WBAI LSB Minority Report, 10-1-06
WBAI LSB MINORITY REPORT TO THE PNB, 10-1-06
In our minority LSB report, we discuss the role of the LSB, outline the divisions of WBAI's LSB, and examine the fulfillment of WBAI the LSB's individual duties mandated in the bylaws. Our conclusion is that the WBAI LSB has failed to fulfill these duties.
THE LSB'S ROLE
Article 7, Section 3 of the bylaws of the Pacifica Foundation enumerates "specific powers and duties" of the Local Station Boards of Pacifica's five member stations. These include oversight of finances and programming, management review and selection, town hall meetings, and other governance and communicative functions.
The purpose of the LSB is to give members of the Foundation staff and listeners' representatives in the governance of their local station. This oversight by the LSB is healthy, and fulfilling the duties enumerated in Article 7 is the primary purpose of the LSB. The bylaws give the responsibility for oversight to the local members of the foundation, those most familiar with the member stations. When the LSB fails to provide oversight, local problems such as WBAI has are not dealt with promptly, and the only check comes from the national level when the health of the foundation as a whole is threatened.
The WBAI LSB, since its inception, has not fulfilled any 13 powers and duties of Article 7, Section 3. Details are supplied below. This failure is largely the responsibility of the majority faction on the current LSB.
Since the second LSB election in November 2004, WBAI's has included 13 members of the Justice and Unity Coalition [JUC] and another member endorsed by the JUC. These members vote as a bloc and represent a majority of the LSB when they do. Precise voting records are difficult to determine, since the LSB has not published minutes since November 2005, and even draft minutes are unavailable since February 2006. However, on eleven roll call votes taken between January 2005 and August 2006, the JUC faction voted unanimously on every single vote.
When the JUC faction wants to act expeditiously, it can do so. Motions to suspend one LSB member and to disassociate the board from the comments of another, were introduced, debated, and passed within a single meeting. Therefore, if the WBAI LSB has failed to fulfill one of the duties assigned to it in the bylaws, it is because the members of the JUC either opposed the necessary action or did not regard it as a priority.
The bylaws direct the LSB to "review and approve that station's budget and make quarterly reports. . . regarding the station's budget, actual income and expenditures" (Article 7, Section 3A). The WBAI LSB did not approve a station budget for FY 2005, and does not make the required quarterly reports. It did approve budgets for FY 2006 and 2007. However, the FY 2006 budget required 93 days of on-air fundraising, and the FY 2007 budget was not accepted by the National Finance Committee, which has asked for a revised version.
The bylaws direct the LSB to "screen and select a pool of candidates for the position of General Manager" (Article 7, Section 3B). WBAI's previous GM gave notice in late 2004 and left in April 2005. But the LSB has still not provided a pool of candidates for GM. Further, while the bylaws allow the LSB to create a sub-committee for this purpose, the WBAI LSB created a new body to select general manager candidates; most of the members are neither members of the LSB nor chosen by the LSB. This action by the LSB violates Roberts Rules section on subcommittees [RONR p 480 line 11 ff], since this body is not responsible to the parent committee. Currently, this body's process is questionable: it has been having meetings without quorums and members have complained they have not been told of meetings.
The WBAI LSB has never prepared an annual written evaluation of the station's general manager (Article 7, Section 3C) or program director (Article 7, Section 3F). The LSB's Management Evaluation Committee surveyed the staff as part of the process of evaluating the program director almost a year ago, but it still has not reported to the LSB the results of the survey. This committee has not reported to the LSB since March of this year.
The WBAI LSB created a programming committee to facilitate compliance with the LSB's duties regarding programming (Article 7, Section 3G). The committee has never produced an evaluation of the station's programming to ensure that it meets the "diverse needs of the listeners" or made suggestions of "policies and procedures for making program decisions and program evaluation," as the bylaws require.
The bylaws direct the LSB to hold "Town Hall" style meetings at least twice yearly (Article 7, Section 3H). WBAI's last Town Hall meeting was in April of 2005.
WBAI's LSB has made, at best, minimal efforts to assist in station fundraising (Article 7, Section 3I).
The bylaws direct the LSB to "actively reach out to underrepresented communities" (Article 7, Section 3J). WBAI's LSB has not engaged in substantial outreach, has done nothing to identify underrepresented communities in the signal area, and has no plan or proposal to do so.
The bylaws direct the LSB to "perform community needs assessment" or form a Community Advisory Committee to do so (Article 7, Section 3K). Neither the WBAI LSB nor an LSB-formed Commuity Advisory Committee has ever initiated such an assessment.
The LSB's are required in the bylaws to "ensure that the station works diligently towards the goal of diversity in staffing. . . and the maintenance of a discrimination-free atmosphere in the workplace" (Article 7, Section 3L). The WBAI LSB has taken no positive action in this area and took no action when staff members reported incidents of anti-gay bias at the station.
The bylaws instruct the LSB to "exercise all of its powers and duties with care, loyalty, diligence and sound business judgment" (Article 7, Section 3M). Beyond the failure to fulfill any of the other specific duties established in Article 7, Section 3, the WBAI LSB's consistent failure to produce and publish minutes of its meetings since November 2005 does not demonstrate the care and diligence mandated in the bylaws.
Signed WBAI LSB members: Carolyn Birden, Steve Brown, Patty Heffley, Berthold Reimers, James Ross
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