. . . the PNB Finance Cttee: really more mature? 13yrs of Pacifica losses out of the 15 thru FY2021: more faced up to reality? Who’s less in denial? Who’s the baby? . . . the Cttee, ‘advising’ the
directors sleepwalkers who have the legal duty as trustees to protect the assets that aren’t even theirs, but the ~40k members’ (~42.6k at 30June2021) . .
. . . foto of James Sagurton (Chair of PNB Finance Cttee, & WBAI listener-delegate), courtesy of P C Robinson, Observer-Tribune, on the occasion of Mitch McConnell visiting Mendham Township, where Chris Christie also lives, the Jersey Hills, Su15Dec2019, at the moment when the first cases were arising in Wuhan – https://web.archive.org/web/20191216234127/https://www.newjerseyhills.com/observer-tribune/news/videos-mcconnell-visit-to-mendham-township-sparks-impromptu-protests/article_9c540ab7-2533-5fe0-b695-a91ce3dc9e02.html (pic 2 of 5) . . .
. . . and Amerika is so conservative: Trump, no nip rings . . .
Meanwhile, back in PacificaWorld . . .
. . . Couldn’t even wait till Friday – of that week, let alone the one after. Emptied the fridge Thursday. Julia, looked around one last time, sighed, reached out to knock off the light, laughed: she’d forgotten, the power had been cut off. Yes, this really was the end. At least she was getting out with her sanity – or so she thinks. How would it be after the weekend? Adrenalin draining, PTSD descending? Hopefully NETA has a post-conflict rehab programme for returnees to RealWorld.
🙏1🙏 the announcement – Th22Sep2022 PNB
🤲🏽2🤲🏽 no inkling, just Julia dozing – Tu20Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
•3• ED Steph’s “they’re opting not to use them” met by deafening silence from the
directors sleepwalkers, & treasurers – Tu27Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
directors sleepwalkers never talk to the ED: 38 days of the 92 wasted in search for NETA’s replacement – Tu26July2022 PNB Finance Cttee & Su7Aug2022 PNB Personnel Cttee
🤲🏽5🤲🏽 Pacifica’s first NBM, National Business Manager, Markisha Deshaun Venzant-Sampson
•6• Markisha: why the secrecy? why the shielding?
🙏7🙏 what work is NBM
KSM MBS MVS supposed to do?
🤲🏽8🤲🏽 is Markisha proximately responsible for the financial management tasks mandated by California law? If not, who?
directors sleepwalkers must disclose the hierarchy of their decision rules, & its justification, how they’re addressing the debt-service crisis
🙏1🙏 The announcement – Th22Sep2022 PNB
This news broke at the Th22Sep Pacifica National Board (soon after 9:08, when Chair Julie Hewitt had discouraged questioning of the Executive Director – subtle). News courtesy of ED Stephanie ‘my contract means I have nothing to do with personnel & programming – I’m simply ED of the company’ Wells. Adding, this was NETA doing Pacifica a favour. Saving on 8days’ charge. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220922/pnb220922a.mp3
They’re even rubbish at lying. Do they really think the listeners are stupid? Do they really think that no-one notices that ‘saving $8k’ is such an absurd thought? When desperate times demand quality & timely knowledge – not simply information – to have a chance of making quality decisions?
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of there being no August net income statements, & no emergency interim mid September ones? An info deficit meaning that Pacifica is flying blind, with Navigator Steph peering into the gloaming, holding info (thru 31July) that’s almost 2mths out of date? Since when has it been to Pacifica’s advantage to dispense with timely knowledge collated, reviewed, supplemented, & interpreted by a certified public accountant?
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of one last effort by an accounting professional like CFO Julia Kennard to finally convince the
directors sleepwalkers of the PNB that they MUST instruct the ED to instruct the eight accounting unit managers that they instruct their bookkeeper to use the Great Plains system, so that Pacifica has a unitary accounting record, allowing the ED, unit managers, & business managers to see in quasi-real time the depth of the money crisis? (No-one seems aware that’s its old name: for many years it’s been Microsoft Dynamics GP – unless Pacifica’s version actually is from the 1990s.)
But that remedial action requires a recognition that nothing effective can be done in PacificaWorld without two conditions being satisfied: (a) centralised control, with the
directors sleepwalkers using as their principal instrument the ED; & (b) the operation of a control structure – a transmission, enduring – so that the ED controls the station managers. But this would mean the destruction of the fiefdoms, replaced by a different polity, the rule of the centre over the periphery – a rule, in the normal democratic way, with the centre carrying out policies decided collectively by the directors, who in Pacifica’s case happen to be locally elected (call this whole arrangement democratic centralism). And that has proved impossible – the whole of this century.
• A $8k saving, coming at the expense of one last effort by Comrade Julia to take Pacifica to Shangri-La, to get the eight accounting units to use the same list of accounts, with the same definitions: the mythic chart of accounts?
Uniformity, standardisation, consistency. But in PacificaWorld, all are anathema: the spectre of totalitarianism, of authoritarianism, of interfering with local autonomy. But as Freddy said long ago, freedom stems from the recognition of necessity. Reality is obdurate. It can’t be wished away. Doing what has to be done, in circumstances largely not of one’s choosing, simply makes life that lil bit easier – comparing like with like, & saving time, making the audit prep easier & the audit itself cheaper.
But instead, what do we get? No
director sleepwalker said a word. Not one.
Statement + silence, S + S.
