Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Auditor's Management Letter to Pacifica Board Demands Accountability

Berkeley-Armanino McKenna, the auditing firn which recently delayed Pacifica's 2013 audit due to the inability or unwillingess of Berkeley station KPFA to provide reconciled accounting records, issued a management letter to the Board of Directors. In it, they observed that "the communications process and governance structure relating to individual... divisons and the national office appears less than optimal. The overall success of the Foundation requires a collaborative operating mechanism between the national office and the individual stations. This was particularly in evidence with regard to the general lack of responsiveness during the audit from certain divisons in response to document requests from the national office".

The management letter also cited several of the Pacifica stations for lack of appropriate segregation of duties and for failing to reconcile their accounting records.  The auditing firm stated that "an environment must be fostered of accountability. This includes documentation of key controls. training for finance personnel, and the implementation of systems of accountability and consequences for failure to comply with prescribed controls".

In a heartfelt appeal, KPFA local station board member Samsarah Morgan, elected in 2012, wrote: "We, the community, are the burnt out parents. And the danger here is that we are tempted to shut down and turn away; and if we do this we risk losing a vital resource. We must not turn our backs – we must not allow the other side’s noise to cause us to turn away from the injustices taking place in our back yard and across our country. This is not a case of two factions who need to “learn how to get along.”  This is a call to community action".  The full text of Morgan's essay - "Circles of Dysfunction - How The Messenger is Slain" can be found here.

A video interview with Reese shot on March 31, 2014 at the Pacifica headquarters can be seen here.

The lawsuit filed by several current members of the Board of Directors requesting injunctive relief has not yet been posted on the Alameda County Courts website. As soon as it appears, we'll provide a link to the documentation.

Fraudulent letterhead has returned in a somewhat tardy formal letter of termination slipped under the door of 1925 Martin Luther King Jr Way. The ad-hoc letterhead with the wrong logo and an incorrect phone number for the Pacifica headquarters, was formerly used in an aborted attempt to cancel the alarm codes for all of the national office employees. On April Fool's Day, it was used again by alleged board chair Margy Wilkinson in a letter to Executive Director Summer Reese which informed Reese of her much-rumored termination by the board. A copy of the fake letterhead can be found here.

For a comic interlude, 1925 MLK Way was serenaded on April 1st by a demented cheerleader for the board majority. His odd performance was captured on video until irritated neighbors asked for the disturbance to stop.

An open letter to the Board objecting to the breach of the Executive Director's contract signed by hundreds of staffers, volunteers and listeners across the country can be found here.

A copy of a complaint filed with the CA Attorney General by 8 former members of the national board can be found here.

Disputed chair Margy Wilkinson is reported to have said with regard to Reese's attempted firing; "it isn't illegal until someone says it is".

Reese has continued to report to work at the national headquarters since March 17th.


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.

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