Monday, August 13, 2012

With fewer than 46 days to go, the Barclays Center still hasn't hired a Community Affairs Manager; nor has there been announcement of "community advisory task force"

Graphic from Barclays Center Employment page
With fewer than 46 days to go before the 9/28/12 opening, the Barclays Center is apparently still trying to hire a Community Affairs Manager, the "arena’s point person on all aspects of community affairs... responsible for attending and representing the Barclays Center at community meetings... managing and implementing community involvement activities including philanthropic initiatives of the Barclays Center and Arena Affiliates."

Graphic from BarclaysCenter.com
I say "apparently" because the job is still advertised on the page for arena employment, and no one from arena operator Forest City Ratner has responded to my query.

Presumably someone will get hired, but the longer it takes, the longer the learning curve. It may not be easy to find the right person, but the lack of such a hire suggests it's less of a priority than other things, such as selling tickets to events.

Community outreach was key, for example, to support for the liquor license for the arena from Community Board 6, which on 5/11/12 requested a "community advisory task force" that "should be appointed and convened without delay." (There's a State Liquor Authority board meeting on the license on August 29.)

An attorney for the arena promised that, "As part of the existing Atlantic Yards District Service Cabinet structure, Forest City Ratner Companies has agreed to a sub-committee on quality of life issues." There's been no public announcement of this sub-committee.

Tasks for the new staffer

According to the job notice (right), the new hire must "[d]evelop a community messaging system to inform the community of upcoming events and their impact" and "respond to community concerns and inquiries."

Until that person is hired, Forest City External Affairs VP Ashley Cotton has said she'd shoulder the responsibilities.

But even Cotton--who said in June that “we have learned that transparency and sharing details as we go is the best policy"--had no comment when questioned about the snag in prepaid parking nor when asked when this new job would be filled.

According to the job notice, the Community Affairs Manager also will "[i]mplement philanthropic initiatives such ticket giveaways," "[w]ork with the Community Benefits Agreement [CBA] signatories in order to fulfill CBA commitments relating to the arena," and develop and maintain the hiring report to indicate where arena workers are from.

In other words, the latter, while presumably a job for the Independent Compliance Monitor required by the CBA, won't be done by that monitor. Then again, that monitor's never been hired.

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