today's board member: laura emory
(these comments are posted to this blog by an anonymous commenter. while they are blunt and to the point, i believe they are respectful and pertinent to the debate.)
Laura Emory: Laura, how can you be a part of this? I doubt very seriously that you had any idea this kind of radical "restructuring" was in the works. The Emory family has ties to this company going back to Clair Richardson. They know what financial crises at the Skylight look like, and I'll bet they looked a damned sight worse than they do now. Is anyone forced to sleep in the theatre because they have no where else to go? Is anyone dumpster diving for props because there's no money for them? Is anyone worried about whether the cops will shut them down for firecode violations on the building? Is anyone wondering what that smell is in the dark, dank basement or working in between the leaks to keep the drops from getting wet? Is anyone from your family running down to Bob Bell's bank with a personal check to cover the payroll next week? NO?!?
Then why are you sitting by idly while the leadership of the company makes the most dramatic change in leadership structure since the death of the founder?
Protest loudly or get off the board. Otherwise you are just dragging the proud history between your family and the Skylight through the dirt.
Laura, you are a smart, decisive, and above all compassionate and thoughtful businesswoman.
Speak up now or get out.
Robert Bell: Bob, you are a businessman and a banker and are expected to understand the finances of Skylight (seeing as how you're at their bank and all). Can we assume that you reviewed this plan for restructuring and found it sound? if so, did you consider the impact this would have on the company's ability to continue to generate earned revenue during a particularly difficult period for contributions? Just wondering because you seem to have OK'd the firing of the very people responsible for that earned revenue. On top of it all, your family has some of the deepest links of anyone in Milwaukee to the Skylight and it is shocking that you'd allow such an unseemly departure from that history.
F. Tessa Escamilla Bartels: Tessa, as a singer one might expect you'd have a little more concern about the gutting of the artistic staff. As a board member, it calls into question as to whether you were adequately informed of a major change in executive oversight for the company. As a Latina, aren't you just a wee bit concerned that the current administration has all but eliminated anyone of color from the staff?
Jude Werra: Personnel management guru, corporate recruiter, and HR professional extraordinaire. Under what circumstances would you ever condone such a ham-fisted, ill-conceived, and poorly executed staff restructuring? Next to Matt Flynn's approval, your approval is the most inconceivable. Why in the world would you want your name associated with such a debacle?
Vince Shiely: Aside from Matt Flynn, you are the person closest to the artistic corps on that Board. Your family has been personally touched by the skill, grace, and courtesy of Bill Theisen, Diana Alioto and Jamie Johns. Is this how you return their consideration? By eliminating the people responsible for the very purpose of the organization?
Curtis Sawyer: Are you a member of the Executive Committee? (You were last year) Did you have a hand in this "restructuring"? As a CFO for Midwest Airlines you could be expected to understand the proper way to conduct restructuring in a time of economic contraction. Tell us, did you see a plan that convinced you that terminating the public face of the organization and the means of production would lead to long term vibility of this organizaton? Tell us, if the airline was having trouble attracting investors, but ticket sales were more than offsetting direct operating costs and were contributing to cover admin overhead, would you cut the people responsible for driving those ticket sales? Or would you look at why senior leadership couldn't attract investors? Certainly you have your hands full with the sale of Midwest to Republic, but if you could spare a moment to comment on your involvement in this 'restructuring' it would be appreciated.
Jim Plunkett: You probably know better than anyone on the Board the value of an artistic director to the success of an arts organization, given your family's life long passion for and support of the arts in Milwaukee. You also run a family business and know the value of personal realtionships to the success of a company. Between your vast experience in the arts and your success as a businessman, can we assume you were presented with a plan for this restructuring that met with your approval from both an artistic stewardship and business standpoint? If not, then why are you supporting this decision?
Gary Jorgensen: You run a family business. You know the importance of succession planning and fair treatment of your family and employees. If you would not stand for this kind of action by one of your sons, how can you have your name attached to something like this?
Matt Flynn: There's no way you OK'd this debacle. There is likely no Board member closer to, or more appreciative of the artistic staff and the artists that strive to further the Skylight dream than you. How could you treat them this way? These people were your personal friends. How many times have you appeared on stage with or under the direction of Bill Theisen?
John Stollenwerk: You've been on that Board longer than almost anyone, including Byron Foster. Is this the way you do business? Is this the kind of treatment of employees you want your name associated with? Really? You want your name on this kind of "corporate restructuring" after all you've done to ensure smooth transitions at other companies, including your own?
John Hein: You've been there long enough (certainly longer than Pat Kraft) and understand the duties of all of these positions that have been eliminated. Have you seen a plan that shows you how the duties of FIVE full time positions will be absorbed? Are you going to be the estate lawyer who tries to negotiate with the anonymous donor that this new restructuring still allows you to pull the income from the million dollar gift to support the salary of a guy who nuked the position the gift was intended to permanently endow?
Byron Foster: You've served, what, 15+ years on that board? You think Eric Dillner can do what only Clair Richardson even dreamed of doing? Seriously? Even Colin Cabot, with all his knowledge and experience was wise enough to go get artistic directors.