The 8days: seems to total either $7 233 or $8 000. The NETA-produced monthlies habitually gave a monthly charge of $27 500 ($330k pa), & did so thru Jan2022, since when there have been three different figures (a fact never mentioned publicly), but Apr thru July it has been $30 417 ($365 004 pa, ~$365k, making it a neat $1k pd). Note, the annual rise, $35k, is an inflation-besting ~10.6% (Consumer Price Index – Urban per Dept of Labor, the year thru Mar2022 = 8.5% – https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
🤲🏽2🤲🏽 No inkling, just Julia dozing – Tu20Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
Two days earlier, there was no inkling of what was to transpire. At the Tu20Sep PNB Finance Cttee, no suggestion that NETA was going to rip up the departure timetable. That apart, this meeting ranks as one of Pacifica’s weirdest. It was ridiculously short – 15mins8secs – given the scale, complexity, & seriousness of what’s happening. (But what do the members, all ~42.6k of them, deserve to know about what’s going on, what the plans are? Anyone would think they own Pacifica.)
ED Wells was there at roll-call, but not CFO Kennard. Although there had been a chat before the meeting:
Sir James Chair James said Julia “did mention that she was gunna take a little rest [James chuckled; then paused, for effect]. We may need to wake her up” (1:42). Obviously thinking he was onto a winner, we then got: “Chair’s announcements is [sic], urgh, just tonight we’re going to have reports from the ED & the CFO – if we [chuckle, but no pause], if we get her out of her nap” (3:07). How we laughed. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/220920/finance220920a.mp3
Julia never turned up.
CFO Julia Kennard also hadn’t been at the previous week’s PNB, Th15Sep: “she will not be here this evening”, said a stern Chair Hewitt (2:21). Of course no
director sleepwalker asked why.
This meant the last time Julia had been heard was at the Tu13Sep PNB Finance Cttee (47:31). This meant there was no public goodbye. So even more reason for PacificaWatch to wish her & NETA a heartfelt adieu! A rare ray of competence, that tried to help PacificaWorld flourish, rather than suffer. NETA performed as centurions – it was just that they were never allowed by ‘governance’ & ‘management’ to have troops. For four years. Adieu! https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220915/pnb220915a.mp3, & https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/220913/finance220913a.mp3
At the 13Sep meeting, Julia said she & Markisha were sharing the work on the Aug mthly net income statements, & they should be produced “by Monday [19Sep], & get them out for next week’s meeting [20Sep]” (49:36). Didn’t happen. At the 20Sep meeting, no-one asked why.
[UPDATE: as of M10Oct, 21days after delivery day, not a word. Is anyone surprised? Is Markisha simply unable to produce the statements? How long will she be trying to do the impossible?]
[2° UPDATE: the monthlies didn’t appear at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee. Neither on the agenda (draft, proposed, amended, accepted) nor mentioned. Guess they disappeared with the departure of NETA. A quirk of NETA – not standard reporting for the likes of a ~$11m-annual public charity. The Cttee members’ behaviour indicates they won’t miss the 9 mthly net income statements – guess they never found them useful or even interesting. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3 & the b-audiofile]
[3° UPDATE: at the Th20Oct PNB, ED Wells, answering a question from Darlene ‘I know a thing or three about BDSM, & it’s proven invaluable at my LSB meetings’ Pagano (KPFA staff-delegate), declared that the Aug monthlies do indeed exist: “[t]he last one we had, umm, that was sent to the Board last month [so in Sep], was, argh, the year-to-date ending August” (18:21). Very odd: they’ve never been mentioned at the PNB Finance Cttee (not even a ‘where the hell are they?!?’); &, as is well known, the procedure for the monthlies is once they’re generated they go first to that cttee, not least for checking, & are then sent out to the 22 directors, the eight unit heads, the five LSB’s, & then on to the four LSB Finance Cttees (KPFA doesn’t have one – coz the LSB majority does its best, at all times, to stifle discussion & minimise participation by Pacifica members: who knows where questioning may lead). ED Wells also went on to give news of the Sep monthlies: “[w]e have not run a consolidated financials yet for the end of September, and Markisha should have that before the next Board meeting [Th27Oct]”. Given this evidence, (a) the PNB Finance Cttee is being cut out of the loop (how can they make informed decisions?!?), (b) the LSB’s & LSB Finance Cttees are being cut out of the loop, & (c) not even one of these excluded boards & cttees has made a public protest. Not for the first time, one needs to ask, why is it that within Pacifica, peeps behave in ways that (a) copy the opacity of our rulers, (b) copy the participation-stifling measures of our rulers, & (c) copy the submissive, indifferent ways that ‘activists’ are banging their heads up against? One should also note ED Wells’ usage of “we”: a Royal ‘we’, or is ED Wells violating California law (Corps Code, § 312(a); this sub-section also requires Pacifica to have a CFO (the “shall have”): which it doesn’t, & hasn’t effective 1Oct) & by-law 9/1, which prohibit an executive director also doing the work of the chief financial officer? The plebs, & the CA AG, deserve to know. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb221020/pnb221020b.mp3; https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=CORP&division=1.&title=1.&part=&chapter=3.&article=, & https://pacifica.org/indexed_bylaws/art9sec1.html.]
•3• ED Steph’s “they’re opting not to use them” met by deafening silence from the
directors sleepwalkers & treasurers – Tu27Sep2022 PNB Finance Cttee
ED Steph ‘don’t look at me, I’m only the ED’ Wells, 8½mths into the job, dropped a bombshell at the Tu27Sep PNB Finance Cttee:
They have them [all the units have the Great Plains software]. That’s the key. They have them. They’re opting not to use them.
