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8 Of 77 Minnesota Orchestra Board Members Resign

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eight of the 77 members on the Minnesota Orchestral Association Board have resigned after CEO Michael Henson stepped down last week, with at least one person questioning the manner in which Henson's departure was handled.

Henson's stormy tenure included a labor dispute and 16-month lockout. He'll leave in August as part of a negotiated package approved by a divided board March 20, three weeks after board members voted 40-8 to support him.

"I may never know the real story of how the Board got from a strong vote of confidence for Henson on February 28th to showing him the door on March 20th," John P. Whaley wrote in a letter to board chairman Gordon Sprenger.

Also resigning was Teri E. Popp, a Wayzata attorney. She said encouraging Henson to step down after he'd worked so hard to keep the orchestra afloat sends the wrong message to future applicants.

Sprenger said he was disappointed to receive any resignation.

"These directors have all been very dedicated members of the board," he said in a statement. "I hope we are able to get some to reconsider, but I respect their opinions and decisions."

Henson and two other former board leaders were criticized when they sought to cut musician compensation by 30 percent. The final deal reduced salaries 15 percent in the first year, followed by increases in the second and third years.

Save Our Symphony Minnesota, a community group formed during the lockout, said it supported the board decision regarding Henson.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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