Sunday, February 19, 2017
Berkeley- After a brief interval of being able to conduct business due to the voluntary exit of the remnants of the Siegel/Brazon faction from the February 10 board meeting, the respite ended on Thursday February 16. Four hours of chaos ensued. Despite the able chairing of newly-elected chair Jonathan Alexander, the angry former minority put on a show, displaying their ample ability to interrupt, bully, shout, scream and disrupt. The board took two votes of almost no consequence, one to revote on acceptance of the affiliate director vote tally that includes the votes of WBAI's directors that had been excluded, and one to postpone discussion of a bylaws conflict. Not much for four hours of work. The comparison to the productive meeting on February 10 is striking.
A tentative count (don't quote us on this) over the course of 4 hours and 17 minutes is: 78 points of order, 55 points of information, 38 points of personal privilege and 6 different challenges to the chair. While we would normally try to provide a more extensive summary reel, since it is a little hard to listen to, we are providing a five minute clip, which pretty much sounds like all the other 4 hours and 12 minutes. The full audio is available for streaming or download at kpftx.org. A Mozart sonata would have improved things immensely, but no such luck was to be had.
An executive director report was provided by new interim executive director Bill Crosier, but the national board couldn't be bothered to hear it. You can read it here.
The new board majority will have to re-establish order at the next board meeting, which is currently scheduled for the evening of February 24.
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For open/public session:
I want to be the iED for all of Pacifica, not just one faction. I hope we can all agree that it's critical for the survival of Pacifica and all of our stations, and for our mission, to focus on getting caught up with audits and other regulatory compliance issues as fast as we can, and to stabilize our finances. We cannot keep running deficits year after year, losing listeners and members, and raising less money per fund drive day while making fund drives ever longer, if we're going to survive. Our tax exemptions, both for California and nationally, depend on having current audits. Without our tax exemption, we'd probably lose the licenses of stations below 92 MHz in the part of the FM band reserved for tax exempt nonprofits. And no tax exemption would make it very difficult to raise money and impossible to get grants.
So getting caught up on audits and getting our finances under control are my biggest priorities. But our mission is very important to me and I will not compromise on that.
I had a very good conference call meeting with the GMs and PDs yesterday, and another one planned for tomorrow, with much of the discussion about best to implement the motion passed by the PNB regarding network-wide fundraising for getting the audits going.
In case anyone is wondering, I will not accept any salary as iED, and will stay in people's homes when I'm traveling, whenever possible, in order to minimize expenses to Pacifica.
Per a motion that the PNB approved last Friday, I have hired Sam Agarwal, former CFO, on a consulting basis, until we can rehire him as Chief Financial Officer. I think it's essential to get him on board, so we can identify what we need to get the audits done, including all the preparatory work, and then get that work finished as soon as possible. He has already provided a great deal of help regarding recommendations of what is needed to get the audits going, but we need to make more detailed assessments and determine what resources we need.
Sam is on vacation now but sent me some initial ideas he had regarding recommendations for the FY15 and FY16 audits, and I forwarded them to you. Bear in mind that these are just his initial ideas, and we have not done assessments yet regarding details of what's needed in terms of work that must be completed before the FY15 audit can start, how many accountants or other people we may need to help with that, nor how long it will take.
All we have now are rough estimates, but we should know better in a few weeks. Regarding one item in his recommendations that has alarmed a few of you possible mortgaging of the KPFK property I want to assure you that I have no plans for that, I've heard no one on the PNB talking about doing that. I did not even notice that myself until a couple of people contacted me this afternoon. But we have no plans to mortgage the KPFK building!
I got a call from CPB yesterday, and I followed up with another phone call and email today. They had heard about the change in iED, and wanted to make sure I knew we had compliance issues with CPB. I assured them that I did know, and that one of my top priorities is to get the audits up to date and get in full compliance although we are still assessing what needs to be done, what resources are needed for that, and how long it would take. I asked them to send me whatever notices had been sent, and they said they generally do that through John Crigler (who has been our CPB/FCC attorney for many years).
I had already been in contact with John Crigler (our FCC/CPB attorney) several times this week and forwarded the email response I got from CPB this afternoon, and asked him to send me what he had received. At least one of those was a "CPB CSG Management Determination Letter dated March 28, 2013" and I'll follow up to make sure he can get that to me.
We have almost 100 agreements for affiliate stations that have been waiting for approval for up to several months, and I am working with Ursula Ruedenberg to get those approved as soon as possible. Besides formalizing new and renewal agreements, those are needed for some of the affiliates before they can pay us. We now have about 220 affiliates and that's growing.
I've been working hard on this every day, starting last Saturday. Please understand that I'm getting a lot of phone calls and emails, which I welcome, but understand that I can't get to all of them right away. It's perfectly OK to remind me if you need to talk and I don't get back to you in a day or so. I do appreciate all the suggestions and advice, even if I can't implement all of them by myself or right away.
Some of the good news is I'm hearing from a lot of people who want to help they just want to know what to do. So I'm asking those of you on all of our LSBs to please work with management at your station to harness the energy of volunteers to help with fundraising and getting new listeners and new members. There are thousands of people out on the streets and in demonstrations, upset with what is coming out of the White House and Congress, and we need to let them know that we are there for them that we want to be their voice. Let's work hard to connect with them.
I'm planning a trip to Berkeley for the first part of next week, then to Los Angeles later in the week. I want to meet with staff and board members and other volunteers in each of those locations and not just from one faction or group. Details are being arranged. —Bill Crosier
Saturday, February 18, 2017
From: Berthold Reimers <email@example.com>
Dear esteem LSB members,
I am announcing to you that WBAI has finally raised $20,000.00 in one day of funddrive today. This has not happened since 2012 when we were at 120 Wall Street and Tony Bates was interim Programming Director. This is a big development because this number was continually going down as R Paul Martin articulated when we were discussing the Budget projections last time. Note also that our average per day is $12,192.00 not counting the Gary Null Retreat which is over $5,000.00 as of now.