ED Stephanie Wells (14:51, emphases added), 27Sep PNB Finance Cttee – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/220927/finance220927a.mp3
‘They’ve opted out’. Making Pacifica what? A polity of actually existing fiefdoms.
And the response of the assembled? Of the 10 Pacificans on the Cttee, only WPFW Treasurer Nick ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ Arena was missing. (A cold? COVID? Maybe a migraine? No, station financial scandal.) So four treasurers were present. Not one responded. Not one. Silence. Deafening.
The scandal, all very hush-hush. The W14Sep LSB, an open meeting, was postponed to W28Sep. But it was then held in secret, closed to the public, violating by-law Art. 7, Sec. 6(C) & the CPB standard: the Zoom page never transitioned to a meeting; & there was neither a stream nor a phone #.
The scandal also involves station manager Jerry ‘I’ve been here since 2015, so give me a break! And it was ED Vernile who made me WBAI’s GM!’ Paris, more recently known as Jerry ‘the difference between a fund-drive statement, a cash account statement, & a bank reconciliation statement? – aren’t they the same?’ Paris. But a resolution was reached, with Nick & Jerry ending up in the Potomac, the local East River. Someone has to pay. Accounts have to be settled. The replacements? Nick’s is Kamau Harris (one of the three certified staff candidates in 2021 – for the three seats), whereas with Jerry they’re still too busy drowning him in the ‘evaluation process’. Nick had been on the PNB Finance Cttee since 19July2016 (he succeeded Eileen ‘it’s Ros-in’ Rosin) – was his passing regretted by Chair ‘wooden as a chair’ Sagurton? You know the answer. As if he never existed.
More important than the treasurers, also present were five
directors sleepwalkers. Not one responded. Not one. Silence. Deafening.
And who were the Pathetic Five, the ones with the exalted legal fiduciary duty, as trustees, to protect Pacifica’s assets?
James ‘I may write in Counterpunch & design space instruments, but I can’t for the life of me come up with a vision for Pacifica’ McFadden (KPFA listener-delegate, & anti-breaker)
PNB Vice-Chair Beth ‘Queen Liz III’ von Gunten (KPFK listener-delegate, & anti-breaker)
Susan ‘I’m able to talk, so I’ll talk, & talk, & talk, & talk’ Young (KPFT listener-delegate, & breaker)
PNB Chair Julie ‘there’s only so much we can say in open session’ Hewitt (WPFW listener-delegate, & anti-breaker), &
Cttee Chair James ‘don’t look at me, I’m only the chair – a wooden chair’ Sagurton (WBAI listener-delegate, & anti-breaker).
You see why PacificaWatch said last July that the anti-breakers are, objectively, breakers? https://pacificaradiowatch.home.blog/2021/07/20/anti-breakers-you-re-politically-bankrupt-accept-reality-but-will-a-new-defender-of-pacifica-arise-qm-fat-chance/
Indeed, Julie Clueless, PNB Chair, was Zen-like thru’out this 39min meeting: she uttered a single word, “here”, at roll-call. I kid you not. And this behaviour of Julie Clueless has been consistent thru’out this whole crisis: bunny in the headlights.
Yes, simply unbelievable.
. . . Jim . . . bat . . . favour/misery . . .
(Julie Clueless was not alone in cosplaying as a near-perfect Quaker: two other
directors sleepwalkers mimicked the leader, Jimmy Mac & Queen Liz III. Leading, all the way to the back.)
All this meant not one director exclaimed in astonishment,
‘Ms Wells, you are the executive director, & have been for 8½mths. You manage the station managers, & indirectly their underlings. So why on earth, Ms Wells, have you been derelict in allowing the unit managers & bookkeepers to objectively sabotage Pacifica’s tracking of money & debt accumulation?!?’
No. Her statement was met with the universal silence. Not even one word. (Where’s Twit Wit Radio when you need it?)
And not one director proposed a motion along the lines of,
‘Given the imperative for the ED & directors to know what the fuck’s going on, the PNB Finance Cttee cannot recommend too highly to the PNB that it immediately instruct ED Wells to ensure that all eight accounting units (the five stations, National Office, Radio Archives, & Affiliate Network) are comprehensively using the unitary Great Plains system as of yesterday, if not 10 years ago. We don’t have time for the whereas clauses: just to say, NETA tried for over four years, and were ignored & resisted by directors & managers alike. But now is now: now it’s up to you, Ms Wells. Impose yourself. Do your job.’
. . . ‘I’m just the ED. They can opt out if they want.’ . . .
. . . ‘We’re just the directors. They can opt out if they want.’ . . .
Sums it up, yes?
There you go, says Lydia.
[UPDATE, of the greatest importance: at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee, Markisha displayed her gross ignorance of the Great Plains problem – speaking, in a timeless way, as if there is no problem. In so doing, she demonstrated that the Great Plains problem remains a key expression of the generative reality, that is, of the Pacifica governance/management problem (25:25 – this is the b-file, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011b.mp3). Of course, no-one pointed out that there is a problem. Absolutely no-one. Not Julie Clueless, the most senior
director sleepwalker, who said nothing. Not ED Wells, who said nothing. And not the other directors sleepwalkers (James McFadden, Beth von Gunten, Susan Young, James Sagurton), who all said nothing. Passive thru & thru. Trying to conceal reality. Unable to point out to Markisha the bombshell dropped two weeks before.
