Minnesota Orchestra management defends recession decision-making

Posted on: November 27, 2012

In Tuesday’s (11/27) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Kristin Tillotson writes, “The impasse between Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management remained Monday after the musicians criticized financial decisions made over the past several years, based on information gleaned from orchestra board-meeting minutes. At a Monday news conference, Tim Zavadil, leader of the musicians’ negotiating team, questioned the board’s ‘hiding large deficits’ during the recession so as not to negatively affect fundraising for a new hall and a bonding request before the Legislature. Zavadil also wondered why management chose to draw larger amounts from its endowments than the 5 percent generally accepted as prudent. … In response, orchestra president Michael Henson said Monday that he and the board had to find ‘short-term solutions’ to the deficits, with a goal of returning to long-term stabilization. … Zavadil also said musicians had not been informed of the full extent of the orchestra’s financial woes. Henson responded that a number of meetings had been held with the musicians since the beginning of the recession ‘to explain that we were going to honor their contract, but that a reset [of the business model] was going to have to happen. We were very transparent about the extent of the problems.’ ”

Posted November 27, 2012