Monday, November 26, 2012

Time to Pick a Side

With regards to the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, the time for feigning impartiality for objectivity's sake is over. A recent Star Tribune report renders the management's stance virtually indefensible. From 2008-2010, the Orchestra drew from its endowment at unsustainable rates in order to balance the budget. During this time, the Orchestra was seeking state funding for a major remodel of Orchestra Hall. In 2011, during labor negotiations with the players, the orchestra decided to draw less and declare a $2.9 million deficit.

Since the orchestra decided to treat its endowment like a piggy bank, the MOA could write in their books with whatever color ink they wished. While soliciting state funding for a construction project, they decided to write in black (and deplete their endowment), when they wanted to cut their musician's salaries by 30-40%, they switched to red. The management that the Minnesota Orchestra deserves would have declared losses when the recession hit, scrapped the construction project, and decided not to jeopardize the orchestra's financial future before renegotiating players' contracts. As it stands, the musicians are still locked out, construction on a new wing of Orchestra Hall is under way, and the management still refuses third-party financial analysis. It will take more than a silver tongue and some finger-pointing at the MMO to explain this one away.

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