The Helena Civic Center (copy)

The Helena Civic Center is pictured in this July 31, 2019, file photo.

Helena Civic Center General Manager Byron Dike, who now oversees Bill Roberts Golf Course as well, has announced his resignation effective Dec. 30. 

Dike offered no explanation for his resignation in a Dec. 4 letter to city officials. 

"I'm thankful for the opportunities I've had with the city and I'm very proud of my accomplishments over the two years I've been in my position," Dike's letter read. "I wish the city and staff the best moving forward."

In an interview, he said his two sons were born since taking the job. 

"It got to the point where I need to spend time with the kiddos," he said.

Helena's mayor and city commission recently directed the city manager to draft a resolution to dissolve the Civic Center Board due to a variety of concerns. The city commission is set to vote on the resolution at its Dec. 16 meeting. 

When asked whether the recent controversy surrounding the citizen advisory board played a role in his decision to resign, Dike said, "It was a small factor. There were a lot of little things, but mostly I want to spend more time with my family."

Civic center board members credited Dike with an approximately 25% reduction in the facility's operating budget since taking over as general manager, in large part because of recent successful programming.

A need for more programming is something members of the city commission have often pointed to when justifying the proposed dissolution of the civic center's advisory board.

Dike said ticket sales are "way up" because of the diverse talent he was able to attract.

"Part of that was just being proactive, making sure people know we're here and open for business," he said.

Dike took on his additional role at Bill Roberts Golf Course in October. Scott Longenecker resigned from his position as head golf professional at Bill Roberts Golf Course on Oct. 1. 

"I would like to thank the City of Helena for the opportunity to be able to serve and manage Bill Roberts Golf Course for the past 14+ years," Longenecker said in his resignation letter. "It is with a heavy heart that I must give this resignation."

Director of Helena's Parks, Recreation and Open Lands Department Kristi Ponozzo declined to be interviewed for this story but issued a statement on Dike's resignation. 

"Byron has positioned the Civic Center well and his expertise and professionalism is an asset to the City," Ponozzo said in the statement. "He will be missed, but I support Byron in his decision and future career endeavors."

City spokeswoman Rebecca Connors said the city is working on an interim and long-term plan to replace Dike but that the matter is still being discussed.

The option of employing a third-party operator to run the civic center in place of a city employee, like Dike was, is still on the table, and Dike said he would not be opposed to such a move.

"All the options ought to be explored," he said.

Independent Record Editor Jesse Chaney contributed to this story. 

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