University announces retirement of Show Me Center director

Friday, February 17, 2012
David Ross

Southeast Missouri State University announced the retirement of longtime Show Me Center director David Ross and assistant director Greg Talbut on Thursday.

According a university news release, Ross' retirement is effective May 31 and assistant director of the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts at the River Campus, Bob Cerchio, will serve as interim director while a national search for a new director is conducted.

Ross served as director of the Show Me Center since its opening in 1987 and is a former president of the International Association of Public Assembly Managers, a global association of public and private facility managers.

The university confirmed Thursday that Ross and Talbut are no longer serving in their positions and are using accumulated paid leave time. Talbut's official retirement date is April 24, according to Kathy Mangels, the university's vice president of finance and administration. She said both decided to take the option of using their paid leave, as many employees of the university do just before retirement.

Neither Ross' nor Talbot's departure from the Show Me Center is related to an audit of the university released last week by Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, Mangels said. The audit, covering 2010, 2009 and 2008, showed 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. Mangels said it was the university that brought those items up to auditors and didn't affect the retirements.

"Their retirement decision was their decision," she said. She added that the university has been working to improve procedures within the Show Me Center.

Mangels said the national search for a new director for the Show Me Center will take several months, including the time it could take for the new director to relocate if necessary, but that she anticipates a hiring decision could be made by early summer.

The multiple uses of the Show Me Center, like sporting events, concerts and community events, will continue, Mangels said. She said she also does not anticipate any further staff changes.

"David shared with Bob before he left," Mangels said. "It will be the same combination it has always been."

Before coming to Southeast Missouri State University, Cerchio managed a performance hall and an arena simultaneously for Southern Illinois University, Mangels said.

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. Those bonds were paid off in 2004.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

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1313 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

One University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO

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