Friends of the Zeiss Statement of
Telephone: 412-561-7876 Allegheny Regional
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com > Asset District:
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org > 2005 October 24
Good evening, I am Glenn A.
Last month, Children’s Museum Executive Director Jane Werner boasted about the success of the expanded Children’s Museum, while showing disinterest in the Museum’s greatly expanded administrative costs. In a reply to a question asked by Mr. Griffin regarding the Museum’s jump in administrative costs, she simply said that the Museum is a “very expensive operation to run.”
She was equally disinterested when Mr. Pierchalski asked her about the large depreciation expense. In both cases, she could have said that she would take the RAD Board’s concerns back to the Children’s Museum Board for consideration. Instead, her attitude seems to be that this is the way the Children’s Museum is and will continue to operate. And, with successful attendance figures in the first year of the expanded Museum’s operation, the attitude seems to be that no one should question the Museum’s finances.
Attached to this statement (on the reverse side of page) is a list of the 39 full-time employees of the Children’s Museum, as published in the expanded Museum’s grand opening bulletin. Right now, it may seem that the Museum can afford this administration cost. However, what happens if there is a downturn in the Museum’s finances, perhaps due to the leveling-off of attendance, or perhaps loss of attendance due to higher gasoline prices?
Well, page 17 of their
business plan answers that question: “Personnel (expense is high but also represents a
soft cost easily cut if attendance is lower than projection)”. They
specifically plan to cut staffing if they get into a financial bind a year or
two from now. So if there are layoffs in the near future, full-time staff
members, who came to the Children’s Museum fully expecting long-time
employment, will have their lives disrupted due to poor planning by the
Children’s Museum management.
Layoffs should be unnecessary, if the Children’s Museum was managed properly. We contend that the administrative staff should have grown incrementally each year, as it could be paid for by the year’s net revenue, rather than a large administrative cost increase in the first year of the expanded Museum.
And, we also contend that the Children’s Museum could achieve increased attendance and revenue with the return of the historic Buhl Planetarium equipment and artifacts, particularly the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope. But as with the responses to the questions of Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pierchalski, the Children’s Museum management is disinterested in any ideas which do not fit into their specific agenda.
Friends of the Zeiss urges the Board of Directors of the Allegheny Regional Asset District to watch the Children’s Museum closely over the next few years and hold their management fully accountable, when their wishful-thinking management decisions come back to haunt them.
Attachment (reverse side): Children’s