CPB big bucks Community Service Grant Program closed on W19May – so why this PNB & NETA talk about some 30June deadline? . . . Earliest CSG payment is now Oct2022, the month when FJC must be paid $3.165m

. . . for CPB’s radio hand-outs, for 93% of the money, “[n]ew applications are no longer being accepted” – https://www.cpb.org/grants/Radio-Community-Service-Grant-Application-Fiscal-Year-2022-New-Applicants . . .

So why has the Pacifica National Board, & NETA, the bookkeeper & accountants, been going on about a 30June deadline? A deadline set by whom? Requiring what? Rewarded with what?

No local station board delegate or PNB director has given any details, even a teeny-weeny one, in a publicly recorded meeting. Nor has anyone asked. Repeat: no-one has even asked.

How can this be? Is this some kind of secret society? Funded ~$11m by the members, listeners, & others, year, after year, after year?

~

And when was the 19May deadline made public?

. . . so, then, if not before – https://www.cpb.org/file/297328/download?token=okRKWpM9 (page 1 of 22) . . .

As noted months ago on this blog, in early Jan2021, when discussing the expected completion dates of the FY2019 & FY2020 audits, a remark was made about the 26Oct2020 PNB Audit Cttee:

[n]o-one mentioned a crucial deadline: what may be mid Aug2021, applying for the big bucks disbursed from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Radio Community Service Grant Program, CSG. The annual date keeps changing: 13Aug2020, 24June2019, 11May2018, 12May2017, 16May2016. There’s never much time to apply: the last two application forms were dated the month before, July2020 & May2019. It’s also first-come, first-served: ‘[e]ligible applicants are accepted into the Radio CSG Program in the order their applications were received’.

https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/auditor-s-reports/auditors-reports-summary-notes-2/auditors-reports-summary-notes/ citing https://www.cpb.org/sites/default/files/rfp/7af2bbff/Grant%20Guidelines%20Radio%20CSG%20for%20FY%202021%20-%20New%20Applicant%20Guidelines.pdf (p. 2) – the same wording is used for the competition just ended, https://www.cpb.org/sites/default/files/rfp/ce8434e0/Grant%20Guidelines%20Radio%20CSG%20for%20FY%202022%20-%20New%20Applicant%20Guidelines.pdf (p. 2)

Instead of mid Aug2021, it fell on 19May.

~

And how big is the Radio CSG fund? In FY2021 it’s ~$92.1m (unrestricted $69.3m + restricted, for national programming, $22.8m); in FY2022 it’ll be ~$96.2m ($72.4m + $23.8m). Yes, CPB funding is rising, at last – to $465m from a stagnant ~$445m, FY2012-FY2021 (which suffered a 19% drop in real terms). And with a 3:1 TV-to-radio grants split, in FY2021, ~$99m went to radio; with 70% going to unrestricted CSG, & 23% to restricted CSG.

https://www.cpb.org/sites/default/files/aboutcpb/financials/budget/FY2021-Operating-Budget.pdf (p. 2); https://www.cpb.org/appropriation (press ‘radio’); https://www.cpb.org/sites/default/files/appropriation/FY-22-24-CPB-Budget-Justification-5-24-21.pdf (28May2021, p. 67; & applying the allocation formula); & https://www.inflationtool.com

And how much did Pacifica used to get from the CPB? FY1993-FY2012, it varied from $1.946m in FY2006 to $1.098m in FY1994 (in June2021 money, that corresponds to $2.576m (32% inflation) & $1.962m (79% inflation)). As a proportion of Pacifica’s revenue, it was 10.8% in FY2006 ($18.016m), & 14.1% in FY1994 ($7.797m); by comparison, in FY2011, the CPB’s $1.154m was 8.2% of revenue ($14.135m).

https://pacifica.org/finance_reports.php

(Notes: (a) FY2012 was the last full year of CPB monies coz the 2nd instalment, due in Mar2013, didn’t arrive as Pacifica fell out of compliance – https://current.org/2013/06/pacifica-misses-cpb-deadlines-holding-up-funding-for-stations/; (b) oddly, & without explanation, no disclosure was made in FY2008, 2009, 2012, & 2013; & (c) the fed fiscal year-end is the same as Pacifica’s, 30Sep.)

~

Today, the PNB Technology Task Force met: “[p]urpose: [d]iscuss 2021 CPB requirements, for June 30th deadline application” – https://kpftx.org/.

A PacificaWatch minion attended. They stressed that the application deadline for the CPB’s Radio Community Service Grant Program had passed on 19May, giving the link cited above. Twice they asked what this 30June deadline is, its purpose, what has to be provided. Twice the Chair, Jim Dingeman (associated with WBAI, but not a LSB delegate), responded, but, unfortunately, proved unable, or unwilling, to answer these obvious questions.

