Berkeley- Former chief financial officer Raul Salvador has reportedly so upset payroll vendor Paychex Inc with daily harassing phone calls and emails, that the East Bay payroll processing firm has pulled the plug on Pacifica's payroll account and is currently refusing to issue payroll checks for the upcoming payroll on May 15th.
The failure of the payroll processing company to issue checks opens up a cascading series of disasters, as the firm automatically processes a variety of deductions and additions, including federal and state taxes, garnishments, union dues, seniority bonuses and pension payments. At least 3 of the 5 Pacifica stations have no full-time bookkeeper on site, even if one person could manually calculate and issue all of the required checks. Payroll failure can be expected to result in new National Labor Relations Board grievances at all 4 unionized units as well as greatly distressing 161 employees who expect to be paid and paid on time.
Salvador's attacks on the payroll vendor follow a series of letters issued on law firm Siegel and Yee's letterhead, first by board member Jose Luis Fuentes and then by Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, both letters implying that the firm was serving as Pacifica's general counsel, although they have not been appointed to that position and have no authority to send letters to the firm's vendors instructing them to do anything. Pacifica has had no general counsel since the resignation of Terry Gross of Gross, Belsky and Alonzo at the end of March.
The ongoing reckless behavior of the board majority, in addition to causing distress and confusion to vendors and employees, who may be faced with delayed compensation from these latest stunts, points to a pattern of risking institutional failure in the pursuit of an agenda of dissolution and the forced sale of one or more units to endow the rest.
A FAQ about the events of the last 90 days can be found here.
The CFO position reports directly to the executive director and to the board of directors. Several PDGG directors tried repeatedly to discuss the possible failure to issue the payroll at the May 8th national board meeting and the ex-CFO and the Siegel law firm's destructive actions, but were not allowed to by the board majority.
Little was accomplished at the 4 hour national board meeting, which largely consisted of another shutdown by the board majority of any meaningful discussion. To briefly summarize: (the open session audio is available here and the closed session audio is not available):
A continuing breach of order point regarding the occupation of the chair position by Margy Wilkinson and refusal to draw lots by the board majority despite the 11-11 tied vote for board chair since February of 2014 was voted down again. KPFA staff rep Brian Edwards-Tiekert attempted to argue that the purported chair's ruling that the point was "dilatory" could not even be discussed. Documents emerging that vice-chair of the board Tony Norman certified falsely that he held no elected public office and was ineligible for Pacifica board service from December of 2010 to March of 2014 were ignored by the board majority.
A motion to compel the distribution to the full board of the certified workplace investigation report on the numerous complaints against the former CFO was moved to closed session, where it was never discussed. Wilkinson hijacked the report on March 17th and has not disclosed its contents to the board of directors nor to the 5 staffers who filed the complaints.
Requests to provide the board with the letter of retainer between the law firm Siegel and Yee and the Pacifica Foundation were refused. Requests to provide the board with any contractual documents signed with a contractor to run the 2014 delegates election were refused.
In the closed session of the board meeting, which again proceeded with no agenda in violation of open meeting requirements, two incorrectly reported motions were corrected in 2-month old meeting minutes and then further corrections were shouted down and the remaining errors in the March 6, 2014 minutes were passed into the record. No other work was conducted.