City reaches management agreement for Museum
December 19, 2005
Assembly asked to approve plan Tuesday night Recognizing the importance of a streamlined and efficient management structure for the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, an agreement has been reached which will allow for a change in the management of the museum. The Anchorage Assembly, Tuesday night, will be asked to approve a multi-year contract turning management of the museum over to the Anchorage Museum Association (AMA), a non-profit organization which has supported the museum since 1969.The change in governance of the museum has been in discussion for six years, and the agreement between the Municipality of Anchorage and AMA comes after months of negotiations between members of the Begich Administration, the AMA, and the Anchorage Municipal Employees Association (AMEA). "We are pleased to announce that all parties have agreed to work for a positive solution which will benefit the museum now and in the future," Mayor Mark Begich said. "As our museum gets ready to move forward on a $100 million expansion, it's important to have a solid management system in place." An analysis done last summer showed Anchorage taxpayers will save close to $1.9 million in labor costs from 2006 to 2012 by having the museum run by a private, non-profit organization instead of the current structure of some municipal employees and some AMEA employees. Under the new management agreement the museum and its collections will continue to be owned by the MOA in trust for the people of Anchorage. The AMA will hire all staff and oversee the policies and day to day operations of the museum. "The new management will be cost effective," said Joe Griffith, Chairman of the AMA Board of Directors. "It will allow the museum to increase its present staff of 33 to more than 80 individuals once the expansion is complete." The AMEA had originally challenged the management change by filing a lawsuit against the city. As a result of the recent discussions and negotiations, the union has agreed to drop its lawsuit and move forward with the new plan. The settlement with the union, AMA and the Municipality stipulates that ten of the 23 existing union employees will be offered jobs with AMA. The other 13 will be offered other jobs within the Municipality at their present pay and benefit level. Following Assembly approval, the transition is scheduled to take place in the next several months. The transfer coincides with the completion of the museum expansion design development phase. Groundbreaking for the expansion will take place in the fall of 2006 with completion of the new building and renovation of the present museum expected in 2010.