There was no point asking a third time.

~

There are many CPB hurdles to ride, even before a Pacifica application is deemed eligible. The Jan2021 blog discussion just mentioned covered a few (all the evidencing links are there, https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/auditor-s-reports/auditors-reports-summary-notes-2/auditors-reports-summary-notes/):

when Pacifica submits an application to the CPB it has to already be compliant with both CPB rules & federal law (22May2020 CPB letter to ED Lydia Brazon & PNB Chair Alex Steinberg);

• an obvious, elementary one, is that whenever a deliberative meeting is closed to the public, a written explanation is not just published but done so within 10 days; currently, for calendar year 2021, only one is posted on the Foundation’s website, https://pacifica.org/notices_home.php – and that’s from Feb, of a LSB meeting!

• evidence of streaming each open meeting, or of having had a conference phone call accessible to the public, so including evidence that online joining details were published beforehand (obviously, a posted notice of an upcoming meeting is something quite different; as is a published audiofile of proceedings: the open meeting requirement is about attending, witnessing, so whilst it’s happening);

• evidence of community advisory boards meeting publicly “at regular intervals”, per Communications Act of 1934, § 396(k)(8)(A) . . . by early Jan2021, the Pacifica meetings archive provided no evidence, none at all, that any of the five CAB’s had met in 2020https://kpftx.org/archive_2020.php; &

• a biggy: having enough listeners . . . Note, a mid May2022 application needs Nielsen listening data from spring 2020 & spring 2021. These are for Apr-May-June, but those for the 1st quarter are known, for each station. So, obvious questions: how far off is each station? what strategy is each station manager pursuing to rectify their situation? crucially, what are the intermediary, measurable goals in each strategy? what is the URL of each published station listenership strategy, so that Pacifica is transparent in this key matter, making it easier to hold the station manager & the station programme director to account for both their action & inaction? when did ED Brazon instruct station managers to address this matter strategically, rather than piecemeal & ad hoc at best? What are the answers to these obvious questions? Importantly, will any Pacifica decision-maker, a LSB delegate or Pacifica director, ever ask them?!? . . . another Godot moment in PacificaWorld?

Also, CPB is doing unannounced website audits, praps Feb thru Sep2021:

I also want to inform you that we will be undertaking a new initiative this fiscal year to further address station accountability. Specifically, we will be conducting limited scope evaluations of station requirements to post information to its website of various Communication Act and transparency requirements per our Annual Plan. The evaluations will be unannounced engagements conducted by our office of the information posted to your website and are not full scope audits of your CSG agreements. These limited scope evaluations will be conducted in accordance with the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency[‘s] Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation. [new paragraph:] These engagements will begin any time after January as staff is available and will continue throughout the fiscal year.

CPB Inspector General Kimberly Howell to “Station Officials”, Jan2021, p. 2 – https://cpboig.oversight.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/2021-02/ig_message_jan_2021.pdf

ED Lydia Brazon will be aware of this. Also Otis Maclay, Pacifica’s Compliance Officer – amongst other jobs.

Yes, Pacifica receives no CPB monies, but it has to be fully compliant before any application is even looked at.

~

On top of all this, there’s also the Pacifica decision-makers, local & national, always going on about ‘getting the audits done’. They offer no awareness, whatsoever, that they fail to make a crucial distinction between form & content: between an auditor’s report & audited financial statements. The two pertinent facts: the latest auditor’s report is for FY2019, dated 29Apr2021; the latest audited financial statements are for FY2016, dated 31May2018. FY2016 ended on 30Sep2016 – almost five years ago.

Audited financial statements are deemed by the auditor to be, in the jargon, fair, that is, materially accurate. Hence the auditor saying of the FY2016 financial statements provided by Pacifica, “the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of The Pacifica Foundation as of […]” (p. 1b; p. 4 of the PDF – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2016.pdf). (This opinion included a scope limitation, making it a qualified opinion, but we’ll let that complication pass.)

This contrasts with FY2017, FY2018, & FY2019 when the new auditors, Rogers & Company, given what they found, had to say, ‘fair? not fair? materially accurate? materially inaccurate? . . . can’t say, can’t say one way or the other, so we’ll have “to issue a disclaimer of opinion” – but thanks for the $100k or so . . . better luck next time’.

Why is this difference so important? What grantors want, nay, what they demand, is audited financial statements – not auditor’s reports. They want financial statements vouched for by auditors, so deemed materially accurate by a competent, trusted third party – not bald statements offered by a wannabe grantee. An applicant needs credibility, nay, proven credibility. Grantors demand substance, verified substance.