• After all, if the problem had been overcome, then ED Wells, in particular, would have welcomed the opportunity to inform the world, & take the credit. But no. Complete silence.
• After all, if the problem had been overcome, then where are the Aug monthlies, & where are the Sep monthlies?
• Markisha’s display also shows that she currently isn’t using Great Plains! Jesu. Pacifica is really flying blind . . .
• . . . & if it goes into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, there’s every chance the judge will be presented with evidence that Pacifica lacks competent fiduciaries for protecting its assets, be they the passive ED Wells or the Fabian directors who, for example, have chosen not to hire a suitably qualified & experienced chief financial officer to be responsible, on their behalf, for the financial management tasks mandated by California law. If persuaded, the judge will issue a rare order to the Office of the United States Trustee to provide a ‘case trustee’: new management in the house – Title 11 United States Code, section 1104, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCODE-2020-title11/pdf/USCODE-2020-title11-chap11-subchapI-sec1104.pdf; & https://www.justice.gov/ust-regions-r16 (Central District of California; Peter C Anderson).]
directors sleepwalkers never talk to the ED: 38 days of the 92 wasted in search for NETA’s replacement – Tu26July2022 PNB Finance Cttee & Su7Aug2022 PNB Personnel Cttee
So that’s the kinda situation Markisha is supposed to work in. But before getting to the dynamo herself, what happened when NETA gave their notice?
ED Wells thought the
directors sleepwalkers & their cttees were getting things ready. And the directors sleepwalkers thought the ED was racing ahead with things.
Don’t. Talk. To one another.
NETA gave their 3-mths’ notice on 30June2022. Seems no-one noticed. To make all this worse, strong hints must have been given weeks, or even months, before the blood splattered all over Steph’s desk, & the sluice gates opened up to turn her office into a drowning tank. The inner circle – ED Wells, PNB Chair Hewitt, privileged others – knew what was coming.
Despite this, the public record shows that Julie Clueless did nothing. Nor any other
director sleepwalker. Absolutely nothing. This was evidenced by an episode at the 26July PNB Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/220726/finance220726a.mp3. Listen along.
This is how it went.
Director Sagurton: “Umm, I have a question for Julie and/or Stephanie. And that is, in terms of replacing NETA, I don’t, I don’t know where the discussions are on that [I’m only the Finance Chair]. Up to this point I know that there’s been some talk about, umm, trying to muddle on using internal resources for at least [a] period, umm. Don’t know what other explanations [sic] are being made. Argh, but let me just ask Stephanie first, and then I’ll ask a follow-up. Stephanie, do you need any further authorization from the PNB to start looking into how to replace the various functions that NETA provides – payroll, umm, H-HR, etc., accounting?” (20:31, emphases added).
[… ‘you need any further authorization to start that process?’]
ED Wells: “It was my understanding that the PNB needs a – unless there’s a motion that’s g-going to be addressed on this upcoming meeting. I know, I know I thought something had been on the agenda for a while, that the Personnel Search Cttee was going to start that process. And I thought the Finance Cttee, this one, was going to determine what was needed as far as the CFO replacement” (21:21, emphases added).
[… ‘no: Personnel Search Cttee was going to do the starting’]
Director Sagurton: “Do you need any more authorization to do what you need to do? Or are you good?” (21:48, emphasis added).
[… ‘I don’t think you understand: I repeat my Q’]
ED Wells: “I’m under the assumption that since these are fairly large positions, that the Personnel Search Cttee or search cttee through the-a motion as approved by the National Office [sic; no, PNB] would start that process. But I don’t think that I have the [an “OK” interjection by Sagurton] I don’t think that I have the ability to-to hire an HR director or payroll person or finance person” (21:56, emphases added).
[… ‘I don’t think you understand: I repeat my A’]
. . . Kim put James out of his misery, saving the day . . .
KPFK Treasurer Kim ‘(sigh) yes, Bella (sigh)’ Kaufman: “[sigh] Kim to the stack [sigh]” (22:20).
. . . And, of course, The Leader of Pacifica, Julie Clueless, didn’t say a word. Bunny. Headlights.
Obviously, at the PNB meetings of 7 & 21July no
director sleepwalker thought to ask ED Wells what she was doing to replace NETA – even as a prompt, to let the public know what’s happening. Or to ask her in a phone call or email.
And the Chair of the Board obviously hadn’t spoken with the ED for the best part of a month, because otherwise they would have created a timeline, & agreed any division of labour, on how to maintain from 1Oct some financial & pecuniary control over the affairs of the public charity known to California Attorney General Rob Bonta as Pacifica Foundation, Inc.
The Tu26July PNB Finance Cttee debacle provoked a response. It pushed the PNB Personnel Cttee into action. A gentle push: it met 12days later, Su7Aug.
Effectively, this was the last we heard – until everyone started using the ‘M’ word: Markisha. The idea of creating the post of National Business Manager was never broached in a Pacifica public meeting. Let alone there ever being a discussion. And no public meeting even mentioned the idea that there should be a discussion of how to cope with NETA leaving. So also from the local station boards, nothing. In fact, the 120 officeholders elected directly by the ~42.6k members have made it plain that the members deserve exactly what they get.
Enough of the past. Let’s go forward.
Although we’ll see that the present is marked by the past, & shapes the future. And despite what the
directors sleepwalkers may think, wishful thinking is no more than it is, it doesn’t make things better. No, it deludes, it disorientates, it debilitates. It’s self-harming.
