Carnegie announces "restructuring," layoffs | Blogh

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Carnegie announces "restructuring," layoffs

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 4:01 PM

Addressing a persistent shortfall in its operating budget, the Carnegie Museum of Art is eliminating seven staff positions, six full time and one part time, the museum announced today.

The layoffs are part of a "restructuring" in the face of a 3 percent operating deficit, which has been masked in recent years by one-time or short-term infusions of donations, said museum spokesperson Jonathan Gaugler. The deficit amounts to about $300,000 a year on an operating budget of $10 million. 

The Carnegie had yet to make public more details about the positions eliminated, or about other jobs that would be redefined.

“We deeply regret that positions of current staff members are being affected,” said Lynn Zelevansky, the museum's director. “We do believe, though, that CMOA will emerge a stronger, healthier institution that is better able to respond to the rapidly changing demands of today’s audiences.”

"Staff whose positions were eliminated as part of the reorganization will be offered a severance package based in part on length of service," read the statement.

The museum is part of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, which includes the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center. But the cutbacks do not affect those other venues.

The CMOA's operating budget includes most staffing costs and such facilities costs as maintenance, art storage, and heating and cooling the museum. It does not include funding for specific exhibitions, the museum's acquisition's budget or endowed staff positions, said Gaugler.

A statement from the museum said that the restructuring is part of ongoing discussions about the museum's "long-term sustainability plan, but the recently realized structural budget deficit has accelerated those plans."

The statement also read: "Zelevansky said the changes are designed to achieve fiscal stability and, in the process, create a more audience-centric museum better positioned to respond to the changing needs of 21st-century visitors."

Local culture workers organized as Info Desk, including some at the Carnegie Museum of Art, have complained in recent years of low pay, and that the museum had reduced their hours to avoid supplying health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act. Critics have also pointed to the high pay of many in the Carnegie Museum's management ranks.