KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A report has recommended that Kansas City overhaul the leadership for its jazz museum, but the institution’s executive director refuses to step down.

The Museum Management Consultants released an assessment Monday saying the American Jazz Museum is plagued by financial mismanagement, city politics and an ineffective board that lacks fundraising skills, the Kansas City Star reported . The museum experienced more than $1 million in losses last year.

The 21-year-old museum was already fixing many issues outlined in the report, said Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the museum’s executive director. Museum officials are hiring a new finance director and upgrading management software, she said.

“I think we have made significant progress,” Kositany-Buckner said. “We are truly stabilizing the museum from a financial management standpoint.”

Kansas City owns the museum and provides nearly a third of its $2.6 million annual budget. City officials expected the museum to eventually wean itself off taxpayer funding. But the museum took in only $300,000 last year.

The report said the music history attraction lacks a sophisticated fundraising operation, and donor contributions haven’t significantly grown over the last seven years. The assessment recommended reducing the 23-member board and replacing members with individuals who have successful fundraising experience.

The city’s corporate and civic leadership haven’t supported the American Jazz Museum, said Anita Maltbia, museum board chair.

Mayor Sly James said the museum’s leadership needs to show how it merits more private support.

“In order to get that support you have to have a product people can buy into,” he said. “They have to be cultivated and engaged.”

The museum has 15 days to respond to the report. The city’s current operating agreement with the nonprofit expires April 30.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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