🤲🏽5🤲🏽 Pacifica’s first NBM, National Business Manager, Markisha ‘I’m so calm I could be basking in the Gulf – and yes, I’m cooler than Cerene’ Venzant-Sampson
Which brings us to Markisha. Markisha Deshaun Venzant-Sampson. The KPFT business manager & bookkeeper. Not on the station website – but then no-one is. Not even the station manager – violating all sorts of rules, regulations, laws. https://kpft.org/
Markisha. Now also the NBM, the National Business Manager.
Markisha ‘I’m so calm I could be basking in the Gulf – and yes, I’m cooler than Cerene’ Venzant-Sampson, to give her full PacificaWorld name – and yes, it deserves being given twice. But whether her serenity survives being NBM is another matter.
. . . after rush & sorority, there’s always the junior service league – and y’r local Pacifica station – Fort Bend/Southwest Star, 23May2012, page 14 . . . 2012, when Pacifica last had audited net assets at year-end: the $495 924 that was to be wiped out by the FY2013 loss of $2 824 046 – can’t say the
directors sleepwalkers were never warned . . .
Markisha, a fixture at KPFT. She was Business Manager Markisha even in 2003:
. . . this was at the time of the Dixie Chicks scandal over the invasion of Iraq – screenshot of info provided at a reactionary website, 15Mar2003, responding to a statement in the Houston Chronicle by KPFT, https://freerepublic.com/focus/news/865218/posts, & https://www.chron.com/news/article/Chicks-tunes-pulled-after-Bush-remark-With-poll-2121802.php . . .
[UPDATE: two inferences from the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee: Markisha is off the KPFT payroll; & her bookkeeping for KPFT is being paid by the National Office. There are three reasons for this. First, Chair Sagurton never referred to her as the KPFT business manager or bookkeeper, choosing to name her as the NBM (5:11), & saying she would be co-presenting KPFT’s FY2023 budget (5:37). Second, even during the proceedings of that item, at no point was Markisha described as a KPFT bod, be it as staff, employee, personnel, consultant, position-holder. For example, when station personnel was discussed (25:12), Markisha wasn’t included amongst the paid peeps: Howard Reynolds (engineer; the only full-time employee (25:12) – and, given what was said, & not said, he’s presumably the only station employee); & Robin Lewis (development, fund-drives, membership; the only contractor (25:18)). (The two paid workers were named in a recent Houston Chronicle article, 26Sep2022, on the KPFT station-move – https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/theater/after-50-years-two-bombings-and-a-notable-bullet-17462443.) Third & last, Chris Corey had a dialogue with M-Girl, all a bit nod-wink, mysterious (49:56): “Markisha, where are you on this budget […]?” — “I am no longer in this budget” — “[…] I understand why – there’s no need for you to explain that comment […]”. For the listeners, it was a Masonic, secret-society moment. Chair Sagurton didn’t function as the people’s representative, insisting on explication. Par for the course. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3]
And before going into Markisha’s new workload . . .
•6• Markisha: why the secrecy? why the shielding?
Structurally, Pacifica had made itself reliant on NETA, as the range & depth of work grew. A prime part of any executive director’s work is to (a) identify risks, (b) outline coping scenarios, & (c) devise efficacious plans. No evidence has ever been presented that any of the seven relevant Pacifica ED’s have done any of this: in sequence, Tom Livingston, Maxie Jackson, Grace Aaron, John Vernile, Lawrence Reyes, Lydia Brazon, & Stephanie Wells.
• why no Pacifica open meeting discussion of how to cope with NETA leaving, that is, what policy to adopt?
• ditto, if a qualified accountant couldn’t be afforded, would it require the creation of a new post, something not done since whenever, if at all?
• ditto re the job description?
• ditto re the hiring process?
• ditto where to place adverts?
• ditto, if this new post can’t cover everything, what policy will allow the necessary other tasks to be performed?
• why didn’t the PNB Personnel Cttee, in open session, meet to discuss all this?
• why didn’t that Cttee pass a motion, in open session, making recommendations to the PNB?
• why didn’t the PNB, in open session, discuss such recommendations?
• why didn’t the PNB Personnel Cttee, in open session, discuss the mechanics, & timeline, of the hiring?
• why wasn’t her appointment, a Pacifica first, thought worthy of a public announcement at any Pacifica meeting or in any Pacifica statement?
• why was the M-word, ‘Markisha’, simply mentioned in passing?
• (a) why was there no PNB open meeting when the directors decided their policy on how to cope without NETA?
• (b) why was there no PNB open meeting when the directors decided their policy to create this new post?
• & (c) given that this matter concerned personnel structure, not an individual employee – the post had yet to be filled – why did the directors choose to violate the open meeting requirement of the CPB, whose rules Pacifica management & officeholders are trying to adhere to in order to make an eligible application to join the Radio Community Service Grant Program, be it in May2023 or sometime this century?
The secrecy culture continues to cause a loss of trust.
Pacifica: a secret society. A self-harmer.
director sleepwalker or the ED has described what Markisha is expected to do – let alone published a job description. All we’ve had is a job title. No-one has said she even has a bookkeeping qualification – let alone an accounting qualification. The directors sleepwalkers behave as if such thoughts have never crossed their minds.
