Jay Fishman responds to Trafford quotes

Jay, who is Symphony violinist Joyce Fishman's husband, is the Executive and Artistic Director of the Minnesota Sinfonia. He has extensive experience in running an orchestra, especially in developing its support base and outreach.

In response to the Dispatch article, Symphony musicians propose salary cut;

I suspect that I am not the only person who sees the irony in Columbus Symphony Orchestra Board Chair Buzz Trafford's questioning the credentials and knowledge of Daniel R. LaMacchia. When Mr. Trafford states,

Mr. LaMacchia is a stockbroker and I'm not sure how much he knows about the operations of a symphony orchestra,

he is simply engaging in the time-honored practice of a smear campaign. Mr. Trafford, who is a managing partner in the law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, knows full well that Mr. LaMacchia is in fact a financial planner with a degree from the Wharton School of Business, but by lumping him with a professional group that is held in very low public esteem, he is trying to shape public perception with guilt by association.

It is interesting to point out that Mr. Trafford (who is a member of a profession that also is held in very low public esteem) does not question Mr. LaMacchia's numbers, or the specifics asserting that the Symphony is (over) spending far too much money on non-artistic items.

And Mr. Trafford shows his own ignorance about running a non-profit organization, when he criticizes Mr. LaMacchia's insistence that in-kind (donated) services be included when talking about overall budget size.

Definition: In-kind services are those goods and or services that are donated to non-profit organizations (and for the most part are tax deductible) that have specific monetary value, and in most cases would have to be purchased or hired by the organization if they were not donated.

Certainly, with Mr. Trafford's experience of being the board chair for the past two years (let's put aside his leadership qualifications – given that there has been a multi-million dollar deficit during his tenure), he is fully aware that most funding organizations to non-profits require statements of in-kind goods and services and their monetary values. They require this information because these donations not only save the organization real money, but also demonstrate community support. Given that Columbus Symphony in-kind services amount to a very impressive $1.600,000, can we speculate that Mr. Trafford is really trying to gloss over the true nature of the orchestra's community support?

While we are speculating, shouldn't we all wonder why the payments to CAPA (which manages the Ohio theater and rents office space to the Symphony) have increased from $468,641 in 2005 to $1,080,235 this past year, even though the Symphony has the same amount of office space, and plays fewer concerts in the Theater?

And while we are questioning, why, if Mr. Trafford and the Board insist that the Symphony budget be cut by 20%, would they not simply suggest a 20% cut across the board, including the musicians' salaries? Instead they insist on draconian cuts of 40% for the musicians alone, only 10% cuts for management, and one can only imagine what kind of future increases for payments to CAPA?

There are many questions that Mr. Trafford and his associates need to answer before they can start questioning others.

Jay Fishman

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2 comments for “Jay Fishman responds to Trafford quotes

  1. jay fishman
    May 22, 2008 at

    If you are interested in getting involved and helping to resolve this mess, please email me straight away. jay

  2. May 22, 2008 at

    Great response to “Buzz”. Never fails when some are called to account for their actions they put down the person questioning them. Is this a common trait of lawyers? Trafford needs to remember that he is not functioning in the role of lawyer when trying to be head of the CSO Board. Furthermore, hasn’t the CSO been audited each year in response to the monies spent? There is money given by the Women’s Association that is missing!

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