Hurry Up And Wait In Louisville

It seems news may be brewing in Louisville; however, the key word there is “may.” According to the 3/26/12 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal in an article by Elizabeth Kramer, the Louisville Orchestra (LO) board of directors have decided to send the musicians a new proposal. And with the one year waypoint for the LO operating in the dark rapidly approaching, this could be a significant development or the latest in a string of “hurry up and wait” developments.

Nonetheless, it only takes one “right” offer to get the ratification snowball rolling downhill. In Kramer’s article, she reports LO board president Chuck Maisch indicated that in addition to the new offer, the LO is continuing to hedge its bet by keeping the replacement musician option in motion. However, the reality of that option is slim given the amount of time and effort they’ve put into it for more than three months.

In short, if they had those cards to play, they likely would have done so by now.

What’s interesting in the latest development is Maisch reportedly saying “he believes a new contract can only be reached through binding arbitration.” At the same time, there’s no clear indication if Maisch or the LO board are willing to modify the terms contained in their February, 2012 arbitration offer which, in turn, was subsequently rejected by the musicians.

According to sources close to the situation, Louisville Orchestra Musicians Committee chair Kim Tichenor, attended the 3/26/2012 LO board meeting to deliver a statement to the full board; the beginning of which included the following passage.

We know that some of you have reached out with questions that need to be answered honestly. Some of you have been prevented from getting answers to your questions or talking to us, while others have been given answers that are faulty, misleading or simply untenable. As some of you and your business colleagues have begun to realize, our differences are not as great as the LOI leadership has led you to believe – especially now as these realizations, facts and truths are trickling out in many conversations and occasionally in the press.

Ultimately, time will tell whether or not these latest overtures will produce anything of substance.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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0 thoughts on “Hurry Up And Wait In Louisville”

  1. This “offer” sounds like a repackaging of a demand for binding arbitration previously rejected by the musicians as being too restrictive. I wonder of the LO Bd. really wants an orchestra rather than just to be “presenters.”

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