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Mattress Factory art museum taps Jones Day attorney, wife to Rep. Conor Lamb, as new interim director | TribLIVE.com
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Mattress Factory art museum taps Jones Day attorney, wife to Rep. Conor Lamb, as new interim director

Natasha Lindstrom
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THE MATTRESS FACTORY
The Mattress Factory contemporary art museum in Pittsburgh’s North Side

The Mattress Factory contemporary art museum has tapped Jones Day attorney Hayley Haldeman for its new interim leader as the popular tourist destination in Pittsburgh’s North Side rebounds from allegations that supervisors retaliated against employees who reported sexual harassment.

Haldeman, a litigator based in Pittsburgh who specializes in complex commercial disputes and counsels nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations as part of her pro bono practice, has served on the board of the Mattress Factory since 2014.

Earlier this month, Haldeman married Democrat U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb at a Mt. Lebanon church.

Haldeman also has served on the board for the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania and former chair of the local bar association’s Arts & Law Committee.

She is set to begin working at the Mattress Factory full-time on Feb. 11.

“I am excited to work with the Mattress Factory and the community in this transition,” said Haldeman said in a statement. “We all want the same thing: for this great institution to thrive.”

Haldeman will replace Judith O’Toole, the former Westmoreland County Museum of American Art CEO whose part-time contract as interim director at the Mattress Factory expires at the end of the month. O’Toole is taking on another arts sector manager role as interim director at the Frick Pittsburgh Museum in Pointe Breeze starting in February.

“I have full confidence in the new interim director to continue to make improvements,” O’Toole told the Tribune-Review on Friday. “I’ve also offered to overlap a bit with her and continue to work with her with any concerns that come up.”

The Mattress Factory also plans to hire an in-house human resources officer.

A settlement reached last month included policy changes and new training requirements in an attempt to cap a months-long controversy that spurred both an investigation by the National Labor Relations Board and internal probe by the nonprofit board that oversees the museum.

The federal investigation began in late September, when four current and former employees, all women, filed a “charge against employer” with the NLRB. They alleged the Mattress Factory violated federal labor law by discriminating against employees who engaged in “protected concerted activity for mutual aid or protection,” documents show.

The women claimed they were confronted with hostility, intimidation and threats of losing their jobs after voicing concerns about the museum’s response to multiple reports of sexual harassment and assaults allegedly inflicted by a co-worker. That person no longer works there.

The Mattress Factory placed Executive Director Michael Olijnyk on leave in September.

Olijnyk remains on leave while the board searches for a permanent leadership plan. He could not be reached for comment.

“The Mattress Factory is well-positioned now for someone else to come in who can apply more time, five days a week, a full commitment until the (permanent) leadership question is answered,” O’Toole said. “We have been able to reorganize staff and put some structure and policies in place that are a really good start. There’s more work to be done, but I’m really confident that we’re on the right path.”

RELATED: Mattress Factory taps Westmoreland arts leader to helm Pittsburgh museum

Founded in 1977, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental artist lab that drew more than 104,000 visitors last year to its cluster of buildings, gift shop and cafe in the Mexican War Streets section of Pittsburgh’s North Side.

The nonprofit employs about 50 people and has a $1.95 million annual budget.

RELATED: Mattress Factory settles with women who alleged retaliation for reporting sexual harassment

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter @NewsNatasha.