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Musicians vote 'no confidence' in Minnesota Orchestra president

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson under Classical, Minnesota musicians, People Updated: November 27, 2012 - 5:30 PM
The locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra issued a unanimous vote of no confidence in the organization’s president and CEO, Michael Henson, on Tuesday. The musicians’ statement said that his removal "is key to resolving the current lockout."
 
The strongly worded statement continued, “Henson is the major obstacle between the Musicians and the Board of Directors working out a new contract.” 
 
Said Tim Zavadil, who heads the musicians' negotiating committee, “the lack of partnership between Henson and the musicians since his arrival has been dysfunctional and adversarial due to his management style and lack of leadership ability." 
 
Criticisms of Henson, who has run the orchestra since 2008, included what musicians say is a lack of transparency. They cited as examples his strategy to show balanced budgets in years when there were actually deficits, in order to preserve the orchestra's image, and said that he misled the state legislature about the orchestra's finances when giving testimony for a bonding request.
 
Orchestra board chair Jon Campbell disagreed, dismissing the musician’s vote of no confidence as a "publicity tactic." He said "the only obstacle between musicians and board working out a new contract is the musicians’ perplexing refusal to put forward a single contract proposal after nearly eight months of talks."

"Michael Henson is a perfect leader at this challenging time and has the full confidence of our board."

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