By Robert E. Field
Happenings at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music become more surrealistic day by day.
It was our understanding that Fran Veri would announce this weekend that the PAM would vacate their Prince Street facility and pursue moving to one of three potential locations, something that was considered by the Business Committee at its inception half a year ago.
Instead, the Sunday News carries a front page story in which Veri announced the appointment of Simon Andrews , a faculty member, as dean of the academy and dean of students, replacing Veri and her son Michael T. Jamanis, respectively.
It was announced two weeks ago that all other members of the PAM board of trustees had resigned in protest, leaving only Veri and husband Michael J. Jamanis. PAM’s charter does not allow two trustees to operate the school. Veri later advised NewsLanc that David Weston was remaining as a board member. (Did he resign and then change his mind?) Still later Veri said there were two new board members but did not identify them. Who had the authority to appoint them?
In fact, who has the authority to write checks?
Andrews’ is quoted in the Sunday News as follows: “ ‘I can’t imagine why anyone who’s had a relationship with this institution and wants the students of the academy to be able to succeed in the way they have the past 10 years would want to make it harder for us… Any bad publicity about the school damages our ability to get more students, and [PAM's fiscal issues] will only be solved by getting more students’.”
Given the hundred thousand dollars operating loss per month, how will PAM be able to enroll students, raise funds, or make plans beyond June if its funds will run out by June and their lease can be terminated on two months notice? How does it serve PAM’s and the community’s purposes to pretend nothing is amiss?
We have long been and will continue to be great admirers of Veri and Jamanis. But at a certain point vision and tenacity becomes blindness and obstructionism.
The location of a Millersville campus downtown, perhaps including the idle Brunswick Hotel as a dormitory and practice rooms, would be the greatest event to have occurred for downtown Lancaster in memory. How does it facilitate Millersville University acquiring the building if they face a potential dog fight from its current tenants rather than a warm welcome and full cooperation, which might well be reciprocated?
PAM is a public foundation and must be governed in accordance with its statutory authority. We disapprove of the sudden and unanticipated resignation of board members when they had the responsibility to take appropriate actions. Shortly after the resignations were announced, NewsLanc publicly called for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office to fulfill its supervisory responsibilities by intervening.
It is now up to the Attorney General Office to enforce the laws and protect the public, no matter how well meaning the motivations of Veri and Jamanis may be.
Editor’s note: NewsLanc publisher Robert Field served as advisor to PAM’s Business Committee.