a bad budget

A bit of KPFA financial history:
the Minority Report of September 17, 2005

KPFA's financial crisis results from a decade of bad planning. Here's a report from ten years ago regarding the budget passed by a narrow majority of the Local Station Board in September 2005. The majority on that board was the "KPFA Forward" slate, which later appropriated the name "Save KPFA." Then as now, SaveKPFA represents the status quo group at the station, AKA "the Entrenched Staff." In 2010 it was discovered that members of that same group had left a $375K check in a drawer till it expired -- causing people to wonder if they were really that incompetent, or were perhaps intentionally working to defund the station and break up the Pacifica network.


The Budget presented by the GM and approved 11 in favor and 10 opposed was a split decision.

Those members who voted against the budget did so because of our concerns about:

1. Revenue and fundraising days targets and potential listener fatigue

2. Full Time Equivalent (FTE's) number of employees and salaries and the percent of Listener Support and Total Income that they require - unprecedented high levels.

3. Concern that the station budget model replicates a current pattern of resource allocations and a concern that allocations of the scarce $ resources and considerations about reallocating these scarce dollars somewhat to accommodate things like unpaid staff misc. reimbursements, promotion to increase the listener base by attracting new listeners, and emphasis on meeting requirements of paid staff versus the unpaid programmers and staff who also contribute greatly to the total programming of the station which is what draws our listeners.

The Approved budget appears to contain pork for the paid union staff, on the backs of non-union paid staff AND unpaid staff.

We are inclined to believe the presented and approved Budget to be a staff mandated budget to the GM which was forced on him and is the easy way out rather than considering - realistic Listener revenues without donor fatigue, and addressing other station resource allocation issues and need - other than paid union staff salaries and holding the FTE's. And this same staff continues its campaign to unseat the GM via e-mails to the PNB and the LSB and on the KPFAWorker.org website.

1. The Budget includes raises for the CWA Union Staff but NO raises for the NON-Union staff of 4 Managers (PD is vacant) and 3 clerical Administrative employees. There is a contingency for Paid Union staff ($39K) because the CWA union contract is currently in re-negotiation as it expires on 9/30/05.

2. The Budget makes no effort to reimburse Unpaid Programmers/Staff for their miscellaneous supplies, mileage, bridge tolls and program related incidentals. Unpaid programmers were members of the previous Union (before CWA) and received some health benefits. But they are not in the union now and no such health benefits are received now nor are they proposed. Unpaid Programmers/Staff also raise listener support! (E.G. 1 programmer, Bonnie Faulkner of Guns & Butter estimate her un-reimbursed incidentals @ $1,200/yr and mileage @ $9,120/yr = total $10,320/yr. And this is excluding bridge tolls, parking, phone, DSL internet, etc.) There should be a line item increases of about $50K in the '06 Budget in the Local Travel and Supplies items in the Programming Department. Health benefits would probably add $150K or more to the budget and should be explored for a long term change impacting station resource allocation. The need for unpaid programmers and staff to get their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed was an item present in June when the CFO asked each Treasurer to solicit ideas from each of the LSB's to come up with a "Wish List" of items that would be in a budget if there were funds available. The KPFA Wish List did include out-of-pocket reimbursements for unpaid staff and that document was shared with the GM and the Business Manager in June 05. It is also a frequent refrain heard from time to time.

It is our understanding that Paid Staff (and unpaid staff) ganged up on the GM (who is in a tenuous position anyway with most of the staff, e.g. KPFAWorker.org - and demanded "Their" Budget version on Monday 9/12/05 during 2 staff meetings. (Unfortunately the Business Manager was out ill that day and was unavailable to offer any counterpoint to the staff budget demands.) This staff pressure forced a complete about face from the 9/9/05 Budget version that the GM had proposed to the LSB.

Those LSB members who voted against the Budget on 9/17 were all Listener Reps (10 of them) and included the Treasurer (Tattersall) and the Director (Williams) who both serve on the PNB National Finance Committee. Director F. Saba had a death in the g=family and was absent for the vote - but would have voted against the 9/17 Budget. Those who supported it were all 6 staff LSB members (4 paid union, 2 unpaid programmers) who were joined by 5 Listener Reps including Director Randhawa. The Chair (Palacios) was absent but would probably have voted for the Budget.

One Listener Rep (Nagy) abstained - he was inclined not to support the Budget but preferred to abstain as the "Nay" votes were going to lose anyway.

Those who voted against this Budget on 9/17 believe that the 9/9 Budget Version is a more sustainable model for the Budget and for building the institution - KPFA - on a long term basis in keeping with the Pacifica mission and community radio mandate.


Health Benefits are a very expensive item and are budgeted to increase by 17% $46K from '05's $271K to '06's $317K. Yet it appears that addressing this increase by restructuring Health benefits so that covered employees pay some small portion of their health insurance premiums has not been put on the table. Basically Pacifica Employees do not have to pay anything toward their health insurance benefits - which is highly unusual and an enormous benefit to those who are covered. (Most employees in most organizations do have to pay toward their Health benefits which gives them a small vested interest in the options they select.)

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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.