July 27th NJSCA Board Meeting

Please take a moment to read the letters posted below from ArtPride NJ board president Mark Packer for information regarding the July 27th New Jersey State Council on the Arts board meeting.

July 27, 2010

Dear Art Pride Member:

At the meeting of the NJ State Council on the Arts today, the Council adopted three of the four measures requested by the Lieutenant Governor.   

  • receiving ethics training,
  • developing better internal procedures for Council members who seek to attend cultural events, and
  • reorganizing the staff structure to have the Executive Director report directly to Wendy Galloway, Director of Programs & Services in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office.

The Council did not take any action with respect to the request from the Lieutenant Governor to fire the Executive Director, Steve Runk.  Therefore, Mr. Runk remains the Executive Director of the State Arts Council.

The Council members received ethics training at the meeting which lasted about a half-hour.  During Public Comment, Laura Packer, Arts Program Director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, addressed the Council and cited two articles that appeared this past weekend, one on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, and the other in the Wall Street Journal (by Republican commentator Peggy Noonan) about the consequences of irresponsible media reporting and rushing to judgment.  Laura then spoke in support of Steve Runk’s distinguished and long career at the State Arts Council, urging them to, in Ms. Noonan’s words, “be careful, slow down, look deeper.” The audience of over 120 people rose and offered an extended standing ovation to acknowledge Mr. Runk at the conclusion of Laura’s remarks.

Art Pride NJ will continue to keep you apprised of developments and the strategy moving forward.  Should you wish to discuss the outcomes of this public meeting with the public/press, we continue to urge you to be respectful and to acknowlege the excellent work of the Council and its staff.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or Ann Marie Miller, Executive Director at 609-443-3582 or via email at artpride@artpridenj.com.

Mark E. Packer
President, Board of Trustees
Art Pride NJ  


July 28, 2010 – In an effort to clarify confusion, and to correct today’s misleading report in The Star Ledger regarding yesterday’s NJSCA meeting, it is important to note:

  • the NJSCA agreed to the placement of the agency under the Division of Programs in the organization plans of the NJ Dept. of State including having the Council’s Executive Director report to the Directof of the Division of Programs. 
  • Over the years, the placement of the Council within the structure of the Dept. of State has taken many forms that include different reporting lines. It is important to note, however, that the Council’s Executive Director maintains oversight authority for all operations in carrrying out the work of the Council, and the Council staff reports to the Executive Director.  The duties and responsibilities of the post have not changed.

 Yes, this is complicated, and for that reason it is important to get the finely tuned facts correct.  We hope this helps you understand the situation better.  Thanks to all of you who have reached out to us with questions and comments that help us inform our community.

Mark E. Packer
President, Board of Trustees
Art Pride NJ

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