By Jim Higgins
19 March 2019
As the new general director and CEO of the Florentine Opera, Maggey Oplinger leads a local performing arts organization with a long history, but one that’s also recovering from a #MeToo disruption.
Her plan for the future includes “creating a culture where there is zero tolerance for that kind of behavior and where there is a safe buffer zone” for staff and performers to report any allegations, Oplinger said.
Oplinger, who began work March 1, succeeds William Florescu, who resigned abruptly in May 2018. The Florentine board later disclosed that Florescu’s departure was related to “violation of the Florentine Opera’s policies and prohibitions concerning sexual misconduct.” A Washington Post report on sexual harassment in the classical music world included a 2008 incident involving Florescu.
In that incident, the Post reported, the singer felt she had no one she could complain to about the leader of the company.
Drawing on her experience working for Johnson Controls, Oplinger said she will ensure people have multiple channels for reporting transgressions. For example, Johnson Controls made it possible for an employee to report inappropriate contact to any superior staff member the employee felt comfortable with, she said.
The Florentine’s board of directors has a new human resources committee; a leader of that committee will visit with staff regularly, providing another safe outlet for reporting. That committee is also updating the Florentine’s HR policies.
“I think the logistics of how to handle #MeToo are almost more complex than the policies in some way,” Oplinger said, noting that she wouldn’t want to send a person who has just come forward with an allegation back into rehearsal with a person they’ve accused.
Read the full article in the Journal Sentinel.