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State board calls for shifting control of Egg to OGS

The dance troupe Philadanco visits The Egg on Friday, March 1.
Photographer: Lois Greenfield
The dance troupe Philadanco visits The Egg on Friday, March 1.
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— The Authorities Budget Office, in a report released this morning, is calling for management and control of the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center Operating Corporation, commonly referred to as “The Egg,” to shift to the Office of General Services (OGS).

The the full report by the ABO is available on the Capital Region Scene.

“OGS has a record of success promoting, marketing and running public events enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year”, David Kidera, director of the Authorities Budget Office, said in a press release. “Why does the state need a public authority to manage the Egg and a separate agency to manage the rest of the Plaza? Consolidating this responsibility makes fiscal and management sense. In the long run, we believe this action will preserve the Egg as the cultural center for the arts in the Capital District and the state.”.

The ABO report is sharply critical of the existing Egg board, saying it "exhibited by a high degree of absenteeism at board meetings, persistent vacancies on the board, and an inability to develop and adopt a coherent plan to address the authority’s financial situation."

In its official response within the report, The Egg board and staff said "that the recommendation to dissolve the authority may impact the quality and depth of activities at The Egg and reduce opportunities and services currently provided to audiences, artists and presenters across the state of New York."

The ABO is an independent office created in 2009. Its mission is to make public authorities more accountable and transparent, and to act in the public interest.

It receives administrative assistance and support from the Department of State and is supported through a special fee on public authorities that is assessed by the state Division of the Budget.



February 28, 2013
10:01 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Careful! Any change in governance must take a note into account the current variety of offerings provided at the Egg and not just become a venue for mass
popular entertainment.

February 28, 2013
3:15 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Consolidation is not in or of itself the answer to improving management and governance. The benefit of a stand-alone organization is its intense focus on its particular mission. That may well be at risk if absorbed in to an organization that does not have arts as its primary mission and passion. I seriously hope that NYS will first look at how the management and board can be revitalized, as it did with SPAC a few years ago. That approach proved highly successful.

February 28, 2013
3:39 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

This is bogus; a power play which, if executed, would threaten the programming at one of the area's finest performing arts venues.
OGS has steadily degraded the quality of free music programming at the Empire State Plaza, so Kidera's claims of success ring hollow. Granted, this is likely a funding issue, but it is still a drop in perceived value and proof OGS lacks expertise in presenting quality programming.
Kidera's criticisms of the Egg Board are superficial and don't address results at all, but instead focus on process, and this discussion should be about results. He also overlooks the strength of the Egg's membership base whose financial support helps leverage down the ticket prices for events that cost ticket-buyers more when presented elsewhere. That membership base and its money will vanish in the wind if this takeover occurs, and this in turn would inevitability erode the quality of programming.
This proposed takeover is a terribly bad idea.