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Expo dismisses 3 managers after months of dissension

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Three managers at Indiana Black Expo were fired Wednesday, according to local television reports.

The departures of Chief Operating Officer Perry Hines, Director of Communications Elizabeth Hart and Human Resources Representative Veronica Kendrick comes after months of dissension within the staff of the Indianapolis-based not-for-profit organization.

Indiana Black Expo staged its annual Summer Celebration in Indianapolis in July, attracting nearly 242,000 people to its series of concerts, business seminars and other events.

On May, 17 Expo employees signed a letter to the Black Expo board claiming CEO Tanya Bell was creating a hostile work environment that left employees feeling "disrespected, disregarded and demeaned.” They also claim to have observed Bell “changing figures in various financial documents.”

That letter prompted the board to hire an outside consultant to improve employee relations, and the board said it would provide an update in August.

Telephone calls to Bell, board President John Thompson, board member Vernon Williams, as well as Hines, Hart and Kendrick were not returned.

However, the board released a statement to WRTV-TV Channel 6, backing Bell’s decision to dismiss the three managers.

"The Board of Directors of IBE fully supports the decisions of the President and CEO,” the statement read. “All personnel matters involving individual employees are confidential. Consequently, addressing any specific employment circumstance would be inappropriate.”

Bell took the helm of the Expo in early 2008, replacing Joyce Rogers who left for a position at Ivy Tech Community College. Bell, an attorney by training, had been assistant general counsel at Indianapolis-based hospital system Community Health Network.

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