On Friday, David Bunce
was appointed interim director at the New York State Theatre Institute after Patricia Snyder took a temporary leave of absence from the youth theater. Bunce
has been with the company for 26 years, mostly as an actor. He recently directed his first play for NYSTI
and is the company's fight choreographer.On the plus side - Bunce
is a talented guy and a person who knows the culture at NYSTI
. He's smart, personable and will present a fresh new face to represent the organization. And, he can step in without having to reinvent the wheel. Bunce
loves film at least as much as he loves theater, which tells me he's a story-teller. NYSTI's
function is to tell stories.
If Patricia Snyder had been suddenly taken ill and forced to be away for 3-6 months, Bunch would be an ideal choice as interim director. Indeed, if he were to become permanent head of NYSTI
, he has the potential to be a good leader for the organization.
The problem is - as I've stated before - the situation is not about finding the perfect interim replacement. The governor wants Snyder out of NYSTI
permanently. By taking a temporary leave she is running the risk of snubbing the governor. That snub will offer him no recourse but to close NYSTI
to achieve his goal. By appointing Bunce,
it looks as if she's picked a surrogate not a replacement. It's a bad message to be sending at this time. The better choice would have been someone from outside the organization.
Snyder's temporary resignation came after the release of a damning IG
report accusing her of mismanagement and misuse of the company's funds. Governor David Paterson asked the board to fire her and hinted that if the board didn't fire her he would remove the board. He's already appointed one new board member and has the ability to appoint more. If he gets enough of his people on the board they will fire Snyder. If not, he will withhold funding and NYSTI
goes out of business.
The suspicion is Governor Paterson
doesn't want NYSTI
to go out of business. But he doesn't want NYSTI
to survive with Snyder at its head. And her actions indicate she will return when things calm down. The problem is with her appearing to be standing in the wings, things aren't going to calm down.
It's all very unfair. Patricia Snyder did some marvelous things for the community through NYSTI
. She deserves to be able to answer the IG
report and redeem her name. That said, the Institute is better off if she defends herself without appearing as if she is still running things from behind the scenes.
It's time for a divorce, not a trial separation