Petition lodged over firing of chief

Petition lodged over firing of chief

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition protesting against the dismissal of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre's director and demanding the BACC discloses his performance evaluation.

The board of the BACC Foundation, which runs the centre, fired Pawit Mahasarinand late last month citing unsatisfactory performance. The move came after Mr Pawit criticised City Hall for failing to fund the city's main arts venue. The dismissal prompted Chayan Chaiyaporn, who identifies himself only as a "Thai citizen", to launch the petition calling for transparency from the BACC Foundation.

"The board promised to give an explanation after Oct 1, but they have done nothing so far," Mr Chayan said.

Mr Pawit, who taught at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Arts until March last year, left the BACC on Sept 30. His contract was meant to run until 2022.

Mr Chayan on Wednesday displayed a list of 1,562 supporters gathered via the website. The petition of both Thai and foreign signatories calls for Mr Pawit's performance evaluation to be made public.

Board member and secretary Chatvichai Promadhattavedi rejected the demand, insisting the performance evaluation was a "private issue".

Mr Pawit was called to acknowledge the result of his evaluation before a panel assigned to assess his performance, he added.

Mr Chatvichai claimed that interviews Mr Pawit gave may "affect the centre because its sponsors don't want to see a conflict that could tarnish their reputations".

Mr Pawit had been at odds with City Hall over what he deemed was its political interference in running the centre, culminating in the cutting of financial support.

The centre has been running on a tight budget over the past few years and needed to cut operating hours after City Hall withdrew its annual funding of 40 million baht, citing poor performance on the part of the BACC Foundation.

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