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Search new GM at WBAI


Current WBAI General Manager (GM) Don Rojas has indicated that he will leave his position soon. The latest official statement was that he would leave as of 3/31/05. He will likely stay a little longer than that.

The decision of new GM is important for WBAI's future. The GM has authority of all station operations, including selection of program director. Pacifica's new bylaws give the Local Station Board an important role in GM selection -- the LSB screens candidates and selects finalists for a hiring decision by the Executive Director.

Some steps have been taken toward filling the soon-to-be vacant position. It's a bit confusing. There seems to be a simultaneous effort to find a GM and an interim GM.

Summary of events as of 3/22/05

  • No GM search committees have been formed yet.
  • Interim GM job has been posted (click here).
  • The composition of the search committee has been hotly contested. Decisions made have illustrated differences between slates and tendencies among board members: Before the LSB elections (when Justice and Unity did not have a majority), the LSB called for a committee of 12, with 6 listener-members and four representatitves of staff organizations.
  • This decision was overturned immediately by the new LSB (where Justice and Unity now has a majority), which called for a committee in which representatives of the staff organizations outnumber listeners or representatives of the LSB.
  • Further, under the new configuration the committee's recommendations will be forwarded directly to the ED, and not be approved by the entire LSB.
  • Following a recommendation by AFTRA, the union for the paid staff, the GM search committee is set at three listener-members from the LSB, three unpaid staff selected by USOC, the unpaid staff organization, and three paid staff selected by AFTRA.
  • The Executive Director of Pacifica (Dan Coughlin) has informed the LSB that there should be a search committee for an interim GM made up of five listener-members from the LSB and six staff. He wants this committee created by 3/27.
  • WBAI staff organizations are conducting elections for representatives to the interim GM committee. The elections will be finished 3/27.
  • The WBAI LSB officers have announced a special meeting on 3/30 to select members to both the interim GM search committee and the permanent GM search committee.

This page contains several documents relating to this process. Click on the link to go straight to the documents.

Extract from Pacifica's bylaws regarding LSB role in selection of GM
Original LSB resolution to form GM search subcommittee
New LSB resolution on GM search subcommittee
Opinions by Fred Nguyen and Patty Heffley
Posting of interim GM position

Role of LSB in GM selection

(Pacifica Bylaws, Article Seven, Local Station Boards, Section 3)

Each LSB, acting as a standing committee of the Foundation's Board of Directors, shall have the following powers, duties and responsibilities related to its specific radio station, under the direction and supervision of the Foundation's Board of Directors:

B. To screen and select a pool of candidates for the position of General Manager of its respective radio station, from which pool of approved candidates the Executive Director shall hire the station's General Manager.. The LSB may appoint a special sub-committee for this purpos

LSB motion of 11/30/04 to form GM search subcommittee

General manager search committee: the Local Station Board shall appoint a Committee composed of 12 members, as follows:

2 members elected by the WBAI Unpaid Staff, under the auspices of the Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee
2 members elected by the WBAI Paid Staff, under the auspices of AFTRA
6 listener members of the WBAI Local Station Board elected by the LSB via single transferable voting.
2 staff members elected by the LSB

passes 9-5

Notice given for motion by Lederer that General Manager Search committee vote be rescinded at the next meeting.

this motion was indeed rescinded at the meeting of 12/15/04, when the new LSB was seated, by a 12-8 vote.

LSB motion of 1/5/05 on GM search subcommittee

Motion by Gaston

Whereas, Article 7, Section 3, subsection B of the Pacifica Bylaws provides that one of the powers of the Local Station Board is: "To screen and select a pool of candidates for the position of General Manager of its respective radio station, from which pool of approved candidates the Executive Director shall hire the station's General Manager. The LSB may appoint a special sub-committee for this purpose." and

Whereas, the current General Manager has submitted his resignation,

Therefore, be it resolved, that:

1. The WBAI Local Station Board shall establish an ad hoc committee known as the General Manager Search Committee (GMSSC) to screen and select a pool of candidates for the position of General Manager, and to submit that pool to the Pacifica Executive Director for a decision on hiring.

2. The GMSSC shall be composed of 11 members, appointed as follows:
3 unpaid staff members elected by the WBAI Unpaid Staff, under the auspices of the Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee (USOC);
3 paid staff members elected by the WBAI Paid Staff, under the auspices of AFTRA; and
5 listener members of the WBAI Local Station Board elected by the LSB via single transferable voting.

Provided, however, that the LSB's final approval of this formula shall be contingent upon written approval by the AFTRA and USOC unions at WBAI by January 15, 2005. If the LSB Chair does not receive notice of approval from both unions by that date, the formula shall automatically be as follows, and elections shall proceed on this basis:
3 unpaid staff members elected by the WBAI Unpaid Staff, under the auspices of the Unpaid Staff Organizing Committee (USOC);
3 paid staff members elected by the WBAI Paid Staff, under the auspices of AFTRA; and
3 listener members of the WBAI Local Station Board elected by the LSB via single transferable voting.

