Discussion:
Boston SO lays off staff
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Mr. Mike
2020-08-25 21:04:36 UTC
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https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
Ken D.
2020-08-25 23:22:22 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
In no way surprising and makes sense. They certainly are not going to continue to pay employees who are not needed now or in the foreseeable future.
Frank Berger
2020-08-26 00:08:59 UTC
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Post by Ken D.
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
In no way surprising and makes sense. They certainly are not going to continue to pay employees who are not needed now or in the foreseeable future.
Middle management is the first to go in a crisis. That's
where organizational bloat tends to accumulate.
drh8h
2020-08-26 12:55:02 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by Ken D.
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
In no way surprising and makes sense. They certainly are not going to continue to pay employees who are not needed now or in the foreseeable future.
Middle management is the first to go in a crisis. That's
where organizational bloat tends to accumulate.
But middle management is also where most of the knowledge of how things operate and corporate memory lie. Like "bureaucrats" they are an easy target and when they are gone, suddenly they start being missed.

DH
Frank Berger
2020-08-26 13:53:50 UTC
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Post by drh8h
Post by Frank Berger
Post by Ken D.
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
In no way surprising and makes sense. They certainly are not going to continue to pay employees who are not needed now or in the foreseeable future.
Middle management is the first to go in a crisis. That's
where organizational bloat tends to accumulate.
But middle management is also where most of the knowledge of how things operate and corporate memory lie. Like "bureaucrats" they are an easy target and when they are gone, suddenly they start being missed.
DH
This is true. But in non-profit organizations especially
there is a tendency for middle management to grow unwieldy.
It usually takes some sort of crisis for senior management
(often at the direction of the board of directors) to take
painful steps towards efficiency. Which is not to say the
downsizing can't be overdone, and it is of of course
painful. In the present case, I have no idea if income on
the endowment (or liquidating some of it) could be used to
continue paying salaries until the crisis is over. That
would be the only conceivable alternative, wouldn't it? I
wonder if there are legal other restrictions against it.
The synagogue I belonged to at one time owed me about $2,000
for expenses I had incurred on its behalf and I owed about
the same amount on a building fund pledge. I suggested
canceling out one against the other and was told it was
illegal; that operating expenses could not be mixed with
capital expenses. I have no idea if that's true. Maybe
something like that is going on here.
Owen
2020-08-26 17:34:24 UTC
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This is true.  But in non-profit organizations especially there is a
tendency for middle management to grow unwieldy. It usually takes some
sort of crisis for senior management (often at the direction of the
board of directors) to take painful steps towards efficiency. Which is
not to say the downsizing can't be overdone, and it is of of course
painful.  In the present case, I have no idea if income on the endowment
(or liquidating some of it) could be used to continue paying salaries
until the crisis is over. That would be the only conceivable
alternative, wouldn't it?  I wonder if there are legal other
restrictions against it. The synagogue I belonged to at one time owed me
about $2,000 for expenses I had incurred on its behalf and  I owed about
the same amount on a building fund pledge.  I suggested canceling out
one against the other and was told it was illegal; that operating
expenses could not be mixed with capital expenses.  I have no idea if
that's true.  Maybe something like that is going on here.
From an accounting point of view it's bad.

There's no recorded outlay of the expenses, and no recorded income from
the pledge. It's all about follow the money, and, in this example, the
money doesn't pass through the books, it looks like it's expensing the
capital improvement. Since expenses are deducted every year, but
improvements are depreciated, this is the kind of thing that rings bells
with auditors.

