Banchs’ Withdrawal

Bill Banchs should have never been hired as President of the Scottsdale Cultural Council in the first place. However, the problems at SCC weren’t related so much to the occupant of that office as they were to poor oversight of taxpayer subsidies to this private business.

As a reminder, SCC has a 20-year, no-bid contract to ‘manage’ Scottsdale’s Public Art collection, the taxpayer-owned Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (likewise, taxpayer-owned).

SCC charges admission to SCPA and SMoCA and keeps all the proceeds, with none coming back to the city treasury. They also charge admission to various festivals held in the Civic Center Mall area, and they leverage their position and ‘non-profit’ status to solicit sizable charitable donations.

On top of all that, Mayor Jim Lane and the city council majority (including former SCC board chair Linda Milhaven) routinely sign $4 million annual taxpayer-funded subsidy checks to SCC, with virtually no investigation as to how that money is spent. You couldn’t make up a better recipe for disaster.

And if Mayor Lane and the City Council don’t demand accountability, why should the SCC’s Chamber of Commerce-infested board of trustees?

The results arevobvious to anyone with the ability to understand profit-motive. SCC is routinely below the “do not donate” threshold scores for charity rating organizations, due largely to excessive administrative costs…including Bill Banchs’ quarter-million dollar annual salary and half-million dollar expense account.

Will we see meaningful change under new board Chair Andres-Schneider? I hope so, but given the lipstick-on-a-pig tone of the announcement of Banchs’ “resignation,” I won’t hold my breath. And I’ll be watching the similarly-patterned, up-and-coming Museum of the West.

Here’s the announcement:

Dear SCC Board of Trustees and SCC Advisory Board Members:

Bill Banchs has resigned as President and CEO of the Scottsdale Cultural Council effective at the end of August.  Bill and his wife, Clare, will be relocating to Miami where Bill will be pursuing new professional opportunities.

During Bill’s five and a half year tenure he worked successfully to completely restructure and reorganize the SCC’s governance and management, and to strengthen the SCC’s development programs.  This was all done in accordance with a new SCC Strategic Plan he helped to create early in his tenure.

These positive developments took place during an unprecedented recession which occupied the majority of Bill’s tenure.   On behalf of the SCC Board of Trustees, I want to thank Bill for his persistence and determination in bringing about these positive outcomes which have helped pave the way toward a bright future for the SCC.

Throughout his tenure, Bill was also a tireless champion of the arts, passionately advocating in their favor while helping to advance their cause.  In doing so he helped elevate public awareness of the vital role the arts play in allowing us to enjoy fulfilling lives and in making Scottsdale such a special place.

We will move quickly in planning the search for a new SCC President and CEO.  Please join me in wishing Bill great success wherever the future takes him.

Sincerely,

Ellen Andres-Schneider
Chairman, SCC Board of Trustees

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3 Comments

  1. It would seem (to me at least) that many of our so called cultural venues are controlled by elitists for the delight of elitists (pretenders)…supported with, of course, plebeian tax dollars.

    The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts often presents exhibits that defy logic, if not common sense. My wife and I attended such an exhibit last year where what appeared to be scraps of building materials was left on the gallery floor. That was the art exhibit!

    The venues of performing artists that appear at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts pales in comparison to those at similar venues around the Valley (i.e. Mesa). If the place needs to be expanded to accommodate first tier acts, then by God, do so! Or rip it down and replace it with something that is Scottsdale worthy!

    I attended the Museum of the West ‘public’ meeting recently and once again witnessed the self-congratulatory back slapping of elitists and politicos who’ve sold out to a humdrum architectural concept that is far below what we’ve all been led to believe such a facility would be. One can only speculate as to how it will be run as the ‘crew’ will be drawn from the same ilk of pretenders that run the other facilities. As they say, when you don’t expect much, you’re rarely disappointed.

    And lastly, on my bitch list…I hate to be charged to walk through any exhibit or event that this ‘Kultural’ group decides it will hold in my tax supported Civic Center Mall area. I can attend similar art events on Mill Avenue or in Fountain Hills that feature all the same artists without charge…and do! And please don’t give me the sob story that some of the proceeds go to charity. I can (and do) support the charities I decide to and don’t need my city government surcharging me for what they deem to be charities. The city should put an end to this crap!

    Let’s hope for better accountability from those who run these facilities and if it’s not too much to hope for, a little more involvement and financial introspection from our elitist derriere kissing city government officials.

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