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Qualifications for local and national
board members at Pacifica?

From: Susan Lee
Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 9:46 AM
Subject: skills and knowledge bases for LSB and PNB service

On Tuesday October 29, the WBAI Bylaws Committee held a discussion about various aspects of the skills and knowedge bases for LSB and PNB service. I'm posting (both pasting and attaching) the handouts I did for this discussion which some people thought I should also put on the list serves so that other areas might also, if they have not already done so, have such a discussion with this handout as a starting point. When the general notes for the meeting are ready, they will be posted.

Susan Lee

Possible Discussion topics:

1) What are the skills and knowledge bases for the LSB and PNB service?

2) What does adherence and/or commitment to the Mission mean?

3) How do we recruit people with a wide enough range of skills?

4) Is there an election method which will enhance the possibilities of getting this range of skills?

5) What if we don't get people with the range of skills? Possible answers:
a) Subcommittees of listeners and staff
b) Appointed seats


Skills and knowledge bases for LSB and PNB service
Susan Lee and Deena Kolbert

1) management skills: can identify problems and solutions within station and national
2) financial
3) legal
4) FCC rules and regulations
5) Technology
6) Fundraising including visioning different types for station
7) Members that can raise money
8) Political: adherence to mission
9) Political: ability to defend the station from external and internal threats
10) Outreach
11) Time to do it
12) Radio knowledge
13) Programming policy
14) Human resource knowledge
15) Union knowledge
16) Real estate: possible new location and dealing with current landlord
17) Archival: station needs;
18) Contracts:
19) Non-profit board or non-profit administration experience
20) Training

Lyn Garry 1-7, Adrienne Lauby 8, just about everybody 9, Andy Norris 10, Susan Lee 11

1) The ability to work in a collaborative process
2) The ability to listen to others and take their concerns seriously
3)The ability to resist the temptation to abuse power or push one's personal agenda at the expense of the whole
4) The ability to admit when one has been wrong, and take steps to make the matter right
5)The guts to stand up to the powers that be in defense of Pacifica
6) The ability to withstand a barrage of input, often criticism, from the community without becoming defensive or overwhelmed
7) The ability to do the work required of the specific position
8) Willingness to put this work 3rd or higher on their priority list.
9) Understanding of, and commitment to, Pacifica's Mission
10) The ability to speak as a lone voice over lengthy periods knowing that someone hears you
11) The ability to ask questions.


Adapted from Anne Gardon's "Strengthening Boards of Nonprofit Organizations"

1) Ability to operate with a view of change as a continuous process.
2) Ability to pilot new initiatives
3) Ability to build upon strengths
4) Ability to foster healthy working relationships



To: Everyone interested
From: Carol Spooner, Secretary, iPNB
Re: iPNB Bylaws Straw Poll votes - Oct. 13-14

The board addressed the following bylaws issues by straw polls during the October 13-14 meetings:

The Local Station Boards shall serve as standing committees of the Board of Directors for their respective station areas.

Board majority approved:
(1) Review and approve station's annual budget & to make quarterly reports to PNB of station's budget vs actual income & expenses.
(2) Station General Managers must be hired by ED from list approved by LSB.
(3) LSB provides annual written evaluation of General Manager
(4) ED can fire (or retain?) General Manager only if LSB approves (otherwise, if LSB wants to fire or retain the GM & ED doesn't, it goes to PNB for approval)
(5) Program Directors must be hired by General Manager from pool developed by LSB
(6) LSB provides annual written evaluation of PD
(7) Work with station management & staff to ensure station policies & procedures for making programming decisions, etc. (KPFA draft language)
(8) To conduct "Town Hall" style meetings at least 2 times a year devoted to hearing listeners' views, needs & concerns
(9) Assist in fundraising activities of the station
(10) form open committees (open to anyone) to carry on the work of the LSB (KPFA draft language)
(11) actively reach out to under-represented communities -- to help the station serve people of all races, creeds, colors, nations, classes, sexual orientation, abilities ... (etc. KPFA draft language, but include sexual orientation/gender language)
(12) Perform community needs assessments, or see to it that a separate "Community Advisory Board" is formed if required by CPB


From "Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards," published by the National Center for Nonprofit Boards, Washington, DC 20036.

