The black board of the Museum of fine arts, Montreal

Le tableau noir du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Photo: Pedro Ruiz The Duty
The offer made to the flamboyant executive director and chief curator of the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM) has been perceived as a form of trusteeship by the interested main.

By filing on July 10, an offer of” amendment to contract “of Nathalie Bondil, the chairman of the board of directors of the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (MBAM) hoped to” promote a harmonious transition of tasks ” by the end of his mandate next June. The sequence of events was slightly more tumultuous.

The offer made to the flamboyant executive director and chief curator of the MMFA has been perceived as a form of trusteeship by the interested main. And instead of easing the tensions between Ms. Bondil and the C. A., the proposal is, on the contrary, become the trigger of a major crisis that, in the opinion of the philanthropist Pierre Bourgie, “weakens” the Museum today.

“The situation is extremely worrying,” says Manon Gauthier, executive director of the new Foundation Riopelle, who is in discussion with the MUSEUM for the creation of a “wing Riopelle” in the Museum. This is a project of some 20 million (co-financed by Quebec) who was always in the discussion… and could now be in question, suggests Ms. Gauthier.

“What is happening [at the MUSEUM] is not a reassuring message for the partners and the donors, which we are. […] We don’t want to interfere in the internal affairs of the Museum. But there is concern it is a major concern of the governance issues that the situation raises. “

Ce text is part of our “Outlook” section.

Ms. Gauthier speaks of a situation ” untenable “, which will have to be rapidly thinning. “Time is of the essence for us,” she said, noting, ” we will not postpone the centenary of Riopelle “, foreseen in 2023.

The Foundation Riopelle wants to ” have the clear assurance that the governance of the MMFA is beyond reproach “, and that the C. A. b. “has done good things” to handle the sensitive issue of labour relations — called “toxic” by employees, a word taken over this week by the president of the board of directors, Michel de la Chenelière.

The latter attracts several critics in this case. He overstepped the limits of its mandate, as Nathalie Bondil suggests ? He gave Ms. Bondil the chance to correct elements of his management described as problematic in the diagnostic on the climate of work — a process conducted by an external firm, and the conclusions of which were presented to the C. A. on the 28th of February ? Who is responsible for the table very black projectors media have exploded the varnish this week ?

It is primarily to these questions that will be answered with the independent firm which will be mandated by the quebec government to shed light on the ins and outs of this crisis.

The minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, was awarded Thursday with the assurance that the C. A. will work with this approach. To convince him, she had recalled that Quebec is the main bâilleur of the funds of the Museum… and that the legislature may well decide to strengthen the Law to the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, in view of the “accountability” that she has, in her opinion.

Bondil supported

Since the first revelations of the Duty on what was initially an internal crisis at the MMFA, Nathalie Bondil has received widespread support — it is activated energetically behind the scenes.

Quebec political figures have expressed their support (in particular Monique Jérôme-Forget, Louise Harel, Denis Coderre, and… the minister of Roy, in the early hours). Several hundred members of the Museum have signed a petition launched by a former close collaborator of Ms. Bondil, who was in the management committee of the Museum. They demand the holding of an extraordinary meeting, forcing the C. A. to explain the situation.

A demonstration pro-Bondil must also stand in front of the MUSEUM this weekend.

Two specialist media have reported the remarks of several of the directors, and directors of French museums, unanimous in decrying the decision of the MMFA and to express their unconditional support to Nathalie Bondil.

A output that has surprised the Société des musées du Québec. “It seems to me risky to take a position when you don’t know the ins and outs of a folder “, said Friday the director general, Stéphane Chagnon. Who prefers to wait to see it more clearly, before deciding the directions of the major museums in quebec will also hold to this line.

What is harassment ?

Nathalie Bondil says she was fired for criticizing the selection process that led to the hiring of Mary-Dailey Desmarais — member of a family highly influential in the MBAM — and as director of conservation. This post has been created to ease the tasks of Ms. Bondil, in follow up to the recommendations made by the firm that conducted the diagnostic on the climate of work.

But the C. A. reiterated Wednesday that ” the reasons for the departure of Ms. Bondil, essentially, are its inflexibility and its denial in respect of several findings and conclusions, yet without calling on the independent report on the problems of the working climate “.

However, this question of the relations of work — which remains, until proof to the contrary, the official reason of the dismissal of Ms. Bondil — is for the most part, discharged from the speeches of support for the former d. g. which comes as no surprise to many Jean-Pierre Brun, the founder of what has become the Centre of expertise in the management of health and safety the work of the University Laval.

“It is very common, where there is a presumption of harassment [psychological work], that we respond : “But it is a person’s super-effective !”, he said. However, it must not confuse performance and behaviour human : what [the signatories of a letter of support to Ms. Bondil] have pointed out, it is his performance to promote the Museum. They are surprised by his dismissal. But they do know absolutely not, if it is harassment. Their point of view, in my opinion, is absolutely not credible on that. “

Other well-known specialist of the issue of psychological harassment in the workplace, the sociologist Angelo Soares (UQAM) speaks of a ” halo effect. “It combines two characteristics which are not related. For example : because someone is deemed to be in the middle, it is a celebrity, so he does a good job, and it must be a good manager. “

But “it is a mistake,” he said. I can be a great teacher, but it is not self-evident that I have the skills in human resources management that will allow me to avoid the harassment.”

Without commenting on the case of Ms. Bondil — too many details are to be clarified — Mr. Soares reminded that in Quebec, the legislative framework around the psychological harassment in the workplace (which exists since 2004) puts the responsibility on the business owners. “Close eyes on the actions [the prohibited], it is as problematic as doing it yourself. The law says : the employer is responsible for ensuring a work environment free of harassment. “

Diagnosis mystery

Minister Roy was surprised Thursday that the C. A. has refused to transmit to the government the report on the diagnosis of the work climate. Director general of the College of human resources advisors, Manon Poirier points out that this kind of report is only distributed to those who ordered it — so the board of directors in this case.

Except that you also need to pass the information to those who have participated in the process, or who are affected by it, ” said Ms. Poirier. “We do not reveal the entire report, which is confidential. But it must go back to the people, present the conclusions, the recommendations. “Nathalie Bondil has been the presentation, but not the employees’ union, according to our information.

According to Manon Poirier, “diagnosis is a good tool of prevention when there is a problem” of harassment. “We use it to go see what’s happening,” she said.

However, in this folder, it remains just to clarify what happened to a fruitful relationship for 13 years ends so abruptly between Nathalie Bondil and the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Manon Gauthier, the Fondation Riopelle, waits for those answers forward.

“The success of external institution cannot ignore what is happening internally, she says. It takes a governance [C. A.] and management [by the executive] unshakeable. “

“I don’t doubt the ability of the Museum to recover from this crisis,” says Ms. Gauthier. But there is a sense of urgency that is installed. “

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