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News Thu Dec 16 2010
Jim DeRogatis reported earlier today that the city has laid off twenty more employees of the Department of Cultural Affairs. However, clarifications from Peter Scales at the Office of Budget and Management seem to indicate a less-than-traumatic situation:
"The following functions will be transferred to the Chicago Tourism Fund, effective January 1, 2011: visual/public art; tourism; cultural programs and grants; events, production, and retail; and some finance/administration. Therefore, the 20 city positions that currently perform those functions in the budget have been eliminated, and a commensurate amount of funding is being provided to the CTF so that CTF can hire CTF employees to perform those functions... Because these functions and the commensurate funding are not being eliminated, but rather being transferred to the CTF, there will be no impact on current initiatives, including Downtown Sound, World Music Festival, Summer Dance, etc. In fact, this shifting of personnel should go unnoticed by residents and event participants."
DeRogatis and his sources fear things will not be so rosy, but it remains to be seen. However, Scales offered Gapers Block this amount of reassurance:
"The City cannot influence the hiring of employees by outside agencies -- which is what CTF is. The fund will be doing their own hiring for these positions. However, it is probably safe to say that should any of these folks choose to move from the City payroll to CTF that they would likely be seen as qualified to do the job they have been doing on the City side of the ledger."
The Daily Swarm, quoting Cultural Affair's employee Brian Keigher's Facebook, believes that music-man Michael Orlove should be fine: "Mike Orlove will still be working, but just under a new banner for Cultural Affairs moving forward."
With any luck, size and scope will not be affected - including the World Music Festival, collaborations with the Empty Bottle for Downtown Sound/New Music Mondays, and plenty of other non-musical events provided thus far by Orlove and company.