• Determine the organization's mission and purposes
• Select the executive staff through an appropriate process
• Provide ongoing support and guidance for the executive; review his/her performance
• Ensure effective organizational planning
• Ensure adequate resources
• Manage resources effectively (the buck stops with them, ultimately)

• Determine and monitor the organization's programs and services
• Enhance the organization's public image
• Serve as a court of appeal
• Assess its own performance


Greater Knoxville Chapter

Your Nonprofit Organization's Board of Directors

Responsibilities of the Board
Your organization's Board of Directors has many important responsibilities. Though they may vary from organization to organization, the following is description of the responsibilities and duties of most boards.
1. Determine the organization's mission and purpose. It is the board's responsibility to create a statement of mission and purpose, and to review it periodically for accuracy and validity. This statement should set out the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served. Each board member should fully understand and support it.
2. Select the organization's chief executive, then appoint, review, and (if necessary) dismiss that individual. The board must also ensure that the chief executive, who has responsibility for the administration of the organization, receives the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the organization's goals.
3. Ensure effective organization planning. As steward of the organization, the board must actively participate with the staff in an overall planning process, and assist in implementing the plan's goals. The board should help management to develop business plans, policy objectives, business strategies, and priorities.
4. Ensure adequate resources. One of the board's foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. The board should work in partnership with the chief executive and development staff to raise funds from the community.
5. Manage resources effectively. The board, in order to remain accountable to its donors and the public, and to safeguard its tax-exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
6. Determine, monitor, and strengthen the organization's programs and services. The board's role in this area is to determine which programs are the most consistent with an organization's mission, and to monitor their effectiveness. By constantly reviewing the organization's work, the board ensures the organization's capacity to carry out its programs.
7. Enhance the organization's public standing. The board is the organization's primary link to the community. Clearly articulating the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public, as well as garnering support from members of the community, are important elements of a comprehensive public relations strategy.
8. Ensure legal and ethical integrity and maintain accountability. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. The board must establish pertinent policies and procedures (e.g., personnel policies, grievance procedures), and adhere to provisions of the organization's bylaws and articles of incorporation.
9. Recruit and orient new board members, and assess board performance. The board must select new board members and orient them to their responsibilities, and the organization's history, needs, and challenges. By evaluating its performance, the board can recognize its achievements and determine which areas need to be improved. As the organization grows and improves, the governing board must also evolve to meet changing needs and circumstances.

Selecting Board Members
Because the Board of Directors plays such an important role in your organization, you must apply stringent standards in your search for board members, and look for individuals who:
• Can bring a variety of skills, experience, and diversity to the organization.
• Have backgrounds and contacts that differ from--but complement-those of the other directors. This diversity is vital to maintaining a "balanced" board composition.
• Have concern for your organization's development, and are willing to learn about the substantive program area of the organization.
• Are prepared to set side any potential conflict between their personal or individual business interests to support the well-being of the organization.
• Have a developed sense of values and personal integrity.
• Are sensitive to and tolerant of views and opinions different from their own.
• Are friendly, responsive, and patient, and have a sense of humor.
• Work well with individuals and groups.
• Can listen, analyze, and think clearly and creatively.
• Are not hesitant to ask questions.
• Are willing to prepare for and attend board and committee meetings.
• Will take responsibility and follow through on assignments.
• Are willing to contribute personal and financial resources to the organization, and to cultivate and solicit outside funds.
• Can open doors in the community.
• Can recruit board members and other volunteers.
• Are willing to develop skills they need in order to be effective board members (e.g., the ability to read and understand financial statements).

Responsibilities of Individual Board Members
Within larger framework of board responsibilities, the individual board members you have chosen must each fulfill certain obligations to the organization. Those obligations include:
• Attend all board and committee meetings and functions, and be prepared to participate.
• Stay informed about board and committee matters; review and comment on minutes and reports.
• Stay informed about the organization's mission, services, policies, and programs.
• Keep up-to-date on developments in the organization's field.
• Follow developments in the community, economy, government, etc. that may affect the organization.
• Serve on committees and offer to take on special assignments.
• Make a personal financial contribution to the organization.
• Participate in organizational fundraising.
• Inform others about the organization.
• Get to know other members; build working relationships that contribute to consensus.
• Suggest nominees to the board who can make significant contributions to the work of the board and the organization.
• Follow conflict of interest and confidentiality policies.
• Assist the board in carrying out its fiduciary responsibilities such as reviewing the organization's annual financial statements.
• Participate actively in the board's annual evaluation and planning efforts.



