Show Me Center executive director, assistant director leave

Thursday, February 16, 2012
A fan spreads their arms out as The Afters perform in January 2011 during the Rock and Worship Roadshow 2011 tour at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. A crowd of 5,614 people attended the show. (Laura Simon)

David Ross, the only executive director the Show Me Center has ever known, is out after 25 years at the helm. Also gone is assistant director Greg Talbut, who also has worked at the facility since it opened in 1987.

Specifics were sparse late Wednesday, and Southeast Missouri State University spokeswoman Ann Hayes would only confirm that a news release was forthcoming today.

A Show Me Center employee said that Ross and Talbut were no longer with the Show Me Center and that Bob Cerchio, assistant director of the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, has assumed the management duties. Whether that is on an interim basis or permanent was not confirmed.

Troy Vaughn, a member of the Show Me Center Board of Managers, confirmed Wednesday that he knew that both men were no longer employed by the facility, where Ross helped shepherd in acts ranging from its first -- Bob Hope -- to its most recent, Eric Church.

"Both had an opportunity to leave, and both had an opportunity to retire," said Vaughn, also the university's recreation director. "From what I can tell you and what I know, they took early retirement."

Vaughn said the news caught him a bit off guard.

"But sure, you're surprised," he said. "It kind of came out of nowhere."

Ross did not return repeated calls to his cellphone Wednesday. Talbut declined to comment pending the release of the university's statement.

The news came Wednesday, a little more than a week after a university audit for 2010, 2009 and 2008 was released by State Auditor Tom Schweich that showed that the university lacks adequate support for the rates charged for use of university facilities, naming the Show Me Center and University Center, and the rates charged may be insufficient to cover the costs. Schweich's audit report stated the rental charges for spaces at the Show Me Center are checked by university officials to make sure the rates are comparable to similar entities, but related personnel costs, janitorial services and other costs are not considered when setting the rates.

The audit also found $1,908 in Show Me Center concession sales receipts are missing.

The university responded in the audit that it plans to review rental rates as part of this year's budget development process, and that better internal controls for cash handling and receipts were developed. According to the audit, the $1,908 is missing because of one day of receipts and money that could not be located in September 2009. The audit does not state if anyone was assigned responsibility for the missing money and receipts but does say that because several employees handled money and the university did not require acknowledgment of receipt amounts, the Show Me Center had difficulty determining which employee was responsible.

Hayes said in an emailed response to a request to speak to university president Dr. Ken Dobbins regarding management changes that he was sick Wednesday and that the university's vice president of finance and administration, Kathy Mangels, was in meetings the rest of the day and would not be available. Hayes said Dobbins or Mangels may be able to speak today following the issue of the news release.

The Show Me Center was built after Cape Girardeau voters in 1983 approved $5 million in general revenue bonds toward a total $13.5 million in construction costs, according to city finance director John Richbourg. Receipts from the collection of the city's hotel-motel tax paid off those 20-year bonds in 2004.

Ross came to the Show Me Center from his job as the assistant director of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Arena. While he was at the Show Me Center he also served as the president of the International Association of Assembly Managers.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent addresses:

1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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