The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will review its governance

There will be a legacy to the saga caused by the dismissal of Nathalie Bondil at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA): the governance and management structure of the museum will be reviewed “in depth”, announced Thursday the board of administration of the institution.

She is the former director of Duty and president of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Lise Bissonnette, who will lead this project with Pierre A. Raymond, who worked for a long time at the law firm Stikeman – and who has a long experience of boards of directors.

“The exercise to be undertaken aims to update and optimize the governance and management structure of the museum to make it more efficient and better suited” to the needs of employees, public funders, donors and members, argues a press release issued by the MMFA.

The new chairman of the board, Pierre Bourgie, speaks of an “important step in the history” of the MMFA.

What the board calls the “governance structure” is made up of two pieces of legislation: the MMFA Act and the Museum’s General Administration Regulations. However, both date from the early 1970s. And since then, “operations have grown significantly. The cultural, social, economic and financial context has evolved a lot and the framework of the museum must reflect this transformation “, it is mentioned.

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The council’s approach parallels that of the Quebec government, which on September 24 promised to “review the MMFA Act.” The Minister of Culture, Nathalie Roy, had just received the report of an expert she had mandated precisely to study the issue of governance of the museum.

“It is very clear from the report that there is a governance problem at the MMFA and that we do not have the best possible practices,” Ms. Roy summed up. Duty. “As responsible minister – we give 16 million per year – it is imperative to make corrections. “

Daniel Beaupré’s report indeed recommended a modernization of the institution’s governance structure. He noted that the crisis that has shaken the MMFA since the month of July has highlighted “inconsistencies, misunderstandings and imprecision as regards the elements of law and regulations”, and spoke of “considerable misunderstandings” as regards the role and responsibilities of each other.

“By leading this reflection, the Museum assures the Ministry of Culture of its best collaboration in exploring areas for reform to be favored,” said the press release released Thursday by the MMFA.

The work of Ms. Bissonnette and Mr. Raymond “will include an analysis of the Beaupré report, among other things. The council also indicates that the two consultants – who will work on a voluntary basis – will examine the “need to update the terms of accountability aimed at ensuring sound management of public funds granted to the Museum and best practices in terms of supervision. regulatory and governance structure of comparable museum institutions in North America. “

Fired in July, Nathalie Bondil was Director General and Chief Curator of the MMFA. The board of directors justified her dismissal by the “toxicity” of the working climate at the museum and the “refusal” of Ms. Bondil to fully recognize this situation.

In a two-million-dollar lawsuit she has since filed against the Board of the Museum of Fine Arts, Ms. Bondil instead alleges that she was fired because of her “refusal to publicly endorse the irregular process that led to the hiring of MMFA Curatorial Director, ”Mary-Dailey Desmarais.

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