A coup? or what? at Pacifica Radio

Summer Reese, the Executive Director of Pacifica Radio, was suddenly fired on March 13th. What is going on here?


by Bill Crosier, former PNB vice-chair and representative from KPFT, 90.1 FM Houston
March 16, 2014

The manner in which the majority of the Pacifica Nation Board (PNB) has been ramming through actions lately, disregarding process and democratic procedures and their fiduciary duties, and culminating with their vote to suddenly terminate the Executive Director Thursday night after she successfully avoided yet another lawsuit (by paying the rest of the severance for laid-off WBAI employees), has me wondering about their leadership and why they were elected by the new majority faction on the PNB. Would any of you on these lists like to help guess at the answers to these questions:

Why were the three people on the PNB with perhaps the most questionable credentials elected as officers? Are these the kinds of people we want in leadership positions for Pacifica?

Here are some specific questions about the officers:

* Wasn't Margy Wilkinson admonished by a court for neglecting her fiduciary duties by helping her so-called "Save KPFA" organization to collect and hold hostage pledges that were intended for her station KPFA?

* Why is Ms. Wilkinson calling herself "Chair" of the PNB, when there is a clear challenge to the legitimacy of the chair election (thus making her more of a chair pro tem), as the ballots were not tabulated in accordance with the election instructions?

* Why are she and the others of her faction delaying a re-do of the chair election?

* Is it true what I've hear about Cerene Roberts, who was elected Secretary of the PNB, that she has been banned from her station (WBAI) by several different managers over the years for violence, assaults, and threats of violence? This is not very seemly for a Pacifican. Also, why has she not produced any minutes of any of the meetings of the PNB since the new board members were seated and elected her as secretary? I count eight days of public meetings (including four at the in-person meeting in DC), and I haven't seen any minutes for any of them.

* Why did Tony Norman, representative from WPFW, tell the PNB in January, when running for the vice chair position on the PNB, that he had resigned from his elected position on the DC Advisory Board to the Neighborhood Commissioner? A check by other board members found he did not resign until they asked the ANC about this on Mar. 12. Is he (and the other officers) not familiar with the Pacifica Bylaws requirements that say "A Director shall be deemed to have resigned the position of Director if s/he becomes a candidate for public office or accepts a political appointment during his or her term as a Director", and which further clarifies that this provision applies to any "person who holds any elected or appointed public office at any level of government -- federal, state, or local -- or is a candidate for such office". Why would he have said he had resigned from his elected position on the ANC when he had not done so, and that it's clear he should never have been eligible to be on his LSB nor PNB after his ANC election?

Here are some more general questions for Pacifica's Rogue Officers' Corps:

* Is it true that they pushed to re-hire the CFO who was let go at the end of his probationary period, after failing to provide adequate financial reports and oversight of financial matters?

* Is it true that some of these financial matters include the failure of the KPFA Business Manager to reconcile KPFA's books since Sep. 2012, thus delaying yet again another audit?

* Why did the CFO fail to get that done?

* Is embezzlement or other financial malfeasance going on at KPFA that they're trying to cover up, or just padding of the payroll? Without reconciled books, it's difficult to even do an audit, much less look for whatever people may be trying to hide. Is there any reasonable excuse why it would take so long to get the books in order?

And some more questions specifically about the meeting last Thursday, March 13th:

* Why was there such an extreme rush to terminate Pacifica's Executive Director?

* Is it true that even for members of the PNB, that no notice was given for the motion to terminate her? Isn't this a gross violation of Pacifica's Bylaws and Roberts Rules?

* Is it true that even in executive session, there was no reason given to terminate her?

* Why was no discussion and debate allowed on such an important issue, that involves hundreds of thousands of dollars of liability to Pacifica?

* I'm told that potentially, over a million dollars could be at stake because of possible loss of CPB funds. Why was discussion not allowed on such critical matters that were relevant to the termination?

* Why did the PNB leadership repeatedly reject calls for having legal and HR expertise available (not necessarily present through the entire meetings) to advise and answer questions about such important personnel and liability issues? Why would they not even allow questions to be submitted for an HR attorney to answer before the next meeting (if they did not want an attorney present for the entire meeting)?

I've seen some strange things in Pacifica governance, but I'm appalled at what I've seen the current PNB leadership and their followers do recently.

My biggest question is:

With the mad rush to ignore the Pacifica Bylaws and California law, and to terminate the ED with no notice and no reasons given, and with talk from some Directors about sacrificing WBAI to keep from having to sell the buildings and other property of Pacifica stations and to allow deficit spending at those other stations, what's next?

It's pretty scary to think about.

Feel free to forward and re-post.

BILL CROSIER, former PNB vice-chair and representative from KPFT kpft (at) crosierbiomed.com

The Pacifica Radio Network has Five Stations
KPFT 90.1 FM is the Pacifica station in Houston, Texas

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Updates, reports & essays about KPFA & Pacifica Foundation Radio at

KPFA 94.1 FM is one of five stations of the Pacifica radio network which are located in major cities across the country. The other stations are WBAI 99.5 in New York, WPFW 89.3 in Washington DC, KPFT 90.1 in Houston, and KPFK 90.7 in Los Angeles. There are also about 160 affiliate stations.

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