Still having an amazing time here at the National Arts Marketing project Convention and will write more about that later but I wanted to point out something that transpired over the weekend in Denver in what has to be a new benchmark for public ill will. The 11/13/2011 edition of the Denver Post published an opinion piece written by former Colorado Symphony Orchestra (CSO) board members Heather K. Miller and Bruce Clinton that does little beyond demonstrating why the institution is perhaps better off without them.
Reminiscent of “You didn’t break up with me, I broke up with you” teenage angst, the pair appear to be determined to demonstrate how little they know about the organization and the people they governed by demonstrating a lack of understanding about such elementary subjects such as the CSO musicians and their union are one in the same and espousing such odious misconceptions that musicians only work 20 hours per week.
But the question that should cross your mind at some point while reading this travesty is why Miller and Clinton would bother going to so much trouble. Simply put, they voluntarily left their positions as board members and that is unquestionably their right. They disagreed with how the labor dispute was beginning to unfold so they left; observers can argue the merits of that decision until the cows come home but it’s nothing more than an academic exercise since the outcome has no real impact on the CSO’s actual situation.
So what good can come from a letter like this? Miller, Clinton and the other board members who left no longer make decisions for the institution so their beliefs and perspective on institutional governance are now moot. Those responsibilities have been absorbed by others and going public with a letter like their without any clearly stated and defensible purpose is perhaps most likely to be interpreted as little more than a clumsy act of vanity.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is to use the Miller and Clinton letter as an example of how you shouldn’t behave.