March 23 2014
For Immediate ReleaseFormer Board Members File Complaint With CA Attorney General
Berkeley-8 Former Pacifica National Board members from all 5 of the licensed station's signal areas across the country have filed a complaint with the California Attorney General today. The board members request the AG's assistance in investigating the chaotic board takeover of network, help to assure the integrity of the charity and to prevent further reckless actions by the board to destabilize the organization and/or cause the nation's first public radio network to collapse.
The complaint alleges "serious and substantial breaches of duty" by the newly-installed Board of Directors including creating liability, risking uninsurability, preventing access to counsel, and ignoring pending workplace harassment claims. The request for investigation comes from board members who served at various times between 2010 and 2013. The full text of the complaint will be available later today.
In the meantime, disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson confirmed to network employees that the Board of Directors is "having trouble producing minutes". The Board's Secretary has produced no minutes since the 2014 board convened 7 weeks ago. 25+ hours of closed meetings in that period of time remain totally undocumented.
9 sitting members of the Board of Directors issued the following memorandum Sunday evening to ease confusion among the network's employees, vendors and contractors who are unclear who to report to in the standoff between the executive director and a thin majority on the board.
TO: All Pacifica Foundation Radio Employees, Vendors and Contractors
REGARDING: Business Operations
FROM: Pacifica National Board Members Listed Below
DATE: March 23, 2014
In order to minimize confusion and maintain the necessary operations of our network, we Pacifica Board Members (listed below) are writing this note to clarify the current state of affairs:
The Pacifica National Board of Directors has pursued an ill-advised and probably illegal course of action resulting in uncertainty in the direction of the day-to-day operations of the National Office.
The actions have been taken by a bare majority of the Board of Directors without required notice or independent legal input, despite our repeated request for legal and human resource advice. We believe these actions are not binding upon the Foundation.
We regret that the actions above have occurred, despite our strong opposition.
Corrective action will be taken shortly. In the meantime, it is imperative that operations continue as usual via the usual lines of authorization. We ask that you perform your functions as you would have done prior to March 13th in order to protect the assets of the network.
We deeply regret the behavior of some members of the Board of Directors and are concerned about the destructive impact on staff, vendors and the general public. We are committed to maintaining normal business operations and serving the public throughout this episode.
FROM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS: Carolyn Birden, Janet Coleman, Heather Gray, Kim Kaufman, Janet Kobren, Janis Lane-Ewart, George Reiter, Manijeh Saba and Richard Uzzell
A statement in opposition to the board's careless actions can be found here and is gathering signatures from board members, staffers and listeners.
The network's national headquarters remains occupied for the 7th consecutive day.
Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica's storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin's incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-supported radio.