3. The LSB's election of its members to the GMSSC shall occur at the next regular LSB meeting. The two unions' elections of their members to the GMSSC shall be concluded no later than February 15. The GMSC will not hold its first meeting until all members have been elected. The highest vote-getting LSB voting member shall convene the first meeting after consultation with the other members. In the case of a vacancy or an anticipated leave of absence for three or more meetings, the next highest vote-getter within the relevant category shall join the committee for the period of absence of the elected member.

4. All meetings concerning individual candidates for General Manager will be held in executive session (either in person or by conference call) and all information about such candidates kept confidential, unless the GMSSC votes, with the consent of the candidate, to make the meeting and/or information public. All other meetings of the GMSSC shall be held according to the open meetings rules in the Pacifica Bylaws. All GMSC members, voting and nonvoting, shall sign an agreement to maintain the confidentiality of all information discussed in executive session or made available on a confidential basis.

5. The final pool of candidates for General Manager voted by the GMSSC to be recommended to the Executive Director shall be sent directly to him/her, with a confidential copy also forwarded to the WBAI Local Station Board. All LSB members shall keep the names on the names in that pool confidential unless and until the GMSSC votes, with the consent of the candidate(s) involved, that the name(s) and any other information about the candidate(s) may be made public.

vote on main motion: YES: Borenstein, Clay, Flounders, Gaston, Ghosthorse, Griffin, Laforest, Lederer, Lucas, Tobias. NO: Birden, Brown, Heffley, Rhodes. Abstentions: Martin, Roberts.

In early March, AFTRA voted to that the GMSS should include only 3 listener-members of the LSB.

Opinion by unpaid staff member Fred Nguyen [before number of listeners was dropped from five to three]

Folks at the radio know better what it takes to be a radio GM. 6 radio staff to 5 listener lsb ain't too bad and the LSB itself has 3/4 of its members that are listeners so we have a balance. The committee selects a few candidates they think can do the job and the LSB endorses or rejects the choices. That's called balance of powers.

Opinion from LSB listener-member and Pacifica Director Patty Heffley [before number of listeners was dropped from five to three]

Considering that we have the bylaws, I don't know if the LSB members have read them or really care what our duties are as the local station board, but one of our duties is to select a pool of candidates for the general manager (reads bylaws section).

This is the job we were all elected to do. this is our job. this is not the union's job. this is nobody's job but our our own to select a pool of candidates, and the motion that passed doesn't even bring the candidates back to this board [for approval]. It leaves it to the unions and the lowly five listeners, if that's OK with the unions that we even have any say at all. We have no majority say in what candidates are given to the ED to choose from. Yet after this we are supposed to oversee and evaluate this manager which we had no say in choosing. Do you want conflict like this for the next years?

I implore the members of this board, the listeners, who were elected by listeners, not by the staff, some of them with 600 votes, some of them 300 votes, 200 votes, elected by listeners to do this job, and you are giving it away to people that were not elected by anyone and that in fact are not even listener people. We were here to do a job and I implore you all -- Giving away the rights of the people that elected you is no way to empower community. And dare I say that many of the people who voted for you are people of color - they are not me. people just like you that you are disenfranchising to give power away to someone else.

Posting of interim GM position

(from http://pacifica.org/jobs/WBAI-iGM.html

Pacifica Job Opportunities
WBAI 99.5 FM interim General Manager

Vacancy Announcement

WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City is seeking an interim station General Manager.

WBAI is a 50,000-watt noncommercial radio station, one of five sister stations of the Pacifica Foundation, the oldest network of community-based radio stations in the United States.

Job Responsibilities

The General Manager supervises a professional staff responsible for day-to-day station operations. This staff includes a program director, operations director, and a fundraising and development team. The General Manager must supervise a large team of volunteer programmers who are responsible for the bulk of the station's programs. S/he must also be able to work cooperatively with a 24-member Local Station Board elected from among the station's listener-sponsors and paid and unpaid staff.

The post is interim and may last up to one year.

Qualification Criteria

* Education/experience: a college degree or 10 years professional employment, in broadcasting, communications, journalism, or other relevant experience.
* 5 years of managerial experience.
* Experience supervising staff, preferably in a nonprofit or broadcasting environment.
* Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communication skills.
* Proven management and organizational skills, including planning, budgeting, fundraising and organizational growth and development.
* Proven track record of ability to recruit and retain staff of diverse backgrounds.
* Ability to create and implement program evaluation processes.
* A demonstrated commitment to independent media and grassroots perspectives.

To apply, e-mail cover letter and resume to: jobs@pacifica.org


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