|Inside Carmel's "The Palladium"|
Steven Libman, CEO of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, resigned late Friday afternoon—less than three months after his contract was extended through 2016.
Libman cited personal reasons in a meeting with members of the center's board of directors, said Frank Basile, vice chairman of the board. Basile will serve as interim CEO.
Libman’s resignation comes just ahead of Sunday’s ribbon cutting on The Tarkington, a 500-seat theater in the $175 million complex that also includes a 1,600-seat concert hall and 200-seat studio theater.
Libman was an independent consultant in California when he joined the center in September 2009. Previously, he ran the La Jolla Playhouse.City officials seem genuinely confused by the timing of the resignation which took place just a couple months after he signed a five year contract. Libman's explanation that the job required too much work makes no sense either. Obviously, after spending one year on the job, Libman was well aware of the demands of the job and yet he signed the new contract anyway.
There is also no mention of Libman leaving to take another job.
One wonders if Libman at some point realized the Performing Arts Center is a white elephant and decided to run before his reputation is sullied by the inevitable coming public backlash. Even though the Palladium sold out many performances and by all accounts had stellar attendance, the Center continues to lose millions. The Center is propped by a $2 million annual taxpayer subsidy last year which may have to be doubled this year. It is so bad that Mayor Jim Brainard, who generally supports taxpayer subsidies for businesses and is a big supporter of the Arts Center, is lukewarm on a bigger taxpayer subsidy.
When starting a new venture, a business will crunch the numbers to see what will make the venture profitable and what will leave it losing money. You have to wonder if Carmel city leaders ever crunched the numbers with regard to the Arts Center. Here they are, blessed with a new, popular facility, drawing great crowds, yet losing millions of dollars. What happens when the newness wears off?
Of course, if Carmel city leaders would have crunched the numbers and made public the fact that the facility would always be losing millions, would the public have support its construction? My guess is "no."