John Stoehr, Charleston (S.C.) City Paper Arts Editor and co-author of the blog Flyover, published a piece at his City Paper blog entitled JSO Board Needs to Do Its Damn Job. Although the piece is loaded with fantastic content, perhaps the best part is when John articulates the obvious parallels between the financial model/strategic direction proposed by the Jacksonville Symphony Board and the demise of the former Savannah Symphony…
“I was living as a cultural journalist in Savannah during the time of the [Savannah Symphony’s] demise. I saw firsthand what happened, but only understood what happened with the passing of time. And what I came to understand in Savannah is what I sense is happening in Jacksonville. That is, an attitude, a dangerous and perhaps ubiquitous attitude, among board members and key positions in the JSO’s administration toward the orchestra’s musicians.”
I couldn’t agree more. Ultimately, and as John points out, the board’s decision to cancel concerts when the musicians were perfectly willing to continue engage in “play and talk” negotiating sessions lends itself toward suspicion toward their motives.
How can the JSO board claim to negotiate in good faith when they were prepared to cancel concerts and lockout the musicians after barely three months of active bargaining, especially when most other professional orchestras take at least that much time or longer during amicable negotiation sessions. Ideally, everyone involved in the organization will provide all opportunities for the stakeholders to find a solution that saves face as best as could be expected under these circumstances. Perhaps more importantly, the talks over this weekend will result in the JSO board emerging from the events with a renewed attitude toward their responsibilities as the organization’s stewards and guardians of the public trust.