee that the Pink House work environment “has become toxic and hostile” as Carswell “takes any interaction and spreads the word in a way that paints her in a positive light while tarnishing my reputation.” Former administrative assistant Brandi Marks also documented an incident in which she said Carswell became upset about having a visitor show up early for a meeting.Former festival staff members reported multiple flare-ups with Carswell before Brewer’s departure. At that time, the Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission board created a CEO position for Carswell, who no longer would report to the festival president, Stevens said.In one instance, though, Carswell said she couldn’t figure out why Brewer became angry over a billboard campaign for KMBBC. Almost immediately, Ferro noted difficulties working with Carswell.Before that time, the festival chief had always run the beautification commission, which Carolyn Crayton founded in 1974.The commission actually birthed the festival in 1982 in homage to the city’s Yoshino cherry trees and the generosity of the late William Fickling Sr., who is credited with spreading the trees throughout Macon.