Recently, an email message from Tom Beames, Jacksonville Symphony Association (JSA) Executive Board member and Vice Chair of Artistic Affairs, to his fellow JSA Board members generated a great deal of attention when the message (in part and in whole) began appearing at several online discussion boards, including the JSO Lockdown Facebook group. In that email message, Vice Chair Beames congratulates JSA Board Chair Jim Van Vleck and Executive Director Alan Hopper "on standing firm and showing strength" during the December 14 bargaining session. However, Vice Chair Beames also expresses belief that "the heartstrings
of kids at Christmas with no presents certainly will have an impact" on
the $60,000 in differences between the current offers from the JSA and
the Jacksonville Symphony Players’ Association (JSPA)…
Although Vice Chair Beames’ latter comment could certainly be construed
as inflammatory language capable of escalating the ongoing conflict,
his was only one of several email messages in that extended thread.
Indeed, all five messages provide an unfiltered look into the rationale
behind the JSA Executive Committee’s bargaining position. For the
benefit of readers, the entire extended thread has been assembled here
The email messages began on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 when Sally Pettegrew, JSO Director of Administration, sent an message with the subject "pre-Christmas update from Jim VV" to members of the JSA Board of Directors. This list included past-presidents, one of which is Jacksonville Mayor John S. Peyton, who served as JSA board president from 2000-2002. Ms. Pettegrew’s original email and no less than two responses from current JSA board members were made available as part of Mayor Peyton’s Public Records email folder.
The contents of all five email messages have been saved as an image and embedded into an Adobe pdf file (Adobe Reader, a free program, is required to view the documents). Additionally, whenever an email message contained an attachment, that attachment has been inserted at the end of the respective pdf file. In addition to the pdf files, the following is Vice Chair Beames’ email message – the second in the thread which was sent exactly 10 minutes after the initial message – in its entirety:
Sally, please pass along to Jim?
Alan and Jim, we’re receiving word from the musicians that we’re "only" $60m a year away from agreement. Congratulations on standing firm and showing strength.
I think we may start to see some crack in the dyke on this "only $x" issue, and the heartstrings of kids at Christmas with no presents certainly will have an impact.
I would like you to know that I again stand by our proposal and agree we must remain firm to ensure the viability of the Symphony.
Good luck, and Happy Holidays.
Sent via Blackberry
The following table lists all of the messages from the extended email threads:
|Includes a negotiation update from JSA Board Chair Jim Van Vleck and two attachments. Van Vleck acknowledges that board members are receiving many emails and although they are setting up a system for them to be forwarded to the executive board for "appropriate response or disposal" and that board members can "always just hit ‘delete’" on their own.|
|Includes "kids at Christmas with no presents" remark.|
|Includes an attachment that was intended to go out with the first message.|
|Includes the details to the system for handling email messages suggested in Van Vleck’s message (Message #1 above).|
|Includes several statements of support to fellow board members and that any remaining negotiation points not be treated as issues which necessitate compromise. Consequently, the board should remain firm in their last, best final financial offer (from November 12, 2007).|
None of the email messages or attachments mentions the proposed cancellation of musician health care coverage at the end of December or the possibility of extending coverage to the end of January as a sign of good faith following recent musician concessions. In general, the responses from board members Beames and Halverson convey a sense of indignation toward compromising on any outstanding items with musicians and that the board dismiss any such considerations.
Future articles will cover some of the detailed information included in these email message and attachments but until then, don’t miss the opportunity to review all of the information first hand by downloading the above attachments. In the meantime, post a comment on your thoughts and observations on the JSO negotiations and these email messages.