Isabelle Lemesle Resigns from the Centre des Monuments Nationaux

6/6/12 - Resignation - Centre des Monuments Nationaux - President of the Centre des Monuments Nationaux since 2008 - and re-appointed in 2011 - Isabelle Lemesle has just resigned from her position. In fact, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was imposed on her due to the political change in government.

Isabelle Lemesle had already met with opposition from a large part of the personnel at the CMN as well as the labor unions over the past few years. She was also the subject of a report submitted by the Inspection générale for cultural action, which we have not read (and which was not made public) but which appears to have pinpointed "a method of authoritarian and autocratic government maintained by a climate of mistrust and fear [1]." We had also, from various reliable sources, heard of her behavior as being authoritarian and interventionist. We could, but have never done so, treat this type of information but we would then have to address the cases of certain presidents of public establishments whose behavior is, in a notoriously public way, just as autocratic...

As concerns her policy, we must admit that her vision of the respective responsibility of "maîtrise d’ouvrage" [project ownership] and "maîtrise d’oeuvre" [project management] which she evoked in our broadcast Patrimoine en question(s) seemed particularly pertinent to us. Nor can we deny the fact that she was passionately interested in historical monuments and committed to fighting certain elected officials who compromised too heavily to their local communities, to the point of selling certain buildings managed by the CMN into private hands.
The next president will have to be more flexible in managing the CMN, notably in human resources, without neglecting the essential role this institution plays in the conservation of these monuments but also opening them up to the public.

Version française

Didier Rykner, jeudi 7 juin 2012


[1] Sophie Flouquet, "Tensions au CMN", Le Journal des Arts, n°355, 21 October 2011.

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