Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Post Office Pavilion says Founders’ planners 'behind the eight ball' from the start

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

The Student Government submitted the contract for the Founders’ Day Ball later than recommended by the Post Office Pavilion, according to a member of the pavilion’s staff.

The pavilion recommends that contracts be submitted no later than 30 to 45 days in advance, according to Rodney Dyer, general manager of the pavilion.

Jarrod MacNeil, programs adviser at Student Activities, who has been working with the Student Government on the Founders’ Day Ball, said that contract negotiations were on track in late January, when Dyer intervened and added a previously unknown step.

MacNeil was unable to answer why contractual talks were left until so late, though he said Martin had been working since early fall semester on planning the Ball. He said contractual delays and snow were partly to blame for the postponement.

“You try to do everything as far in advance as you can,” he said. “It’s a combination of both [the snowstorm and unplanned delay]. The university was shut down, where we may have been able to do some last minute negotiations … the snow negated this from happening.”

Martin and MacNeil visited the pavilion on Jan. 15 to ensure that the venue was adequate for the Ball. While touring the facilities, Dyer informed Martin and MacNeil that due to a past incident with other universities there was an application process as well as a $500 application fee.

“This was news to both [Martin] and I,” MacNeil said.

MacNeil asked why Dyer had not informed them of this earlier and Dyer responded that he had been unaware that they were a college in the D.C. area.

The application and fee were delivered to the pavilion either Jan. 19 or 20, according to MacNeil. He then spoke with Dyer that day. Dyer said it would take two weeks at the most to process the application, MacNeil said.

After letting approximately one week go by to allow the pavilion staff to process the forms, Martin continually attempted to contact the pavilion but Dyer was never successfully reached, according to MacNeil.

“I’m surprised you got in touch with [Dyer],” MacNeil said. “Since the application he has not spoken with [Martin].”

Dyer said that from the beginning of his contact with Martin and MacNeil they were aware that time was low.

“They were already behind the eight ball when they submitted the contract,” he said. “I said I would try to get it through but there was no guarantee to get it in on time.”

MacNeil said that after the contractual problems, the snowstorms and logistical issues, Prescott, Martin and others involved decided that it was better to postpone the event.

“We came to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be the event that AU was used to,” he said. “We wanted it to be done right.”

Previously, SG Vice President Prescott and Director of the Founders’ Day Ball Jacque Martin had said that the pavilion had missed their two-week timeframe to approve the contract. Dyer said that he had told members of the SG that he would try to expedite the process, but that no guarantees were given.

“Even without the snowstorm, they were already in a situation where they were extremely low on time,” Dyer said. “If you don’t [submit the contract early] there is a good chance we won’t get back to you.”

Prescott stressed in an interview earlier this week that even had a venue been secured, the snowstorm would have prevented necessary shipments of materials for the dance.

“It’s not just one or the other,” Prescott told The Eagle previously. “If we had the venue OK’d and the snow still hit and postponed all the orders, we couldn’t have held it at the Post Office Pavilion anyway because we would have had it in an empty room.”

The pavilion’s claim that planners of the Ball were behind schedule contradicts earlier statements from both Martin and Prescott.

“We were told two weeks tops [by the pavilion] for this review process,” Martin said previously. “Our timeline was what we thought was good for what we were doing.”

MacNeil said that Martin is hardworking and competent.

“I was commending her to my staff, saying ‘she’s on point, she’s on the ball,’” he said. “[Martin] was doing a really good job to do her best to get it done.”

More on this story as it develops.

You can reach this staff writer at cszold@theeagleonline.com.


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