There’s a certain tacky, money-grubbing desperation pervasive in the secular nonprofit arena in Ohio, and Marcie Bergman’s conduct representing us as executive director of The Cleveland Arts Prize (CAP) points that up. The Prize has too distinguished a history and is too good a concept to have to endure this sort of hired representation; it’s time for a more gracious face for the organization.
It appears from a cursory examination of the CAP’s forms 990 over at Guidestar (register and sign in for yourself, membership is free) that they certainly could have afforded to provide native son and enfant terrible Harlan Ellison a plane ticket and lodging. It also appears that Marcelle Bergman’s compensation was equal to 1/10th of the endowment amount in 2007; hereafter to be known as Madame Shekelgruber, she had a part-time job of 20 hours a week and received $44,997 for that in 2007. In 2006 and 2005, the compensation for executive-director leadership was significantly less, but that actually misses the point: Paying anything at all for this type of representation is just too, too expensive.
Let’s see if Harlan showcases a new character based on his recent experience with Madame Shekelgruber. Go, Harlan; if anybody can do it, it’s you. And as I’ve been fond of saying lately, “Welcome to Cleveland; now go home.”