Minnesota Orchestra CEO Henson to step down in August

This took long enough … Kristin Tillotson of the Strib says: “Michael Henson, president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra, will step down in August, it was announced late Thursday. Some viewed Henson’s departure as setting the stage for the return of former music director Osmo Vänskä, who resigned last October but has indicated he might wish to come back. … Mariellen Jacobson, treasurer of the volunteer support group Save Our Symphony Minnesota, said she is ‘happy to hear the board and Henson have concluded it was time for him to leave, but I wish it was sooner.’ ”

OK, now it’s your turn … Gov. Dayton has shifted gears and is now ripping Republicans for gumming up the tax cut works. In the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger reports: “ ‘This is not where we just ram things through,’ said Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake. Kiffmeyer was one of many Republican Senators who refused to go along with the plan to approve the bill just a few hours after the measure was published on Thursday. Without Republican support, the Senate could not muster the votes to take up the bill. Dayton, who directed his ire at DFL senators over the tax bill early in the week, focused it on Republican senators Thursday.”

For the Forum News Service, Don Davis writes: “ ‘I think as a senator, I have the right to read the bill,’ said Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, saying he first saw the bill an hour earlier when the 62-page bill still was hot off the copy machine. ‘Folks, they want us to do it and do it right,’ Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, told fellow senators about the desire of Minnesotans that lawmakers know what is in the bill before voting. ‘We need more than a couple of hours; Minnesotans expect that.’ “

The AP story reminds readers: “[S]ome new deductions and credits could be available to people filing tax returns now. Some tax programs and software needs reprogramming. The administration says 300,000 or more people could qualify for at least one new exemption. Delays could force people to file amended returns to claim relief, said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans.”

Put your money in … dirt. Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “The price of farmland continues to climb in Minnesota, though the rate of increase is easing, according to a new statewide land survey. The average acre of Minnesota farmland sold for $5,071 during 2013, on an adjusted basis, the study showed. That’s up 5 percent from the previous year, and the highest in the study’s long history. … And even in southern Minnesota — the hottest farmland market in the state — increases were more modest in 2013 than in red-hot 2012.”

Draw it from the “invincibles” … Marta Jewson of the St. Cloud Times reports: “Since 2008, the number of 16-year-old blood donors across the state has grown steadily. And teens are a key part of the Red Cross’ blood donations, according to an organization spokeswoman. ‘That demographic is really important to us,’  said Sue Thesenga, the state’s Red Cross communications program manager. ‘Twenty percent of our blood donations come to us from high school and college students in the academic year,’ she said.”

KSTP-TV is saying that the target of the raid on Stillwater’s mayor’s business is, in fact … the mayor: “In a statement, a spokesperson for Mayor Ken Harycki insists the investigation involves a former client, and Harycki is cooperating with authorities. However, sources tell KSTP reporter Beth McDonough Harycki is the target of the investigation. KSTP obtained bookkeeping documents in which former employees allege Harycki falsified the payrolls of some companies including Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Mary, Mother of the Church, Model Health Care and Budget Towing. Several employees of one firm told KSTP off camera, their timesheets were tweaked and they didn’t get money they were owed. Other records accuse Harycki of underreporting income taxes to the state and federal government.”

You know how CNN has gone mono-maniacal over the missing plane? Wait until talk radio reads this; Laura Yuen of MPR reports: “Muslim and Jewish groups are praising a new policy by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office that lets inmates wear religious head coverings in jail. Inmates can wear a jail-issued hijab, the Muslim headscarf, or other religious headwear as long as there’s no threat to safety and security, Sheriff Rich Stanek said Thursday. The jail also will issue yarmulkes and kufi hats. The sheriff’s office said it previously considered inmate requests for religious head covering on a case-by-case basis.”

It was … “out of context,” you see. Michael Longaecker of the Forum News Service says: “State Rep. Andrea Kieffer said Thursday that her widely circulated comment suggesting legislation about women’s workplace issues was ‘almost making us look like whiners’ was taken out of context. … ‘It’s very interesting how that spun out of control,’ she said, adding that she has received ‘vitriolic and vulgar’ emails from around the country in response to the comment. … Kieffer said she supports a market-based system where compensation is tied to business outcomes.” Because that’s always worked well for women.

