During Mayor Rhonda Trautman’s first six months in office, reorganization of departments and agencies has included the transformation of two in particular.
The director of the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, which was once paid for by a grant and had reached out to the city for help when it ran into financial issue, is no longer a city employee.
Gayle Berry will now be an employee of the Cultural Center foundation as of July 1. Berry, Trautman, city councilwoman Linda Wells and cultural center board members Ernie Myers and Phil Patton confirmed the change.
“We have converted our support from having her paid as a city employee to paying her through the foundation,” Trautman said. “As far as I know she will be compensated in a very similar manner as before.”
The city will still be paying into the cultural center through Grants and Subsidies, but as owners of the building, the city’s main expense will be maintenance, insurance and utilities, Trautman said.
Expenses at the cultural center for the 2010 fiscal year were more than $157,000 according to the annual budget. The council adopted a 2012 expense of $58,500 in the general fund for cultural center purposes.
“[Berry] is now an employee of the cultural center itself and has not lost a single day of work,” Myers said. “The city is still helping to underwrite the cultural center but we are agreeing to this in the spirit of cooperation with the city.”
Trautman first presented the idea to the center’s board of directors in March, saying Berry’s salary, pensions, health insurance and other payments would be paid in a lump sum to the foundation in order to “simplify the relationship,” Trautman said then.
“We provide a lot of support to outside agencies, and with this we’re treating the cultural center exactly as we’re treating other agencies,” Trautman said in a phone interview with the Daily Times on Wednesday.
Berry declined to comment on the change.
Other agencies are seeing changes as well, such as the Plaza Theatre, which is a city department with a budget now separated from the general fund.
“The Plaza brings in revenue that is very specific to the Plaza, so having their own fund in the budget makes it easier to track,” Trautman said.
Plaza director Steve Jones is treated as a department head and the ultimate plan is for the Plaza to eventually be self-sustaining.
“We’ve always been a city department but we’re asked to cover the costs through tickets and our revenue,” Jones said. “We were switched to a separate account, it’s still all city money, but now it’s all going to one account instead of to the general fund.”
The Plaza made $168,069 in revenue in 2010 according to the budget documents, with expenses totaling more than $384,000.