[UPDATE: at the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee, Chair Sagurton pointedly never mentioned that Markisha has either any bookkeeping or accounting or financial management qualification, or any bookkeeping or accounting or financial management experience. Instead, he said she’s been a Pacifica “business manager” for close to two decades – something quite different!; “has a BA in accounting” – something very different!; & “an MBA in business management” (5:11). And when Chair said, “do you want to take a moment to introduce yourself?” (8:14), Markisha declined (sic). So that’s how it’s going to be. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3]
What’s been said in open meetings has been ‘no, Julia won’t be at the meeting . . . and no, neither will Markisha, “I don’t think for the short-run” . . . in fact, “I think we’ll let Stephanie give reports, and see how that goes”‘ (Julie Clueless (2:21), 15Sep PNB, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220915/pnb220915a.mp3). Of course, no
director sleepwalker said,
‘point of point, madam Chair: isn’t it true that the Board has yet to agree those two matters as policy – and this is eminently controversial: it prevents the directors, who have a legal fiduciary duty to protect the assets of the public charity, from doing their due diligence by directly asking Pacifica’s most senior financial officer, Markisha, what the hell’s going on?’
The plan seems to be an extreme example of the management of National Elections Supervisor Peñaloza: keep Markisha away from scrutiny, & if it’s impossible to quarantine her then say she’s incredibly busy with everything, she can only stay for 10mins, & then get her to give an 11min report so she can’t take any questions. Brilliant!
The inner circle will try to protect Markisha: they don’t want her to be driven out. So, keep her public appearances to an absolute minimum; warn cttee members to think about how they ask questions, & how far they push her; in fact, better to not even mention her, keeping the focus on Steph; etc., etc.
The plan now has a name: ‘the folded-in ruse’. Revealed by Julie Clueless, at the Th29Sep PNB Coordinating Cttee, just before the PNB met:
[p]reviously we had a ‘CFO report and Q&A’, & I b-believe going forward what we’re gunna do since we don’t, umm, tech-technically have a CFO – we have a National Business Manager – but-but the National Business Manager’s report is gunna be folded in with the, urgh, ED’s report, you know, the financials, umm, so we’ll call that just the ‘ED report and Q&A’, so I’m deleting the item that used to be the CFO report.
Julie Clueless (3:03, emphases added), W28Sep2022 PNB Coordinating Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/coordinating/220929/coordinating220929a.mp3
The CFO is dead, long live the NBM!
. . . shielding . . . extend . . . life . . .
And again we got the presumption, an “I b-believe going forward what we’re gunna do […]” – of course, no
director sleepwalker pointed out this isn’t Pacifica policy. Yup, this polity, strictly speaking, is a dictatorship, not a democracy. The Führerin speaks. This is law – it doesn’t even become law, & that’s because the Führerin is law: this is an identity, making transition impossible. Moreover, a speaking Führerin makes voting superfluous. And acceptance of the Führerin’s position means no-one speaks – indeed, their speaking is rendered superfluous for the Führerin speaks for them. Hail!
Meanwhile, given an absence of reassuring words, it’s obvious that Pacifica doesn’t have a single CPA under contract. Certified public accountant – the sort of person who can not only know what’s happening but, crucially, know the questions to ask, & the things to do, to give oneself the chance to discover what’s happening. A bookkeeper doesn’t live in this dimension. Ignorance can be an absence of knowledge, but it can also be the result of a lack of training, a lack of skills configured as competences, that need to be exercised, practised, allowing the opportunity to improve. And a key competence, especially when an organisation is stressed, is identifying the presence of absence. Lacking that, one can easily believe things are under some sort of control, that there’s an inner stability within the turbulence. When those at the centre of Pacifica ‘management’ & ‘governance’ think they’ve managed the latest storm, that they can now take a breather, that’s in fact a moment of great danger.
Which is why Markisha shouldn’t be shielded. Now, with no expert above her, more than ever she needs to be exposed to scrutiny because Pacifica will be seriously harmed if it’s actually the case that Markisha has been promoted beyond her competence – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle.
When the very existence of a ~$11m-annual public charity is on the edge, there can’t be a safe space for anyone. And no-one should be put in a place where they can’t cope. In rational money management, thus basing the accounting/money planning function upon knowledge, no expense should be spared: the alternative is too costly. It needs to be paid for – here, be it diverting some of the annual $365k NETA saving from baying creditors, or having to make redundant 1½ full-time equivalent KPFA employees (~$120k).
So maybe the shielding is to do with a disparity, known or suspected by the inner circle, between Markisha’s competences/habitual practice/experience/qualifications/training & the task before her. Let’s take a look.
🙏7🙏 what work is NBM
KSM MBS MVS supposed to do?
Despite appearances, everything’s under control:
• Markisha can do the mthly 9 net income statements (the 5 stations, PNO, PRA, PAN, & consolidated) – get the Aug ones out by the end of Sep, the Sep ones out by mid Oct, the Oct ones by mid Nov, etc., etc.
