Monday, October 21, 2013

If Barclays Center has been overstaffed, how many jobs have been cut? Also, is arena General Manager Anderson gone?

The Wall Street Journal, in an article Saturday about how Barclays Center profits lag, quoted Forest City executives as saying "high expenses also stemmed from over-staffing events."

That's been a consistent statement "We now know how the building behaves, we know how to staff it more efficiently," arena/Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in a 9/20/13 TV interview. "It takes 12 months to understand really the dynamics of the building. We are looking for anywhere between 15% and 20% worth of cost savings for next year."

"Staffing is a big way we can do it," Yormark said. "Because we overstaffed, both on the full-time and part-time.... 80% of people are coming in from the front entrance. So to have staffing levels at the other entrances, we do not need that anymore. We can deploy that staff to the front entrance."

So, as I wrote, that raises questions about how many of the widely touted 2000 jobs, some 1900 of them part-time, would be kept. When are they going to stop saying "2000 jobs"? Or, if they keep saying "2000 jobs," they should be asked about the average weekly hours worked.

A departure at the top?

Also, evidence suggests that the arena General Manager, David Anderson--who himself stepped in to replace his hastily-departing predecessor--has left the building.

As I reported in June 2012, Forest City External Affairs VP Ashley Cotton said “we wanted to mention that the [arena] General Manager, John Sparks, has decided to relocate with his family, and has left New York and Barclays Center." David Anderson, who was previously heading the “front of the house” for arena operator AEG, has replaced him.

That was an odd departure--why wouldn't a veteran arena manager stick around to open such a highly-anticipated building just three months later? It hinted at tensions between Sparks and arena management.

Now, Anderson's LinkedIn profile says he's been serving as the Los Angeles-based Regional Director of Facilities for AEG since October.

The LinkedIn profile also suggests he's still serving as VP of Guest/Event Services for the Barclays Center. If so, he's doing it from afar--multiple sources have indicated to me that Anderson has left town.

I contacted him with queries, but he didn't respond. I didn't try arena managers, but they generally don't answer my questions.

If Anderson is gone, then Barclays Center management likely has become the responsibility of multiple people, including Assistant General Manager Raul Gutierrez, whose LinkedIn profile says he's responsible "for the Events, Box Office, Security & Guest Services departments," and Steve Rosebrook, whose profile says he's VP, Operations.

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