Static at BNN

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  July 16, 2010

These concerns are circulating throughout City Hall, where this past month District 7 Councilor Chuck Turner formally requested that the mayor's office answer more than 50 questions regarding BNN, including: "How many full/part time staff have resigned or been fired in the last two years?"; "Who performs the performance review of the general manager?"; and "What were the itemized expenses of the 25 Anniversary program?" Though the law requires a response within a week, the mayor's Office of Cable Communications, which oversees BNN from a distance, has been silent on the matter for nearly a month, and declined to comment for this article.

Former part-time IT coordinator Lane Bourn, who was laid off this past December after bumping heads with Henderson, suggests that little will change unless the BNN board — or the mayor, who can ultimately force hands — demands movement. Despite an annual operating budget of about $2.6 million in FY09 — more than $1 million more than the network had five years ago — BNN has less than half as much manpower. That is the direct result, some say, of a delinquent general manager who seemingly answers only to himself.

"Everything was micromanaged or second-guessed, and it was extremely hard to get management to pay attention," says Bourn, who worked at BNN for three years with no raise or benefits. "[Henderson] wouldn't even look at some people when he walked by them in the hallways. When I got laid off, he spelled my name wrong on the sayonara letter."

Chris Faraone can be reached at cfaraone@phx.com.

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