-Owen
who has a degree in Accounting but hasn't used it since 1976.
Frank Berger
2020-08-26 19:02:55 UTC
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Post by Owen
This is true.  But in non-profit organizations especially
there is a tendency for middle management to grow
unwieldy. It usually takes some sort of crisis for senior
management (often at the direction of the board of
directors) to take painful steps towards efficiency. Which
is not to say the downsizing can't be overdone, and it is
of of course painful.  In the present case, I have no idea
if income on the endowment (or liquidating some of it)
could be used to continue paying salaries until the crisis
is over. That would be the only conceivable alternative,
wouldn't it?  I wonder if there are legal other
restrictions against it. The synagogue I belonged to at
one time owed me about $2,000 for expenses I had incurred
on its behalf and  I owed about the same amount on a
building fund pledge.  I suggested canceling out one
against the other and was told it was illegal; that
operating expenses could not be mixed with capital
expenses.  I have no idea if that's true.  Maybe something
like that is going on here.
From an accounting point of view it's bad.
There's no recorded outlay of the expenses, and no recorded
income from the pledge.  It's all about follow the money,
and, in this example, the money doesn't pass through the
books, it looks like it's expensing the capital
improvement.  Since expenses are deducted every year, but
improvements are depreciated, this is the kind of thing that
rings bells with auditors.
-Owen
who has a degree in Accounting but hasn't used it since 1976.
I'm sure you're right, but it seems to me all you would need
is appropriately descriptive entries in the balance and
income statements.
Owen
2020-08-27 15:31:08 UTC
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Permalink
This is true.  But in non-profit organizations especially there is a
tendency for middle management to grow unwieldy. It usually takes
some sort of crisis for senior management (often at the direction of
the board of directors) to take painful steps towards efficiency.
Which is not to say the downsizing can't be overdone, and it is of of
course painful.  In the present case, I have no idea if income on the
endowment (or liquidating some of it) could be used to continue
paying salaries until the crisis is over. That would be the only
conceivable alternative, wouldn't it?  I wonder if there are legal
other restrictions against it. The synagogue I belonged to at one
time owed me about $2,000 for expenses I had incurred on its behalf
and  I owed about the same amount on a building fund pledge.  I
suggested canceling out one against the other and was told it was
illegal; that operating expenses could not be mixed with capital
expenses.  I have no idea if that's true.  Maybe something like that
is going on here.
 From an accounting point of view it's bad.
There's no recorded outlay of the expenses, and no recorded income
from the pledge.  It's all about follow the money, and, in this
example, the money doesn't pass through the books, it looks like it's
expensing the capital improvement.  Since expenses are deducted every
year, but improvements are depreciated, this is the kind of thing that
rings bells with auditors.
-Owen
who has a degree in Accounting but hasn't used it since 1976.
I'm sure you're right, but it seems to me all you would need is
appropriately descriptive entries in the balance and income statements.
Consider the two scenarios for an auditor about to review the books:

1) An invoice for expenses, marked as paid, with cancelled check
evidence to support that, and a deposit made in a bank account for a
capital improvement, with bank statement evidence, and the cash in the
right donation account.

vs.

2) A non-cash transfer attempting to expense receipts to a capital
account. No cash has passed hands, no third party evidence, merely a
descriptive general journal entry. It looks as if some of the capital
that was raised to construct the building has been diverted to an
individual for purely expenses. Red flags all over. So, the auditor
must hunt down and verify the amounts before he/she can verify the books
are correct, which means contacting you and the person who made the
entry and verifying what took place, given that both people are still
around and can be contacted.

The first scenario is concise, documented, easy to verify, and the
complete story is told with the accounted for transactions in a money
trail. The second is a lot harder, and may be impossible under easily
foreseen circumstances.


-Owen
Oscar
2020-08-26 00:49:16 UTC
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Terrible news, just terrible.
Reinhold Gliere
2020-08-26 01:10:08 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Frank Berger
2020-08-26 02:40:01 UTC
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Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Not so sure about that. "Revenue loss" could conceivably
also refer to reduced donations, which must be happening as
well.
Kerrison
2020-08-26 07:56:46 UTC
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Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Not so sure about that. "Revenue loss" could conceivably
also refer to reduced donations, which must be happening as
well.
It was all so different 50 years ago when MTT was conducting the BSO in Wagner at the tender age of 25 ...