From: A. Gregory Wonderwheel
Date: Thu Oct 24, 2002 4:53 pm
Subject: Re: Skills and abilities needed for LB and PNB service


These are excellent questions. Rather than accuse you of being anti- democratic and assuming that you are in a conspiracy to subvert elections by establishing a secret cabal that will appoint the local baorde members, I will presume that you are asking these questions for the practical reason that the answers will help in recruiting people to become candidates for the LB and in evaluating the candidates.

There are several websites you might want to peruse for general information about board members and their duties and responsibilities.

http://www.nonprofit-info.org has a board member FAQ page at

An article by Anne Gardon titled "Strengthening Boards of Nonprofit Organizations" is at http://www.supportctr.org/art_strengthen.htm A FAQ page is also at
with an article titled "What's wrong with the 'ideal board member'?" at http://www.allianceonline.org/faqs/bdfaq3.html

This last short piece starts: "When most board members and executive directors dream of their ideal board member they envision someone who contributes money, obtains contributions from others, helps the organization get media coverage and political contacts, bring specialized expertise, and helps diversify the board's composition. This ideal board member also identifies with the organization, is liked and admired by staff and other board members, "fits in." These characteristics describe a board member who can help provide the critical support agencies need to succeed."

Whew! doesn't that sum it up? But even with all those skills will the person know how to "govern." That is why no matter how "ideal" a person may appear, the rubber meets the road based on plain understanding of the role and not on any particular skill set.

For example, Leslie Cagan said at the last iPNB meeting that her priority for management was politics, management skills, and radio experience/knowledge. The same may be said for Pacifica Directors and Local Board members.

If a person doesn't have all three, they can usually learn items two and three but their politics will not change. However, if they don't learn what the role of a board member is, no amout of "good" politics will make them an asset on the board. In fact their "good" politics will become a liability when they justify poor decisions because they are politically correct.

Of highest priority to me is that the person understand that the role of a board member is a fiduciary role, not an ownership role or even a "temporary" ownership role. Thus I think that board members should be quizzed about their understanding of the Pacifica Mission. This will address political understanding as well a whether they understand that being faithful to the mission is their primary role, not coming with their own goals and directions for Pacfica. Having creative ideas about creating govening policies to achieve the mission are very valuable.

Also essential is knowing the proper role between the board and the manager. A quick observation of the iPNB will show that as a board they do not understand how to evaluate and hold accountable the Executive Director. I attribute this failure to several causes, lack of experience how to work together as a board, lack of understanding how to evaluate an Ex. Dir., lack of understanding that motions and resolutions must have evaluation built in, and the general crisis mode and atmosphere of the interim phase.

Hope this helps.

Gregory Wonderwheel


From: Susan Lee
Date: Thu Oct 24, 2002 12:26 pm
Subject: Skills and abilities needed for LB and PNB service

We have spent much time on the powers that the LB and the PNB will have and on how the elections will be held. I would like to address the question (which the WBAI Bylaws Committee will address at our October 29 meeting) about who will serve on the LB's and the PNB and what skills and abilities that these people should have in order to carry out the responsibilities that the LB's and the PNB will have.

I will be leading this meeting and am asking for ideas from people who have served on LAB's, the IPNB, non-profit boards, and those of you who haven't. What did you wish you knew and didn't? What kinds of folks should be on the board who were and who weren't? If you could think of your ideal board, what skills and abilities would one, some or all of the people have? For those of you who are thinking of running for the LB's, what is it that you think you can contribute (As someone I know who was asked to be on a major nonprofit Board was asked, "What can you do for us?") What are people looking for in a candidate?

We've spoken a great deal about inclusion, a subject that hopefully we will keep addressing. However, now I'm hoping we can come at it from the a different point of view as well.


Susan Lee

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