Here, in managing risk, the CPB has even less latitude: they disburse taxpayers’ money. They’re accountable to Congress, to those nice Republicans in the House & Senate – https://cpboig.oversight.gov/sites/default/files/reports/2021-05/IG%20Semiannual%20Report%20-%20March%2031%2C%202021_0.pdf. To cover their proverbials, the CPB will require audited financial statements from Pacifica, & not those from FY2016, half a decade ago – in all likelihood they’ll insist on a minimum of two sets, moreover, consecutive ones. And when might they come?

Well, the FY2020 audit is likely to be completed in August, perhaps July. 30June is unlikely, not least because the trial balance that generates the financial statements wasn’t produced until this week (CFO Anita Sims, Th3June2021 PNB – no audiofile posted as of today . . . UPDATE: CFO Sims: “on, urgh, June the first, George [Walter, NETA Senior Controller] was able to deliver to the auditors the trial balance – the re-sent – and also the, argh, [derived] financial statements” (24:30), “so we are on schedule. Urgh, we’re hoping that their process will take about two weeks [sic]” (25:04) . . . about two weeks??? . . . so finishing Tu15June???https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb210603/pnb210603a.mp3).

Let’s be frank. Let’s call a spade a spade. The only way to conjoin ’30June’ & ‘auditor’s report’ is with a nod & a wink: rush the sampling; stamp the statements with a disclaimer of opinion; praps a 5% discount on the agreed price; &, keeping things in-house, come back in November for one more year, even if the auditors can hardly stomach it. Business. Scratching. Win-win. Capitalist ‘professionalism’, capitalist ethics, in action.

The FY2020 statements will almost certainly get a 4th disclaimer of opinion from the auditors because there hasn’t even been an inkling that the many outstanding pension audits (perhaps six) have been done since 29Apr2021, when the general auditors last gave their opinion: “[a]s of the date of the Independent Auditors’ Report, April 29, 2021, audits of the plans for years 2019 and 2018 had not been completed” (p. 1; p. 3 of the PDF). And this deficiency was the sole reason for giving the disclaimer: “[w]e were thus unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the correct pension accruals, penalties, and fines for the years ended September 30, 2019 and 2018” (‘Basis for Disclaimer of Opinion’, p. 1; p. 3 of the PDF). https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2019.pdf

The point is, there’s so much uncertainty with the material accuracy of the pension accounts (so based on the personnel & payroll records, sigh), that the auditors found themselves unable to accept an estimate of the liability from NETA, which would have allowed the auditors to give a scope limitation to the offered financial statements, assigning them a qualified opinion: instead they felt they had to give a disclaimer of opinion. No-one on either the PNB Audit Cttee or the PNB has ever asked why, of either CFO Sims or the auditors. It’s as if they’re unaware of what’s happening, unaware of the decision-making involved. Incroyable. Unglaublich. Unbelievable.

The pee-pee, the pension problem, isn’t new. There were warning signs. The FY2016 auditors gave a scope limitation to those financial statements because, at 31May2018, when their report was issuable, “(a) audits of the [pension] plans for 2016 had not been completed, (b) an audit of one of the plans for 2015 had not been completed, and (c) an audit of one of the plans for 2015 was not required” (pp. 1a-1b; pp. 3-4 of the PDF – https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2016.pdf). Oh. So by 31May2018, the last ones finished were FY2014. Oh. This was the scale of the deficiency made public three years ago. (Since then, thankfully, there has been progress: completed are those for FY2015, FY2016, & FY2017, as inferred from the cited 29Apr2021 statement by the general auditors.)

The directors since the end of FY2015, 30Sep2015, have been seriously remiss in their exercise of oversight re (a) the preparation for the annual pension audits, & (b) the conduct of those audits. They have never given an adequate explanation of (1) why the problem of pension administration arose during FY2015 (even the dates of completed pension auditor’s reports aren’t publicly available), & (2) why the dual persisting problem of pension administration & pension audit wasn’t, & hasn’t been, remedied.

And who was in charge late 2015 & thru 2016? A duo: in the seats of power were Executive Director Lydia Brazon, stepping up as the then PNB Chair, accompanied by newly installed Chief Financial Officer Sam Agarwal. Sam is gone . . . Ms Brazon is the current executive director. https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/non-financial-pacifica-data/pacifica-officeholders-pnb-chair-executive-director-chief-financial-officer-secretary/

So, given that the FY2020 audit is likely to get yet another disclaimer, the earliest Pacifica can earn two sets of audited financial statements will be re FY2021 & FY2022, with the latter’s auditor’s report being issuable, at the very earliest, mid Jan2023. That would allow Pacifica to apply, c. May2023, for the fiscal 2024 CSG Program, with a first payment, the 70%, in Oct2023 (30% coming in Mar2024).

So, treading water for at least another two years, 2⅓ years. Inshallah.

But Pacifica may be able to persuade other grantors with just one set of audited financial statements. Inshallah.

~

So what is this 30June deadline?

~~~

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