This coming Sunday (2/28/99) , the Pacifica Governing Board will vote on the following recommendations by the Governance and Structure Committee, to "avoid the risk of losing CPB funding," as referred to in the letter to Pat Scott from Robert Coonrod, which significantly was not included in the package sent to board members, but quoted from selectively, so as to make the threat of losing CPB funds, appear imminent if the following proposal is not approved:
"The Board Governance and Structure Committee met several; times and decided to recommend to the full Board the following::
"1. Change the By-Laws to preclude LAB representatives from serving as directors on the Governing Board.
"2. Have existing LAB representatives either resign from their LABs or resign from the Governing Board.
"3. Re-elect as at-large members those LAB representatives
who elected to resign from their LABs and wish to remain on
the Governing Board.
"The above procedures would (1) allow for an immediate solution with
the smoothest transition. (2) preserve the institutional memory of the
LAB representatives and (3) give LABs an opportunity to gradually adjust
to the new requirement. LABs would still have input to the Governing
Board through the Council of Chairs, and through the right to nominate
to the Governing Board through the Board Governance and Structure Committee."
An unsigned two-page synopsis that did not appear to come from that committee implies, in lawyerly fashion, that there would be dire consequences for Pacifica if it did not immediately approve the recommended change. "In summary," it concludes, "this by-law amendment is being put forth not only because of the legal responsibility to do so, but because it supports the good governance of Pacifica, further aiding the achievement of Pacifica's mission."
KPFA LAB RESOLUTION
Well, tonight, KPFA LAB and the members of the public who attended the
regular LAB meeting, weren't buying
it. After a friendly discussion that eventually included public participation before the balloting, the KPFA LAB voted unanimously to "table [the recommendation] until such time that some representatives of the governing board meet with the
CPB to clarify issues of governance." The use of the word issue in its plural form was intentional as it became clear from the discussion that other questions such as the on-going Pacifica policy of closing all of its board meetings except the last hour of the Finance Committee to the public -- a prima facie violation of the federal regulations and CPB Guidelines -- needed
to be included.
One of the overriding themes of the evening was the present lack of accountability on the part of Pacifica in its current form and the general lack of trust that the non-station representatives on the Governing Board as well as Pacifica staff would "do the right thing."
Little credence was given to a statement in the Board Package from Executive
Director Lynn Chadwick, who did not appear at the meeting, in which she
wrote that: "If we do not pass the by-law change, the second half payment
[of a CPB grant] is at risk." What is extraordinary is the amount
of propaganda in the Board Pack extolling the virtues of the Governance
recommendation and warning of the consequences should the board not pass it. What is not extraordinary was the absence of any argument against it.
Fortunately, the KPFA LAB's BS detector was up to speed. There is not a single shred of evidence in the Board Package to substantiate either Chadwick's position or that of Chair Mary Francis Berry. That the full letter from Coonrod was not given to the local board members was a clear indication of that. Fortunately, I made a number of copies of the letter and gave one to each board member.
About 25-30 members of the public crowded in to the station's
music room, and it was quickly SRO. All the members of the public who spoke,
including several TBKers, made good points, but perhaps the most illuminating
for the board, was Bill Mandel's reminding everyone there that when KPFA/Pacifica
was doing its most vital programming there was no money
from CPB, that CPB did not even exist, and that while receiving the CPB money was very nice, if necessary, Pacifica could live without it.