Job cuts help balance budget: UPDATE | Rock Candy

Job cuts help balance budget: UPDATE

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Arkansas Arts Center director Todd Herman is meeting with staff right now to discuss changes in personnel for the upcoming fiscal year. Two people are losing their jobs and their positions have been eliminated. One of the two could be Joe Lampo, deputy director of programs, who the board of directors made interim director after Nan Plummer's resignation in 2010. Another is in the associate director of major gifts.

The Arts Center expects net savings of $106,000 in personnel costs in the $6 million budget for fiscal year 2013 it passed today. It is down to 47 43 full-time and nine part-time employees; the 2012 and 2013 budgets axed four job titles total. Another position was reduced to part-time.

The 2013 budget is nearly $1 million more than last year's. The difference: the Arts Center's biggest fund-raiser, Tabriz, and a ticketed exhibition, "Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London." The budget also includes $200,000 in development dollars from as yet unidentified sources; board chairman Charlotte (Chucki) Bradbury said the savings from the job cuts are separate from the $200,000.

Two crucial curatorial positions are being filled with grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, and a private individual has funded those positions for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. The Arts Center also got an unexpected bequest of $256,000 earlier this year.

UPDATE: Former interim director Lampo was one of the two employees terminated, Herman said in a phone call. He said the staff — including the new curators, expected to be hired in July — will help absorb his duties. Herman himself will take on some of the fund-raising tasks that Toni Roosth, the development person whose job was also terminated, had.

Herman said it wasn't an easy decision, "but necessary for the long-term health of the institution. That has got to be my top priority." He noted that the Arts Center's need to be bare-bones in its budgeting is not unique, with grants, foundation, corporate and private giving all over the country declining.

Even in a perfect world, Herman said, the positions cut today might not be filled; he said there was some managerial redundancy at the Arts Center. "Are we at maximum staff levels? No, but are these what we need? Not necessarily."

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