Constantine board makes progress on some issues, deadlocked on others

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
The Constantine Theater, one of Pawhuska’s prized civic assets, stands at 110 W. Main St.

The Constantine Arts Council board, reconstituted in late February with members of two different factions included, remained deadlocked in a Nov. 16 meeting over the smallest of things -- for instance, trying to define a quorum for purposes of doing business.

There were also unhappy exchanges regarding city government's role in defining the rules under which the Constantine Theater and the arts council operate. City government owns the building and pays the utilities, but arts council member Jerry Mosley took issue with the notion that City Attorney John Heskett might be considered an expert on the subject of the rules by which the arts council operates.

"Mr. Heskett does not control this board," Mosley said during a conversation about procedural issues.

All of that notwithstanding, the Constantine board did manage Nov. 16 to muster clear, majority votes on multiple issues.

Members of the two factions on the board -- an "older board" faction made up of volunteers who have managed the theater for years, and a "newer board" faction that wants to take a more aggressive approach to using the building and generating revenue -- voted together on questions such as a technology goods purchase, and the creation of a committee to explore options for the storage of stage costumes.

Perhaps the unhappiest moment of the meeting came when Jesse Worten III, a lawyer who has provided representation in regard to the Constantine Theater, became angry at Board President Brian Jeffers for having asked fellow board members about the source  of legal advice on which they had relied.

"I'm tired of my name being bandied around here," Worten said, raising his voice at Jeffers.

Toward the end of the Nov. 16 meeting, Mosley talked about his hopes that efforts to hire a manager for the theater can be included on a December meeting agenda.

"We need to hire a manager that knows this business and is qualified to do it," he said.