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Thoughts on iPNB meeting in Berkeley and summary
From: Carol Spooner
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 13:22:22 -0700
From the Pacifica interim national board meeting June 21-23, 2002, in Berkeley, CA ...
The board selected Dan Coughlin who has been acting Executive Director since January to fill the permanent executive director position. Dan has a tremendously challenging task ahead and will need all of our support.
To my mind the three greatest challenges now facing Pacifica are:
1) To restore the confidence and spirit of the producers, programmers and staffs (paid and unpaid) at our five radio stations ... where nearly a decade of bad management has created toxic work environments, several hundred creative people were fired or left in disgust, co-workers were pitted against each other, unions were busted, racial divides were encouraged to fester, and competition for air time was the norm rather than a collaborative spirit of creative commitment to the purposes of Pacifica. There are many "walking wounded" both inside and outside the stations. To restore staff morale, we will need the patience, insight & skill to bring about forgiveness, reconciliation and some common agreements and vision about how to move forward.
2) To rebuild the decimated financial base of Pacifica. All of Pacifica's reserves are gone ... equipment reserves, program endowments, savings accounts for a rainy day ... all gone. Thanks to the enormous generosity of our listeners the approximately $2.7 million in operating debts we inherited from last year are now paid off. But we do not have enough money in the bank to get through the next fund drive (October). Our controller reported that we will not have the money to meet the payroll in August. Additional fundraising will be necessary. In addition, there remains approximately $1.6 million in disputed "professional services" bills from the last years for the lawyers, PR firms, and private investigators used against us by the former administration. (These professional services bills have been reduced from $2.1 million by a $500,000 payment from Pacifica's insurance.) Negotiations are underway with these alleged creditors in an attempt to avoid further lawsuits.
3) To rise to the demands of this horrific time in our country and our world ... to bring to wider audiences across the country dialogue and the voices of dissent from endless wars abroad and destruction of civil rights and liberties at home that are now openly advocated by US foreign and domestic policies. This will tax our depleted resources and staff ... so we must find new ways of doing things. The 3 national days of programming since January ... with "pinwheels" of productions from each of the five stations have been a good start. First and foremost, however, we must strengthen the programming at all five stations ... look to what engages and informs our listeners, reaches out and touches them, and inspires them care to change the world ... and do more of it. This includes both political affairs and cultural affairs. Sometimes music and poetry can move people to care more than talk. Local programming forms the base of the best national programming (just as Democracy Now! came out of WBAI). We must strengthen our local news departments (since we can no longer afford to produce a national news program) and form partnerships and collaborations with other innovative alternative media ... such as some stations are doing with Free Speech Radio News, Indymedia and independent producers such as TUC, the National Radio Project and others. The greatly weakened Pacifica affiliate system needs to be reinvisioned with a new spirit of common cause with the grassroots radio movement. At one time more than 60 community radio stations across the country carried some Pacifica programming ... that number went way down as they joined the opposition to the old Pacifica and we must now find new ways for Pacifica to participate in the alternative media rennaisance around the country that refuses to conform to the inanity of distractions and "entertainments" and chatter that passes for most of "public radio" (read "government/corporate-sponsored radio") today.
Given those challenges, we must also redefine our governance structure
provide a democratic base of listeners and staff members who can
Pacifica in the future from rogue boards and managers while still
"manageable" and "governable" organization. We will need to build in
and balances that will safeguard not only against the kind of takeover
above we witnessed this past decade, but also safeguard against
from below. The challenge in doing this is to create a governing
that first and
formost exists to preserve and carry out the mission of the Pacifica
Foundation. Brainstorming committees around the country have been
on this for the past three months, and the work continues. For contact
on how to participate go to www.pacifica.org/
Please be as generous as you can be in donations to your local Pacifica station ... don't wait for fund drives ... send checks or go to the web at www.pacifica.org - www.kpfa.org - www.wbai.org - www.kpft.org - www.wpfw.org or www.kpfk.org for mailing addresses or to give on line. Thanks.
