Friday, September 27, 2013

No jobs from the new coliseum contract?

What strange alchemy at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

The News and Record and other sources have reported that Wake Forest University, the owner of the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and several other venues in nearby Winston-Salem, has contracted with Matt Brown's Greensboro Coliseum Complex to run events at its venues.
Greensboro Coliseum Director Matt Brown’s empire is spreading across the county line.

Wake Forest University has hired the coliseum’s staff to book and manage events at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum and three other athletics venues here.

The university will pay Greensboro $115,000 a year for the next five years, plus a share of Ticketmaster fees earned from events.
The News and Record article and an editorial tout the many potential benefits from regionalizing the management of the major venues in Greensboro and Winston-Salem--most importantly, the ability for the combined operation to compete more effectively with other major venues in North Carolina and beyond.

It's also a testament to Mr. Brown's and his staff's skills that Wake Forest decided that outsourcing the management of its venues to his shop was more cost-effective than using the university's own staff.

However, a sentence in the second-to-last paragraph of the News and Record story begs some questions.
Greensboro doesn’t plan to hire new staff because of the agreement, said City Manager Denise Turner Roth.

Wake Forest is hiring the Coliseum staff to perform $115,000 worth of services that it wasn't performing before and wouldn't be performing otherwise.

It's alchemy to suggest that these new services don't have any staffing implications.

Without staffing changes, the Coliseum's staff will either make room in their existing work schedules for these services by performing fewer services for the taxpayers of Greensboro, OR the staff currently have a considerable amount do-nothing time that's available for hire.

Greensboro taxpayers should be concerned if its staff will perform fewer services on behalf of the city. Taxpayers should also be concerned if the Coliseum is currently over-staffed and has workers with extra potentially billable time on their hands.

If the current staffing is appropriate, the Coliseum should either add workers or perhaps add hours for some part-time workers. The contract should mean either new jobs or better jobs in Greensboro.

Another possibility is overtime pay for the existing workers, but this seems inefficient, especially given the enormous number of unemployed people in the city.

Is Mr. Brown about to perform alchemy? Or will he find a way to add to Greensboro's job base?