Reprinted (with permission) as a public service….

The Greatest Oversight

June 22, 2018

DurhamPAC Leadership Group

The DPAC Oversight Committee was created in the original Operating Agreement adopted by the Durham City Council. It is the designated vehicle for Citizen input on the operations of the out-of-town (for profit) firm that manages Programming, Sales/Marketing and Daily Operations of the City’s $70 million investment in the Performing Arts Center.

Written into that agreement (and all subsequent revisions) is the following charge to PFM/Nederlander;

Through provision of consumer-oriented service, maintaining a positive public relations climate to engender loyalty among audiences and all constituencies served by DPAC.
— DPAC Operating Agreement, Section 1.1.4(b)

The Oversight Committee is charged with reporting to Council on PFM/Nederlander’s compliance with that agreement. This clause provides the Committee the absolute, unfettered right and responsibility to address ANY ACTION on the part of PFM/Nederlander which negatively impacts customer relations. The much documented price-gouging in the upcoming season (75-125%, effecting over 3,200 patrons) as well as in the 16-17 season (40% effecting some 3,300 patrons) which has caused widespread audience distress and ill-will, falls clearly within the committee’s scope of responsibility. As of this date, Committee Chair Susan (“I worked at Lincoln Center!“) Callaghan steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the Committee’s responsibility or the well-documented consumer complaints they have received.

We can only speculate at the reasons for Ms. Callaghan’s unfounded claims of being “powerless” in this area. Their claims of being powerless extend to believing they may not even comment upon abusive practices by PFM/Nederlander.

Such a strict reading of the Operating Agreement does not seem to extend to the way in which Ms. Callaghan allows PFM/Nederlander to dominate their meetings, disregarding their role as described in the Operating Agreement and her own direct requests to Mr. Klaus.

Far beyond being a vendor who reports twice annually (as specified in the Operating Agreement), Bob Klaus takes up the majority of the committee’s time with entirely self-serving and misleading presentations. Bob Klaus, PFM/Nederlander’s local representative is even listed as a sixth member of the Committee on the phone list. When a member of the Committee called to ask to be added to the meeting by phone, she didn’t call the City Staff Member or even the Committee Chair, both of whom were sitting at the same table, she called Bob Klaus. It was small representation of who really runs the DPAC Oversight Committee; it is not the Chair, Susan Callaghan it is not the assigned City Staff, Reginald Johnson, it is PFM/Nederlander through their talented local representative Bob Klaus.

The City of Durham is ill-served by the passive, willfully negligent Oversight Committee, its current Chair, Susan Callaghan, and the assigned City Support Staff, Reginald Johnson. Their motto could well be We strain at gnats and swallow camels.


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