On the positive side, our listeners have demonstrated throughout this long fight their commitment to Pacifica's ideals and future. Listeners' groups have formed around the country and are still active. I was tremendously moved and inspired by the deep thought and constructive criticism from listeners around the country who met at the Pacifica Now! conference in San Francisco the week before the board meeting. For papers and reports from the conference go to http://www.newcollegenews.net/pacificanow.html [ some docs also on wbai.net daily notes page ] I hope many more such conferences will occur and that this discussion will continue throughout the Pacifica communities.
I've pasted below for your information the "action items" from this
weekend's interim board meeting. The reports to the board and many of
proposals brought to the meeting will be posted soon at
Finally, on a personal note, I failed the California bar exam last February due to lack of study time, so must take it again the end of July. Please forgive in advance my failure to respond to much email over the next few weeks.
Pacifica means Peace.
"Action Items" from June 21-23 interim Pacifica board meeting. The board & staff person in charge of follow-through are listed by each item. If we left the follow-through people vague, I put Deputy Executive Director Verna Avery-Brown in charge of delegating the matter to a staff person & board Chair Leslie Cagan in charge of delegating the matter to board member(s).
1) Minutes & Reports- Spooner/Avery-Brown January & March in person meeting & February phone conference minutes were approved and are to be posted to www.pacifica.org webpage right away. All reports to the board to be posted on Pacifica web page as well. Motion to approve minutes and post minutes & reports passed unanimously.
2) Archives - Cagan/Avery-Brown Motion to urge national fundraising day be held soon to support the archives. Passed unanimously.
3) Severence Packages - Cagan/Coughlin Board requested a list of managment severence packages showing how much has been paid to whom, how much remains to be paid to whom, and any disputes pending including who and how much.
4) CFO - Cagan/Coughlin Motion to hire part time CFO if capable volunteer not found. $40,000 line-item in budget authorized. CFO need not be in Washington, job can be done by internet/phone/fax with occasional days in the finance office. Passed unanimously.
5) Budgets - Zakiya/Yhasmin Bryant (controller) Budget for July-Sept 2002 - Finance committee to meet in 2 weeks to review 3 month budget July-Sept 2002. Yhasmine to pull those figures together reflecting only actual 4th quarter projected income and expenses. Finance committee to work with managers from each station and department heads to make sure the 4th quarter budget includes only actual projected income and expenses. Budget to include line item for CFO. Stations to give budgets to LABs for review and comment. All to be posted to the web page. Board to meet (by phone) within 3 weeks to approve 4th quarter budget. Motion passed unnamiously
-Income and Expense Report January-June 2002 -
-Budget for fiscal year ending 9/30/03 -
-Motion to include folio as line item in '03 budget. Passed
These last two motions were later clarified (on Sunday) to mean that the board is not passing "unfunded mandates", but setting policy directions with the expectation that stations will look for ways to do training and outreach, for example by seeking grants, adding job responsibilities to existing positions, finding volunteers to run such programs, etc., or by cutting other expenses to pay for them.
6) Democracy Now! contract - Cagan/Coughlin Motion to ratify passed 9-2 (Ferguson and Lee opposed.)
7) Pacifica Personnel Committee - Fertig/Joyce Snowden (human resources manager)
Motion to form a personnel committee consisting of at least one iPNB member and one LAB member from each station area to review and assess and propose revisions to personnel policies. The committee will seek comments and suggestions from all station managers and staff, as well as the LABs. LABs are encouraged to form policy subcommittees. Passed unanimously.
8) Race and Diversity Report - Fertig/Avery-Brown
9) On-Air Policy - Referred to Personnel Committee.
10) What's currently on our air? - Cagan/Avery-Brown
11) WBAI Committee Report
12) Bylaws - Spooner/Avery-Brown
13) Bylaws programming - Spooner/Avery-Brown
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