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/21/2014 - 09:07 am.

    “Based on Business Outcomes”

    You, mean, Rep. Kiffmeyer, as when productivity continues to go up as the result of workers working more efficiently and working longer hours,…

    but because of the overtime rules changes back in the George W. Bush administration, worker pay is now COMPLETELY DIVORCED from the profits being made by those businesses,…

    those profits being used to pad the pockets of those in the executive suite and stockholders (in some cases),…

    the SAME executives who are now fighting tooth and nail against the Obama administration’s initiative to rewrite the overtime rules, returning them to what they were BEFORE “W” rewrote them to allow employers to call almost EVERYONE a supervisor and, thereby, avoid ever paying anyone for the hours they actually work.

    “Paid what you’re worth” generally translates into “paid as little as I can possibly get by with paying you,…

    and no matter how loyal an employee you are, no matter how hard or how efficiently you work, if you complain about your compensation you’ll be told there are a hundred other people waiting to take your job (so shut up or be fired).

    It would seem that Rep. Kiffmeyer’s idea of women who are NOT whiners, only encompasses those who sit down, shut up, take whatever pay and working conditions their bosses care to offer them (even if if that means substantially poorer conditions and less pay than their male counterparts doing the same work are getting),…

    and that non-“whiner” women employees need to be good, compliant little “girls” who would never DREAM of complaining about anything.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/21/2014 - 09:33 am.

    Farewell, Mr. Henson, Don’t Let the Door Hit You

    Now if we can just replace the leadership of the MOA Board who pushed for or supported what you were doing:

    trying to run a nonprofit arts organization as if it were a profit-making business enterprise,…

    individuals who are completely hooked on managing things and working their way to the top of their organizations because their psychological dysfunctions leave them unable to trust others unless they hold control over the lives of those others, and unable to ask anyone for help (no matter how much they need it),…

    which, in my humble estimation, is why they didn’t trust the support of the community enough to do major new fundraising when their unwise investment of the orchestra’s endowment caused it to take a major hit in the crash of 2008,…

    and went after the musicians, instead.

    These kinds of “rugged individual” leaders (who are driven to be so because they can’t trust anyone enough to allow for the kinds of interdependent leadership style that actually works in the real world), generally tend to destroy the organizations they run as personal fiefdoms.

    Meanwhile, I only hope the MOA has it’s endowment invested in ways that ensure that, when the current Wall Street bubble bursts (and it IS and bubble and it WILL burst), they don’t take a major hit (again). In my estimation, strong, independent leadership wouldn’t trust the advice of Wall Street brokers in deciding how to keep that endowment safe as the market continues to inflate.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 03/21/2014 - 11:53 am.

      Profit making business enterprise

      Greg, I think you paint with too broad a brush when you criticize the Orchestra for “trying to run a nonprofit arts organization as if it were a profit-making business enterprise”.

      Many profit-making business enterprises in many industries – in fact often the most successful – recognize that their success is dependent on the knowledge, creativity, skills, and determination of those who “create” their product, and reward them very well. (Whether the rewards extend as far down the organization as they should is another issue.) I’m not suggesting all profit making organizations act this way, but the most successful one’s do.

      The MOA management’s failure is more likely the sin of hubris. Given the gap between income and expense, they could either assume income was too low or expense too high. If income was too low – after doing all they could to “fix” that – it means accepting their failure (as income is their responsibility). So they concluded expense (musician salaries) are too high.

      They mistakenly thought they were the heart and soul of the orchestra and treated the musicians as assembly line workers. They underestimated the confidence that comes with being chosen by a very selective, world-class orchestra.

      By any objective measure, ignoring individual opinion on what is fair or not to musicians, this is where Henson failed as CEO. The orchestra was dark for 16 months, many of the best musicians left, we may or may not have lost a highly prized artistic director and lingering resentment on the part of musicians is inevitable.

      In other words, to compare with for-profit organizations, they acted more like GM in the 80s than Google today.

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