My reply to Pacifica Executive Director Greg Guma

Pacifica Executive Director Greg Guma responded to my recent posting on this Web site where I noted that he is apparently leaving his postion as Executive Director. Mr. Guma responded on Doug Henwood's blog. Here's my reply.

My point was that the PNB will be dealing with the question of a successor to Executive Director Greg Guma at its July meeting, and that this indicates that Mr. Guma is leaving his position. Mr. Guma's reply says nothing to contradict what I said.

Greg guma wrote:

While there may be some kernels of reality embedded in this post, they are overwhelmed by the inacaccuracies and assumptions.

Mr. Guma is simply engaging in spin. The PNB is looking for his successor. They wouldn't be doing that if he were going to remain Executive Director for another couple of years. That is certainly an assumption on my part, but it's a logical one. As for inaccuracies, I challenge Mr. Guma to point out inaccuracies in what I've posted. I don't think he can.

Drawing conclusions from a chance comment can be quite dangerous.

Let's deal with my specific conclusions. Here is a transcript of the relevant remarks made by Mr. Ruffin during the PNB teleconference meeting of May 3, 2007:

Thomas Ruffin: "... we certainly will be dealing with the question of finding a successor for Greg Guma, and this is obvious to everybody. And at that board meeting [interrupted] we'll talk about this at the board meeting. And it seems to me that we will have more information at the end of the [sic] July, when we, if we had the meeting then as opposed to if we had it at the beginning of July. .... we need as much information about the successor as ..." At this point Mr. Ruffin's further comments are inaudible due to other PNB members raising a point of order reminding Mr. Ruffin that this was a public session of the PNB.

Obviously Mr. Ruffin's comments about the need for the PNB to deal with the question of finding a successor to Executive Director Greg Guma were common knowledge to the rest of the PNB, and since Mr. Ruffin was silenced and warned by the others that this was a public meeting it is a logical conclusion that this issue has been the subject of some of those executive sessions that the PNB has been holding. I don't think that drawing the conclusion that Greg Guma is leaving his position from these statements is dangerous at all, I think it's merely logical.

Am I leaving? Well sure, eventually — no one stays forever, and I made it clear when I arrived that my tenure would be limited to no more than three years. I'm about halfway there.

No more than three years? Really? I don't see that in Mr. Guma's initial presentation to the PNB shortly after he was hired. I find it interesting that the PNB's Executive Director Search Committee would spend more than seven months and pay a search firm thousands of dollars to install an Executive Director who'd declared to them that he'd do the job for no more than three years. Perhaps the PNB thought that Mr. Guma would be a real firebrand or reformer within Pacifica.

I do not believe that the PNB is seriously planning anything more than a year and a half in advance. The fact that they're going to be dealing with the question of Mr. Guma's successor in July tells me that they have to do it. I think that the PNB is reacting to Mr. Guma telling them that he'll be leaving well before January 2009, which would be his three year mark.

But I am not being shown the door, and such an assumption is incorrect.

I never said that Mr. Guma was "being shown the door." That language is his.

I am urging the Board to be proactive, however, in beginning a thoughtful search process.

Would that Mr. Guma had successfully urged the PNB to some other thoughtful processes.

In any case, Mr. Guma confirms that the process to find his replacement as Executive Director is underway.

As for charges of "embezzlement, corruption or malfeasance," this is irresponsible rhetoric and not substantiated by available facts.

I don't know if Mr. Guma is ignorant of the facts he's denying here. But one instance of embezzlement is known throughout Pacifica. There are others.

Additionally, formal charges of sexual harassment are currently pending against two Pacifica General Managers and surely Mr. Guma can't be unaware of the various side businesses head quartered at WBAI which are using the station's resources.

If I recall, Doug [Henwood] and R. Paul [Martin] expressed some concerns in January 2006 that my arrival at Pacifica would set loose conspiracy theorists.

Mr. Guma's recollection is faulty here. Shortly after Mr. Guma was hired as Executive Director someone posted a link to an example of his journalism where he'd just swallowed whole a number of absurd assertions by some conspiracy nut about the 9/11 attacks. I posted on a public board my concerns about Mr. Guma as Executive Director if that's what his journalism was like. I said, "And if he buys this conspiracy nut bullshit in this way how's he going to react when someone tells him that the cash receipts from the fundraiser were just 'reallocated' and that it's all right?" I concluded "Is a gullible person better than some JUC-aligned crook? I guess we'll find out." From Mr. Guma's response to my publicizing the fact that the PNB is looking for his successor I think my concerns were justified.

Here's a reality check: In 2006, Pacifica launched three new national programs — a daily Spanish language newscast –Informativo Pacifica,

I wonder if Mr. Guma can find this program in WBAI's schedule?

a weekly archives-based program — From the Vault, and an election series — Informed Dissent. As far as I know, we didn't launch Conspiracy Digest.

As I've already pointed out, I never said that Mr. Guma was going to launch "Conspiracy Digest." But it is interesting to note how many conspiracy based premiums WBAI is hawking.

And it had an excellent year in financial terms.

Mr. Guma must have an odd definition of the word "excellent." Mr. Guma must know that WBAI has not met a single on-air fundraising goal during his tenure as Executive Director, and that WBAI's finances are currently being overseen by Pacifica Management while it attempts to enact a "recovery plan," which comes after the layoffs and salary cuts two years ago. Some Pacifica stations are doing all right, but Pacifica as a whole is facing some probable future liabilities that do not make the foundation's finances look at all excellent.

.... These are some of the facts. But hey, rumor is so much more fun, isn't it?

I've shown my facts, and Mr. Guma has even confirmed some. We'll see if Mr. Guma remains in his position until January 2009. I personally don't think that his tenure as a lame duck will last that long.

Back to my May 21, 2007, program page.

To the New Pacifica Page.

To my home page.