link: Summer Reese
is the Pacifica Foundation's Abe Lincoln' onclick='this.focus();this.select()' />
View article without comments
Summer Reese is the Pacifica Foundation's Abe Lincoln
Most prominently, these actions include the attempt to terminate the Foundation's (recently permanently hired) Executive Director, Summer Reese, who is widely credited with having an excellent record of stewardship since mid-2012 when she began serving in the same position on an interim basis.
most important achievements has been stabilizing the financial woes at WBAI
, Pacifica's New York City station.
Ms. Reese rose in the Pacifica ranks from yeoman service as an elected member of the Local Station Board at KPFK
beginning in 2007 (the Foundation's Los Angeles station).
Between 2011-2013 Reese served as Chair of the Pacifica National Board and so impressed her colleagues that they appointed her interim Executive Director in mid-2012 and subsidized her moving expenses from Los Angeles to the Bay Area where the Foundation's headquarters are located (in Berkeley).
In November 2013 the Pacifica National Board
(PNB) agreed to enter into a 3 year contract with Ms. Reese
(upon completion of a routine background check) at a salary of $105,000 per year, and in January 2014 the PNB
(satisfied with the results of the background check) executed a 3 year employment contract with Ms. Reese
underwent personnel changes beginning in February 2014, shifting the balance of power against the faction that had approved Ms. Reese's
promotion from "interim" to permanent Executive Director.
The narrow majority then clumsily attempted to terminate Ms. Reese's
employment on March 13, 2014 (during the last 15 minutes of a telephonic Board meeting), and sent out a press release claiming they had done so, which the New York Times
As has been fairly widely reported, Ms. Reese
refused to comply with the reckless actions of the narrow Pacifica National Board majority faction that purported to terminate her
, declared their action to be legally invalid, in breach of her
contract, and (along with concomitant actions) a dire threat to the best interests of the Foundation.
reported back to work immediately upon her
return to Berkeley
from Foundation business, removed a lock from the front door, entered her
office (along with her
staff) and kept and secured possession of the vital records and accounts of the Foundation.
Remarkably, for the most part Ms. Reese
has been able to continue discharging the duties of her
office despite a nasty campaign of sporadic harassment by members and allies of the narrow rogue PNB majority.
The Pacifica Foundation offices Ms. Reese
mother and supporters are occupying share a building with Pacifica's Berkeley station, KPFA, where Ms. Reese's
nemesis, new PNB chair Margy Wilkinson (whose own elevation to that post is in dispute) works.
has the unstinting support of 9 members of the PNB
who have coalesced in the Pacifica Directors for Good Governance (PDGG) group, the plaintiff in the pending Alameda County Superior Court lawsuit before Judge Petrou.
Their lawsuit seeks, among other things, to enjoin the Board majority from breaching Ms. Reese's
Although Mr. Siegel is no longer on the PNB (due to Bylaws provisions precluding any candidate or holder of public office from participating in Pacifica governance and Siegel's current candidacy for mayor in Oakland), Ms. Reese's main antagonist on the PNB majority is Dan Siegel's law partner Jose Fuentes, the member who made the motion for her termination at the very end of the March 13, 2013 telephonic Board meeting.
As to some of those: PDGG is seeking to restrain the Board majority from breaching Ms. Reese's
And it is not seriously disputed by anyone that the Pacifica Foundation Board
terminated Ms. Reese
without stating any reason and without any "progressive discipline" in breach of the (in sum) just cause termination provisions of her
The validity of the Board's 11-7 vote on March 13 to terminate Ms. Reese
is also at issue.
The Pacifica National Board
has 22 members.
The Board did not provide notice to its own members that Ms. Reese's
termination would be voted upon at the March 13th meeting, and took the vote with 4 members absent and without hearing the objections of the Board's own counsel who believed the firing to be non-compliant with both applicable law and Ms. Reese's
Nor has the current Pacifica National Board produced minutes of most of its (ultra-frequent) meetings since taking power in February of this year, although they belatedly did so for the March 13, 2014 telephonic meeting.
The above actions and irregularities alone seem to amply justify Ms. Reese's
description of the Pacifica National Board majority as "rogue".
and her supporters (like Lincoln and his supporters) are determined to preserve the Foundation's 5 stations in the Foundation "union" and safeguard its non-profit founding heritage.
As Carol Spooner's blueprint states, the goal of Ms. Reese's
detractors and opponents is essentially to dissolve the Foundation and re-constitute each station as separate fiefs (under the control of the current rogue Board members).
I do suggest that Carol Spooner's and Dan Siegel's pipe-dream is what explains the (otherwise inexplicable) decision of the members of the PNB majority to abruptly breach Ms. Reese's
Through extraordinarily diligent and difficult work, Summer Reese stabilized WBAI by making some very hard choices, including relocating broadcast facilities to less expensive quarters and (because there was no other choice given Pacifica's finances) letting go most of paid staff there last year.
The very day the Board terminated her she
had dispatched severance pay to the laid off WBAI staffers.
In short, the Board terminated Summer not for any short-fall in performance, but because she had done her job too well and foiled the pretext the Board majority had planned to use to attempt to implement their (legally harebrained) scheme to break up the Pacifica union, sell WBAI into the commercial marketplace and direct the proceeds to the 4 remaining Pacifica stations.
It is a scandalous and shameful situation that will assuredly lead to increased turmoil in the form of recall elections and other legal challenges if the radical and reckless attempted ouster of Ms. Reese
, who is far-and-away the most competent and effective leader the Pacifica Foundation
has had since shortly after its inception, is not rescinded ASAP.
Judge Petrou can save the Pacifica community a lot of future grief by restoring the status quo ante the Board majority's ill-conceived, ill-motivated and ill-fated attempted breach of Ms. Reese's
Carol Spooner supports Summer Reese
I strongly support Summer Reese
position as Executive Director of Pacifica
and in her
efforts to preserve and protect the network and five Pacifica
stations and their mission, and to prevent the total collapse of Pacifica into bankruptcy court, pay-off its debts, clean-up the corruption and financial mess, and rebuild.