Frank Basile had a lot to say last Monday night.
The interim president and CEO of The Center for the Performing Arts provided the Carmel City Council with an update on nearly everything happening at the Center, from the state of its annual audit to the search for its next CEO.
The annual audit
Council members pressed Basile on the expected completion date of the Center’s annual audit. Last month, Basile predicted that Blue & Co. would complete the audit by last week’s meeting, but he said there now is one final outstanding issue preventing its completion, adding that it might be another month before the audit is finished. Though he said he could not comment on the issue causing the delay, Basile said it is not related to the resignation of former president and CEO Steven Libman.
“We’ve been hearing ‘Two more weeks’ since September,” Councilman Rick Sharp said.
Sharp’s fellow councilor, John Accetturo, said the city and Center are at risk of losing credibility with the public as a result of the delay.
“I feel like, if the audit is not done by the end of the year, there’s some kind of stonewalling going on,” he said. “You can audit General Motors in six months.”
Though an internal review of the Center has been completed for weeks, Basile said he would not comment on its findings until the audit is completed. The results of both the audit and the review will be posted on the Center’s website at that time, Basile said.
Cutting costs, and possibly performances
The Center’s staff will attempt to maintain the same quality of performances for its 2012-2013 season while reducing production costs by as much as 20 percent, Basile said. New booking procedures call for a profit-and-loss analysis to be completed before each show is booked, determining its economic viability and what it adds to the season lineup. The Center has lost “a considerable amount of money” on some of its shows, Basile said. In other cases, profitable acts were booked for multiple performances, though many times this proved to be a bad decision, he said.
“We also instituted a strict policy of negotiating with each prospective performer’s agent before agreeing to a contract and then ensuring that the terms, including the riders, are competitive in the marketplace and reasonable for us from a cost standpoint,” Basile said.
The Center also will review whether an 81-show season is sustainable. Though Basile said further analysis is needed, he said it’s likely that 55 to 60 shows is the optimal number.
Basile said Center policy now puts tighter restrictions on travel and requires the CEO to approve all travel expenses. Some contracts now require approval from the board. And according to reports, the Center also has reduced its staff by five employees who had been working in fundraising, production and public outreach.
The next CEO
Canadian firm Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates has been selected to conduct the search for the Center’s next president and CEO. The national search is expected to take four to five months, Basile said. After Libman resigned in late July, however, Basile originally committed to run the Center as its interim CEO for six months.
“Chances are I’m going to continue doing it because, frankly, I feel like I’m part of something that’s important here,” Basile said. “I’ll probably be here for the duration (of the search).”
Basile said he makes $100,000 annually in his temporary role.