Reinhold Gliere
2020-08-26 15:44:25 UTC
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Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Not so sure about that. "Revenue loss" could conceivably
also refer to reduced donations, which must be happening as
well.
To my way of thinking past donors would be particularly sensitive to their current plight and donate even more.
Frank Berger
2020-08-26 16:05:31 UTC
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Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Not so sure about that. "Revenue loss" could conceivably
also refer to reduced donations, which must be happening as
well.
To my way of thinking past donors would be particularly sensitive to their current plight and donate even more.
Some would, most wouldn't I'd bet. An example (which
doesn't prove anything, but may be suggestive: Prior to the
2007 market crash (especially hard-hit in oil-producing
Texas) our congregation was fundraising to build a synagogue
building, Based on the pledges and a matching pledge from
one family, a bank loaned us the money and the multi-million
dollar structure was completed in 2007. Turns out a lot of
the potential donors (especially the biggest ones) suffered
losses because of the crash and the percentage of pledges
that were collected over the ensuing 5-10 years was
considerably less than than the 90-95% that is the
historical standard. Only forbearance by the Bank prevented
the loss of the property (What are they going to do with a
repossessed synagogue? And the press wouldn't be so good
for them). I don't know, having moved away in 2012, whether
the bulk of those old pledges were eventually redeemed, or
new money was raised. In any case, I recently learned the
mortgage was paid off last year and they are firm financial
footing now.
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-26 22:12:19 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
Post by Reinhold Gliere
Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
IME when orchestras have launched donation campaigns it's often been said that the proceeds from ticket/subscription sales pay for only a tiny fraction of their costs. The above seems to tell a different story.
Not so sure about that. "Revenue loss" could conceivably
also refer to reduced donations, which must be happening as
well.
According to this:

- The Met’s Gelb ticks off the obligations that don’t go away just because the music stops: pension payments, scenery and costume storage, repairs to the building’s crumbling travertine exterior, health insurance for furloughed orchestra and chorus members, and so on — well over $100 million a year. Revenue can’t just be switched back on either, especially since so much of it comes from donors whose portfolios are experiencing cyclone-level turbulence.

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.opera/akPV-b4DN40
sci.space
2020-08-26 12:35:43 UTC
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If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-26 22:00:15 UTC
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Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
Don't I feel just soooooooo sawry for HIM.

Well, now he knows like everybody else that life is.............TOUGH?

And that everybody has to make...............SACRIFICES?
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-26 22:17:57 UTC
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Post by g***@gmail.com
Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
Don't I feel just soooooooo sawry for HIM.
Well, now he knows like everybody else that life is.............TOUGH?
And that everybody has to make...............SACRIFICES?
https://giphy.com/gifs/dazn-usa-shrug-shoulder-chris-algieri-X9k6LsWMkXrECF5d5T
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-26 22:39:47 UTC
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Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
Don't I feel just soooooooo sawry for HIM.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh life is.............TOUGH?

And now he knows that everybody has to make...............SACRIFICES?

https://giphy.com/gifs/idk-oops-oh-well-siMw2eNSuEpigLwcuA
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-26 22:42:48 UTC
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Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
Don't I feel just soooooooo sawry for HIM.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh life is.............TOUGH?

Everybody has to make...............SACRIFICES?

https://giphy.com/gifs/idk-oops-oh-well-siMw2eNSuEpigLwcuA
g***@gmail.com
2020-08-27 01:44:55 UTC
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Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half million. How can he cope?
Don't oi soitenly feel just soooooooo sawry for HIM.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh life is.............TOUGH?

In these toimes, everybody has to make...............SACRIFICES?

