An anonymous email is how Ralston Mayor Don Groesser learned of the departure of the man he hired almost a year ago to lead the Ralston Arena.
Curtis Webb, the general manager, was hired Monday as executive director of the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minn., a facility similar in size and scope to the Ralston Arena.
Webb resigned his Ralston job on Wednesday, after a pair of brief conversations with Groesser.
“We are moving forward and will be seeking a new arena manager as soon as possible,” the mayor said.
Groesser said Webb's duties — including event booking and overall administration of the facility — will fall to Lynn Higginbotham, director of marketing for the arena, and Steve Lind, director of operations.
Groesser said he was disappointed with the turn of events involving Webb, who will start his new job in January.
He said he and Webb had been having candid discussions about the arena, which opened last month. The facility is home to the Omaha Lancers hockey team and the University of Nebraska at Omaha men's basketball team.
“In the last few weeks, we've been having some frank conversations about how we saw things going,” Groesser said.
“I told him we needed to look things over, the process we go about booking of shows, the way he reports to the city. There was some overall concern about the management of the arena, and I've never been a CEO of an arena, so we needed his insight.
“We have to do things a little differently as a city running the arena, and we wanted him to explain his management a little more thoroughly.”
Attempts to reach Webb were unsuccessful.
Webb, 41, was hired in December. He signed a five-year contract at an annual salary of $100,000.
Groesser said he was thankful for Webb's service to Ralston.
“He did a great job of getting the arena off the ground and running,” Groesser said. “I have to credit him for that big job, and I wish him the best.”
Webb previously worked at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.; the American Airlines Center in Dallas; the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia; and the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.