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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Much Ado About A Million Dollar Budget

It has been said that the infighting is vicious
When the stakes are low.
A small local arts musuem has been the scene
Of a particularly nasty power struggle.

A small cabal of board members and the president
Conspired to remove the executive director
On the basis of difficult interpersonal relations
With staff personnel and persons on the board.

Considering the extraordinary improvements
This person has made to the position of the museum,
Some of the honorary trustees, long term veterans,
Rode to the rescue like Wagner's Walkyries.

The email crackled with fiery messages.
Rogue board members attempted end runs
Around the procecures of the board of trustees
To force the director to resign.

News about the battle leaked to the press.
Supporters responded with letters of encomia.
Donors met to cut off funding.
Staff members walked around like zombies.

Contentious board meetings were held
The details of which cannot be divulged.
But the public will discern
That the status quo has been preserved.

None of the turmoil was evident in discussions
At the board meeting before the annual meeting.
Two key members were absent.
The atmosphere was tense, though civil.

The museum is a very small operation,
Managed, in the legal sense, by a large
Board of Trustees supposedly dedicated
To the purpose and operation of the enterprise.

Unfortunately, outsize egos are much in display.
Their conclusions and deliberations are
More akin in spirit to the board of a Fortune 500,
And the jockeying of power seen at high levels.

The museum needs no "strategic plan" at this time.
It is in survival mode,
Therefore needs to be concentrated
On doing good things very well.

That requires straightening out the assignment
Of who does what, when, and how,
Among the Board of Trustees and the paid staff.
With measurable goals commonly established.

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