The Santa Fe Botanical Garden announced today it will immediately eliminate the position of president and chief executive officer in addition to cutting hours for remaining staff. Santa Fean Clayton Bass served in the executive position since 2013, and Jim Moore, vice-president of the garden's board of directors, will step into an interim executive director position.

In an email sent to SFR, Board Chair Scott McIntyre says that while the organization started 2020 in a place of financial strength, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic left no other choice. Additionally, a federal PPP loan which had reportedly covered payroll for two months, came to an end.

The garden has been closed for roughly three months, however, and though it was slated to reopen June 13, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham re-classified it as a recreational facility earlier this month, placing its future in the so-called Phase 2 of New Mexico's re-opening plans alongside museums. Such institutions still have no indication when they'll be allowed to reopen.

"This decision, which saddens all of us, was made to help ensure the continued viability of the Garden," McIntyre says in the email.