SPAC Moves Forward

Officials with New York’s Saratoga Performing Arts Center hired Marcia White as the venue’s new executive director March 4th, but the financial entanglement with former exec Herb Chesbrough is still being sorted out.

At issue is Chesbrough’s ongoing pay check — reportedly more than $6,000 a week — when he no longer works at the venue itself. He has been kept on as a consultant to the board regarding a five-year plan of action for the nonprofit but has been working out of his home, according to The Business Review of Albany.

Chesbrough, who worked at the PAC for more than 30 years, told Pollstar last December he would step down in October instead of when his contract expires in 2006.

Since that time, an audit conducted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — the center’s landlord — concluded that while under Chesbrough’s direction, the PAC’s fund-raising efforts were lacking, its endowment fund had dwindled and its executives were overpaid, the paper said. It also concluded he should get no severance pay.

State Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro said Chesbrough should bow out now.

“First and foremost, the next critical step is for the previous executive director, Mr. Chesbrough, to immediately resign,” Castro told the Review. “The resignation is essential for the much-needed overhaul of SPAC to continue.”

White told the paper she will focus on improved fund-raising for the center, especially targeting corporate sponsors, and rebuild the goodwill that has been lost in the community.