The December 10, 2007 PNB Finance Committee Meeting & the WBAI Budget

The Finance Committee of the Pacifica National Board (PNB) held a regular meeting on December 10, 2007. At this meeting the working group that had been formed at a previous meeting reported. That report was given by Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks.

It turns out that the replacement budget, which isn't put together yet, was predicated on WBAI having cut its payroll by 5% beginning on December 1, 2007. That didn't happen so even the replacement budget is now floundering.

The audio of the entire meeting is here.

Thanks to Otis Maclay and Sirius for their work in recording this meeting. Without their efforts we would have no record available to us of this important committee's work.

Pacifica CFO Lonnie Hicks gives the report from the WBAI working group. Members of the working group are: Don Crigler, Pacifica's F.C.C. attorney, Lavarn Williams, Lonnie Hicks, Phil Osegueda, Robert Scott Adams, Bernard White and Baruti Bediako. Mr. Hicks talks about “the new WBAI” that's coming with programming changes. This audio has been edited down from what we played on the air.  Play 4:33   download 535 KB

After the WBAI working group report there was discussion of a Development Director who would work out of the National Office but would concentrate on raising funds for WBAI. This eventually got referred to the WBAI working group.

CFO Hicks talked about getting a real estate loan from the Chase Bank for WBAI to move. He said that Pacifica was trying to break WBAI's lease and would be able to make any buyout forced by the landlord a part of such a loan package. He was talking about a loan of $2 or $3 million.

In further discussions CFO Hicks said that the 5% cuts, in addition to the illegal withholding of the 4% pay increase that was due all WBAI paid Staff as of October 1, 2007, would be implemented in January 2008, and then he said that it couldn't be done in January.

Committee Chair Lavarn Williams asked about getting the weekly reports about WBAI's income and expenses that the CFO and the committee were supposed to get. It appears that these have not been getting done.

PNB Chair David Adelson discussed the need for the PNB to approve any lines of credit and the need for oversight of all that money that would be involved in a loan for WBAI. The CFO agreed.

CFO Hicks reported that the WBAI building fund, which was supposed to be getting built up so that WBAI could buy a building, has been declared an unrestricted grant by the funding source, pending approval by the auditor, which now allows WBAI Management to spend that $159,000 for general operating expenses.

The committee then debated and passed a motion that said that the WBAI working group would review WBAI's overall situation and produce recommendations for a 90 day plan that will include the best first use of available dollars. So they're working on making another 90 day plan instead of a full year's budget.

PNB Chair David Adelson asked about the bank accounts throughout the Pacifica Foundation and if the Executive Director and the CFO could get information on all of them. CFO Hicks said he'd find out and get back to him on that.

When Mr. Adelson asked if the National Office was getting the head count information that General Managers are supposed be sending in on a monthly basis CFO Hicks reported that after 5 years of this being mandated it is still not being done. He said that direction has to come down from the Executive Director to the General Managers that they must make those reports. He noted that such reports could have been very useful in the elections which are dragging on.

There was then a discussion of raising the membership fee in Pacifica from $25 to $30 annually. It was revealed that WPFW is charging listeners $35 for an annual membership in violation of the Pacifica bylaws.

There was then a motion on staffing that would allow the Pacifica Executive Director to make Staff reductions in any part of Pacifica. This got a little heated. CFO Hicks was adamantly opposed to this motion. The committee tried to make it more palatable by adding that such cuts would be in compliance with established foundation policies and procedures and that only a permanent Executive Director could make such cuts. In the end the committee voted to recommend this motion to the PNB by a vote of 5 to 1, with CFO Hicks being the lone negative vote.

And after this,the committee adjourned until 2008.

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