• Markisha can do what no CFO has ever been able to do, get Maria to stop holding things up (this is KPFA’s business manager, Maria ‘if you don’t stop your nasty questions about the budget I’m off this call’ Negret – and, of course, her minion, even in these desperate times, “Bookkeeping Assistant, Angie Llarinas” – https://kpfa.org/contact/)
• Markisha can maintain, daily, KPFK’s bookkeeping
• (Markisha’s already doing KPFT’s bookkeeping)
• Markisha can maintain, daily, WPFW’s bookkeeping
• Markisha can maintain, daily, WBAI’s bookkeeping
• Markisha can ensure, daily, that Pacifica’s bookkeeping & accounting is done within a single system, the famed Great Plains – Markisha can do what x number of CFO’s have failed to do since whenever, & persuade the ED to get the managers of accounting units (so including PRA & PAN) to ensure that the bookkeepers use this system
• Markisha can produce, wkly, the 9 analysed aged payables reports (current, due within the contracted period; 1-30days late; 31-60days; 61-90days; over 90days late – note, one needs to take great care with the headings (these are not ‘days since invoiced’) coz otherwise one can misunderstand what’s stated, as evidenced when ED Wells gives info to the directors & treasurers). ‘Analysed’ means the identification of each individual invoice, by amount & date due, grouped by period (so 5 x 9 = 45 sub-lists)
• Markisha can produce, wkly, the 9 accrued expenses reports. (Accrued revenues reports, presumably, figure little – such as sub-carrier accounts.)
• Markisha can produce, wkly, 9 analysed aged receivables reports
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly (if not daily), the 7 bank reconciliation statements (reconciling Pacifica’s books of account to the statements of tens of bank accounts) – and she can check that for KPFA produced by Maria, & PRA’s made by Mariana Berkovich, https://pacificaradioarchives.org/whos-who.
(PRA & KPFK share a building: how is it that PRA has kept a full-time business manager/bookkeeper whereas KPFK lost theirs in 2021, F1Oct, given that KPFK is x7 the size of PRA: FY2021, KPFK annual revenue $2.667m, PRA’s $392k? – p. 33, being p. 36 of the PDF, https://pacifica.org/finance/audit_2021.pdf)
• Markisha can produce, mthly, 9 general ledger reconciliation statements (reconciling Pacifica’s books of account to ‘the paperwork’ – invoices, receipts, bank statements)
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly, the 9 cashflow statements
• Markisha can produce, twice-wkly, the 9 cashflow forecasts (for the obvious periods of 7days, 14days, 30days, 60days, 90days) – necessary, but not sufficient, to plan payments re the aged past-due accounts payable
• Markisha can collate – as a Pacifica first – the 7 sets of fund-drive performance data (pledge goal, total pledged, fulfilment rate, gross proceeds, cost of fundraising, net proceeds), for the 5 stations, plus Radio Archives, & National Office
• Markisha can also set up a system to produce, mthly (if not wkly), 9 balance sheets
• Markisha can produce all the rates of change reports that are needed, as & when
• Markisha can produce all the comparative reports that are needed, as & when
• Markisha can both devise the chart of accounts, & ensure its consistent application by all 8 accounting units
• Markisha can evaluate the design & procedures of the internal audit system she inherited from NETA, make all necessary changes, & twice-mthly & mthly perform all necessary exercises
• Markisha can do the basics of preparing for the FY2022 audit, with the audited financial statements contractually needed by FJC by 28Jan2023: (a) producing the 8 unit FY2022 trial balances, (b) consolidate them, & then (c) produce the 3 draft financial statements, & send them to the FY2022 auditor (the PNB Audit Cttee has yet to discuss whom to recommend to the PNB), before (d) girding herself for the tortuous liaison with the auditor, mth after mth
• Markisha can complete, & file, all the pecuniary forms required by creditors (such as re the $2 258 821 from FJC, & the $2m from the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan programme), regulatory & tax bodies (FCC, state authorities, federal authorities), & even grantors, prospective (CPB, say) or current (perish the thought)
• Markisha can also find the time, twice-mthly (sometimes thrice-mthly), to collate all the payroll data from the 8 units, check them scrupulously, then enter them into the system of “the payroll company”, Paylocity – https://www.paylocity.com/.
. . . this is Markisha’s 23rd generic task – working how long each week? . . .
• Markisha will forego any days off – let alone holidays – coz she doesn’t have an assistant – let alone a colleague – who can step in to do all this essential daily work
[UPDATE: after the removal of the last wisp of cotton wool, Markisha was led into the room by Steph, to make her first public appearance, the Tu25Oct PNB Finance Cttee (54:48). She spoke for exactly 100secs, 100secs, so Pacifica members are really getting their money’s worth (55:21-57:01). She said two things, and two things only, but they spoke volumes: she doesn’t have a report, & in fact she isn’t the NBM but the CHC, the Creditor Hotline Clerk. CHC Markisha. Apparently she can’t do any national, or local, business managing coz she spends all day getting calls from creditors, angry calls – all day long. Markisha really needs to tell her union steward she has to file a misrepresentation claim against her employer. https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221025/finance221025a.mp3]
🤲🏽8🤲🏽 Is Markisha proximately responsible for the financial management tasks mandated by California law? If not, who?
[to be written-up
M17Oct Tu18Oct Su23Oct Su30Oct at the latest … incl.: CA Corporations Code, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codesTOCSelected.xhtml?tocCode=CORP&tocTitle=+Corporations+Code+-+CORP; CA Government Code, 2/3/2/6/7, https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?lawCode=GOV&division=3.&title=2.&part=2.&chapter=6.&article=7.; CA AG guide, https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/media/Guide%20for%20Charities.pdf .]
