The Richmond Register

March 27, 2013

Clark got EKU Center tickets because of government role

EKU Center

By Bill Robinson
Register Editor

MADISON COUNTY —



Only by coincidence did a member of the EKU Center for the Arts Community Operations Board receive season tickets for the center’s first year of operation, board chair Harry Moberly said as the group met Wednesday.

The heads of Madison County’s three local governments, which are co-sponsoring partners of the center, receive complimentary tickets to help market the center, Moberly said.

Because Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark serves as one of the county’s representatives on the board, the university auditor mistakenly believed he had received them improperly, Moberly said.

Legislation that created the board stipulates that its members are to serve without compensation, which the auditor noted in a review of the center’s finances for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

The identity of the board member cited in the audit had sparked curiosity since the Richmond Register reported it Friday. Board member David Fernandez said he had been stopped on the street and asked if he was the member in question.

Also on Wednesday, the EKU counsel’s office provided the information in response to an open-records request from the Register.

Complimentary tickets are distributed at the center director’s discretion to help market it, said Skip Daugherty, executive assistant to EKU President Doug Whitlock, who serves on the board and has been assisting interim director Jill Price.

The only problem with complimentary tickets last season, both Daugherty and Moberly said, was with their accounting.

Clark said he had not asked for the tickets, and because he was rarely able to attend shows, had given most of them to officials from other counties so they could attend and talk about the center where they live.

Price said local officials and other VIPs who receive complimentary tickets have been “very helpful” in promoting the center. She or Daugherty discuss with recipients the reason they get tickets and how they can help promote the center.

Moberly said he had paid for his own tickets but obtained comp tickets last year for two officials’ first visit to the center. They then bought tickets of their own for several other shows.

Board member Jan Tunnell said the panel should adopt a formal policy on distribution of comp tickets.  Daugherty said internal comp-ticket guidelines exist and would be shared with the board at its next meeting.

Most of the meeting was taken up by a review of a job description for the center director proposed by the search committee. Revisions were made, but no vote was taken. Price and Daugherty were instructed to do another review and email a printed version to board members for their approval.

Price said the April 20 evening performance of Celtic Woman had been sold out for some time, and about 900 tickets also had been sold for a matinee although it had not been advertised. Kentucky Educational Television, which used discounted tickets it had purchased in a promotion of its own, had helped spur ticket sales, she said.

The center recently added two shows for this season, Price said.

ZZ Top will perform Sunday, May 5, and the musical comedy “Menopause” will be performed June 1.