I am saddened by the news of the State Theatre board’s decision to replace Executive Director Richard Biever.
Biever was told abruptly that he would no longer be the director and was offered another position at about one-third the salary. Board President Lisa Peters spoke of “loving” Richard and of “holding him in highest esteem.”
Nothing says “love” like a pink slip!
Under Biever’s directorship, the State had taken a decided and positive turn toward the community and its families through its diverse offerings. Having inherited near crippling debt, Biever’s leadership had seen a decrease in that debt and an increase in relationships with benefactors wishing to support Biever’s vision.
If the question before the board was what vision for the State Theatre would fulfill its mission while providing a platform to erase past debt and secure economic viability, then it appears that Biever’s vision met that standard.
Were benchmarks and timelines for debt reduction established upon Biever’s hiring?
Were strategies clearly articulated and accountability measures installed?
Will the new director meet with a similar fate in two short years?
Of all that saddens, confuses and shocks me concerning the board’s decision, I’m left asking what accountability extends to the board as it hires then replaces directors after a few years; might concerns over “vision” and “direction” be reconciled over time with civility and humanity rather than through firing; and in this, of all communities, can we not find more honorable ways to treat each other?
Biever deserved better.
Dana Stuchul, State College