A key staff member has been cast out of the Challenge Penticton family.
General manager Barb Haynes was let go last week by the non-profit Penticton Triathlon Race Society, which operates the annual multi-sport event.
Society president Paulette Rennie said Haynes was hired on a one-year contract that was due to expire later this year, but board members wanted to get started immediately on remaking the race for 2014.
“We looked at it and decided that we really need to identify new staff that had specific skills to manage different work streams, rather than have someone try to general manage,” Rennie said.
She noted the board has not decided how many new people it may need to hire, just that it likely needs some specialists.
“We need experts in different areas, like in the race area, in the marketing area, in the sponsorship area, rather than have a generalist,” she said.
“Barb did a great job. She’s a professional, she did a great job for us, but it’s not the role we need,” Rennie added.
Haynes, who could not be reached for comment, left her position as executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association in December 2012 to take the job with Challenge.
Rennie also confirmed the society has not renewed the short-term contract of race director Laura Carleton, although she didn’t rule out hiring back Carleton once the reorganization is complete.
Mayor Garry Litke said he read about the society’s reason for restructuring in a newspaper article and is content with the board’s decision.
“The board was appointed by the city. They’re all very competent individuals,” he said.
“They deal with their employees as they see fit. We don’t interfere with that process at all.”
The City of Penticton obtained the Challenge brand licence from the European Challenge Family for an undisclosed sum and then assigned it to the society.
Just shy of 1,400 people registered for this past summer’s triathlon, about half the number who participated in the final Ironman Canada in 2012.
Rennie declined to reveal how many athletes have registered so far for the 2014 edition of Challenge Penticton.
“We want to keep our registration numbers and financial numbers to ourselves at this point in time,” she said, “because it’s a competitive environment to get people to come to Penticton and join the Challenge race instead of any other long-distance races.”
Next year’s Challenge Penticton is scheduled for Aug. 24, while the Ironman Canada race in Whistler goes July 27.
The two events were held on the same day this year.