https://giphy.com/gifs/idk-oops-oh-well-siMw2eNSuEpigLwcuA
henrysibley
2020-09-04 14:56:25 UTC
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Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from the article -
"Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction through Aug. 31. According
to the BSO’s most recent tax filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal
year ending August 2018." That brings him down to just under a half
million. How can he cope?
What is the salary of the first 1-4 chairs of each section in the Orchestra?
Frank Berger
2020-09-04 15:03:36 UTC
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Post by henrysibley
Post by sci.space
If you are wondering about BSO Exec salary levels, from
the article - "Volpe also took a 50 percent pay reduction
through Aug. 31. According to the BSO’s most recent tax
filings, he made $995,320 in the fiscal year ending August
2018."  That brings him down to just under a half
million.  How can he cope?
What is the salary of the first 1-4 chairs of each section
in the Orchestra?
I always wonder at that people care so much about what other
people make. As if we had any right to judge what people
"should" earn. When people complain about the earnings of
heads of non-profit organizations, they should consider how
much these talented people could earn in the private sector
and how many such people the non-profit could attract by
paying a lot less.
sci.space
2020-09-05 12:29:40 UTC
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Post by Frank Berger
I always wonder at that people care so much about what other
people make. As if we had any right to judge what people
"should" earn. When people complain about the earnings of
heads of non-profit organizations, they should consider how
much these talented people could earn in the private sector
and how many such people the non-profit could attract by
paying a lot less.
When a non-profit organization asks for public support, then pay scales are important considerations. The published high salaries of WGBH upper management are enough to keep me from contributing.
Frank Berger
2020-09-06 02:20:03 UTC
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Post by sci.space
Post by Frank Berger
I always wonder at that people care so much about what other
people make. As if we had any right to judge what people
"should" earn. When people complain about the earnings of
heads of non-profit organizations, they should consider how
much these talented people could earn in the private sector
and how many such people the non-profit could attract by
paying a lot less.
When a non-profit organization asks for public support, then pay scales are important considerations. The published high salaries of WGBH upper management are enough to keep me from contributing.
Funny. I already answered this above. What about it don't
you understand. I guess you want mediocre people running
non-profits.
henrysibley
2020-09-08 13:57:17 UTC
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Post by sci.space
Post by Frank Berger
I always wonder at that people care so much about what other
people make. As if we had any right to judge what people
"should" earn. When people complain about the earnings of
heads of non-profit organizations, they should consider how
much these talented people could earn in the private sector
and how many such people the non-profit could attract by
paying a lot less.
When a non-profit organization asks for public support, then pay scales
are important considerations. The published high salaries of WGBH
upper management are enough to keep me from contributing.
Funny. I already answered this above. What about it don't you
understand. I guess you want mediocre people running non-profits.
I was not trying to be argumentative.

It is critical to understand the cost structure and the variety of
income sources for these organizations. The salary cost for a major
American symphony is *huge*, much more than you expect. Are there
enough wealthy patrons who will fund this, so that tickets aren't $300
per seat per concert? My observation is "no". Philanthropy goes
more and more to health and wellness causes the last 20-25 years. It
varies substantially by the specific city and performing arts org.
Frank Berger
2020-09-08 14:31:37 UTC
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Post by henrysibley
Post by sci.space
Post by Frank Berger
I always wonder at that people care so much about what
other
people make.  As if we had any right to judge what people
"should" earn.  When people complain about the earnings of
heads of non-profit organizations, they should consider how
much these talented people could earn in the private sector
and how many such people the non-profit could attract by
paying a lot less.
When a non-profit organization asks for public support,
then pay scales are important considerations.  The
published high salaries of WGBH upper management are
enough to keep me from contributing.
Funny.  I already answered this above.  What about it
don't you understand.  I guess you want mediocre people
running non-profits.
I was not trying to be argumentative.
It is critical to understand the cost structure and the
variety of income sources for these organizations.    The
salary cost for a major American symphony is *huge*, much
more than you expect.    Are there enough wealthy patrons
who will fund this, so that tickets aren't $300 per seat per
concert?   My observation is "no".   Philanthropy goes more
and more to health and wellness causes the last 20-25
years.   It varies substantially by the specific city and
performing arts org.
Not responding to a point made and then shifting the
conversation to another issue is a kind of arguing. It's not
constructive in any case. I made a simple, obvious point
about the necessity of paying competitive salaries for
non-profits to attract talented people (now three times).
You have not acknowledged the comment (even to disagree).

Is it possible that the customer base for symphony
orchestras shrinks so low and philanthropists shift their
aid to other causes so that symphony orchestras (or many of
them) die out? Sure, why not?

Bozo
2020-09-03 14:24:32 UTC
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Columbia Artists Management shuts down ,liquidates:

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/classical-agency-columbia-artists-says-it-will-shut-down/
g***@gmail.com
2020-09-03 14:51:16 UTC
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Post by Bozo
https://www.seattletimes.com/business/classical-agency-columbia-artists-says-it-will-shut-down/
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.opera/xQQknpRnpl0
dk
2020-09-07 06:38:03 UTC
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Post by Mr. Mike
https://www.boston.com/culture/music/2020/08/24/boston-symphony-orchestra-lays-off-50-full-time-administrative-staffers
They can all find new jobs easily in
Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Seoul,
Singapore, and at least half a dozen
East Asian cities that make up the
fastest growing classical music
market in history.

dk
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