City to Audit PCPA

Maybe only arts administrators and elected officials know this, but the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (which includes five theaters in three different buildings) is owned by the City of Portland but managed by the Metropolitan Exposition and Recreation Commission (or MERC), a subdivision of Metro. From time to time there have been some disagreements about how these buildings should be managed, including questions about Metro's propensity to think of these facilities as revenue generators rather than civic assets accessible to arts organizations and citizens. As recently as this past winter, Mayor Sam Adams had to lean on Metro to alleviate the ticket taxes and user fees that were being charged to the major arts organizations, and thankfully the Center's director, Robyn Williams, and MERC's CEO at the time, the unfairly embattled David Woolson, worked hard to make it happen. As a result, the symphony, the ballet, and the opera are now paying the PCPA 50 cents per ticket instead of $1.50 -- same as the smaller arts organizations pay -- on top of their regular rent.

Today the City Auditor announced that her office will conduct an audit of the PCPA and examine the City-Metro partnership. Specifically, from the Auditor's announced schedule for FY09-10:

This audit will assess the current financial and program arrangements for PCPA event management, reviewing current costs, contract and management information related to the City-owned performing arts facilities.

It's nothing for PCPA to worry about, just a chance to review the intentions of the contract and whether it's being executed as intended. New opportunities for greater efficiencies could also be revealed, or perhaps a recommendation that the City invest more in some of the deferred maintenance issues that have plagued these buildings for some time.

RACC was subject to a similar audit several years ago when the City wanted to review its Public Art arrangements, and several helpful recommendations came out of that process. To see what an auditor's report can look like, check out that one:

Percent for Art Program: Financial allocation process is informal, inconsistent, and may not fullfil requirements for public art (PDF)

And for more background on the PCPA, check out Art Scatter's fine summary from last summer.

1 comment:

MightyToyCannon said...

Here's another scheduled audit for this year:

"Controls Over Narcotics – This audit will review the controls over drugs used in Police Bureau
training programs."

The fundamental question is this: How are drugs actually used in the Police Bureau training program? I guess narco cops have to learn how to rub suspicious powders on their teeth like they do in the movies.