More than 7,000 people turned out for a free Minnesota Orchestra performance, conducted by Manny Laureano, at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Sept. 15.
Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune
Ten legislators call for new Minn. Orchestra leadership
- Article by: Graydon Royce
- Star Tribune
- December 11, 2013 - 9:12 AM
Ten DFL legislators have sent a letter to the Minnesota Orchestral Association board of directors, saying the current administration is “destroying the Minnesota Orchestra” and calling for the resignations of CEO Michael Henson, chairman Jon Campbell and past chairman Richard Davis.
The association is holding its annual meeting Wednesday morning in Minneapolis, 14 months after stalled contract talks led to a bitter lockout of the musicians.
“The allegations have been thoroughly reviewed and discredited by credible professional sources, including the Office of the Legislative Auditor,” the orchestral association said in a statement Tuesday night.
The legislators — including Sens. John Marty and Patricia Torres Ray, along with Reps. Alice Hausman, Phyllis Kahn and Jim Davnie — cite what they describe as fiscal mismanagement by the board.
The House members previously have voiced concerns about Henson’s testimony in seeking $14 million in state bonding money in 2010.
The letter accuses orchestra leaders of manipulating financial results “in a deliberate deception of the public.”
In addition to calling for the resignations, the letter urges the board to immediately end the lockout and resume contract negotiations.
In its statement Tuesday, the orchestral association said, “As we have emphasized many times, the Board is ready to meet with musicians at any time to negotiate a compromise.”
The board last proposed a contract that would cut base salaries by 25 percent over three years, softened by a $20,000 signing bonus.
The union’s last offer was to cut salaries by 8 percent, which the players contend would reduce the board’s overall obligation to 2007 levels. The board locked out musicians on Oct. 1, 2012.
Members of the board and the musicians’ negotiating team met twice in October and November. Management contends that those informal sessions were at its instigation and that musicians declined further meetings.
Musicians, and the legislators who sent the letter, support a proposal by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell to end the lockout for a four-month negotiating window. The board has rejected that idea.
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299
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