[apologies: finishing a quantitative piece on KPFK heading for repeater operation, given
(a) the current fund-drive’s $3 500-3 600 average daily pledged: in the first week, “daily average, so far in this drive, for a week, is $3 600” (Kaufman, Tu11Oct PNB FinCttee, 53:26 – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011b.mp3), dropping by the weekend, “the fund-drive is making $3 500 a day” (Kaufman, Su16Oct KPFK LSB, 2:29:18 – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/221016/kpfk221016a.mp3) … & @78% fulfilment (the latest disclosed rate, per the Oct2021 & Dec2021 drives – praps a current understatement: with donors presumably fewer, maybe they’re more motivated to come thru), $3 600 pledged = $2 808 gross proceeds ≃ $2 800.
Despite the turn of phrase, esp. saying ‘making $x’, it’s imperative to appreciate that Kim is spkg. not of cash but of pledges.
Four reasons: (i) she doesn’t give two totals, cash & pledges, & give the derived current fulfilment rate; (ii) with the info being current, she has no way of knowing if, say, yesterday’s pledges & payments will come thru as cash; (iii) during a drive itself, the certain figure is pledges made, not what cash will come thru; & (iv), the killer, the 2nd quote continues immediately by contrasting this pledge level with that used in the FY2023 budget: “the fund-drive is making $3 500 a day. The budget was for $5 200 a day [no: $5 333]”. And what’s in the budget? It was presented to the earlier Su28Aug KPFK LSB, & it explained how its drive cash figure, “$790 245”, was generated: drive days = (5 x 30) +12 in Dec = 162, x $5333 daily pledged (so the mth pledge goal is $160k) = $863 946, yielding $790 245 cash. Noticeably, the fulfilment rate wasn’t disclosed – and no-one asked!?! – but it’s 91.469%, ~91%, & this is worthy of comment: the latest disclosed rate, as mentioned, is 78%, meaning the budget figure is a rise of >13 percentage points, & the actual percentage rise is a Burger King 17.268% ≃ 17%. No justification has been given for this. An actual rate for KPFK higher than 78% has never been spoken, or intimated, in a Pacifica open meeting. Habeas data! https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfk/220828/kpfk220828a.mp3 (from 42:35, with the cash figure at 43:18).
(KK’s speech at the Su16Oct KPFK LSB continued immediately as a reality check: “and that budget was a million dollars in deficit, so that’s more than just bad, it’s like really, really bad […] And then there’s all November with no revenue coming in […] and there’s really no other money from around the network to help us out […] It’s worse than bad […]” – intelligent verbatim transcription. And Ms Reality Check has ruffled the wrong feathers – again, as she did in Apr2015, https://kpftx.org/pacalendar/showfile.php?id=3663&type=agenda (charge sheet from the PacificaWorld Feds, 30Apr2015 PNB) & https://pacificainexile.org/archives/554. She may still have majority support within the KPFK Finance Cttee, but that counted for naught at the LSB, as shown last Sunday: they sacked her as station Treasurer. What was particularly nauseating was witnessing delegates who have demonstrated no evidence of knowing anything about the finances of either Pacifica or KPFK piling in with gusto, when if they had an ounce of integrity they would have asked pertinent questions & certainly abstained (most egregious was Mr Funmaker, who took his seat that very day (sic), someone who’s never made a contribution to a station meeting, in either public comment or the Zoom chat). But no, the herd trampled all over her. Another victory. Dizzy with success . . .);
(b) the station’s cost structure being treated as obdurate: the ‘cut to the bone’ refrain, although ~63% of budgeted FY2023 non-CS is personnel costs (pm: $90k ÷ 143k), ~13½ FTE – whereas KPFT has 1 FTE (the engineer), sic, with the longstanding development/membership/fund-drive bod paid as the single consultant (hello, IRS!) … (i) re the $90k, Kim ‘(sigh) yes, Bella (sigh)’ Kaufman: “the total salaries, line 62, I’ve just put in what we’ve been doing this year […] the total for that is – for this year, for the current year, which is the same as the budget – is $1.1m” (39:37, intelligent verbatim transcription), & ÷ 12 ≃ $91 667 pm – Su28Aug2022 KPFK LSB … (ii) re the $143k, non-CS expenses total “$1 718 533” (48:14; she misspoke: it’s $2 more), & ÷ 12 ≃ $143 211 pm – W24Aug2022 KPFK Finance Cttee, https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/kpfkfin/220824/kpfkfin220824a.mp3; &
(c) Pacifica’s unchallenged dominant ideology of Reaganite/Thatcherite ‘pull y’self up by yer bootstraps’ & ‘Pacifica as a series of household economies (the stations), not the network as a single accounting unit’, & in being non-reflective it’s cemented into the spontaneous understanding of what’s at stake & how to respond – even though, as explained in this blog (section 3, 19Nov2021), the Articles of Incorp’n specify “the facilities”, not ‘the facilities of each station’ or similar formulations.]
directors sleepwalkers must disclose the hierarchy of their decision rules (& its justification), & how they’re using them in addressing the debt-service crisis
The decision rules hierarchy:
• so, how to rank selling the Pacifica building in Berkeley rather than the one in Los Angeles, the latter also housing the temperature-sensitive Radio Archives? What criteria are being used? In this single matter, what are the time-dependent conditions that have been identified?
• if a single swap is envisaged, what’s the justification for it being not KPFA’s but KPFT’s?
• as KPFA has a paid staff of ~31 full-time equivalents (FTE), on what basis should this be dropped to 15 rather than 12?
• generally, how to decide, for example, whether to raise cash from either selling a building or making redundancies at scale – for sake of argument, a one-off $1m net proceeds from a sale (including after FJC take their share: ⅓ of the valuation they hold) or make 12 FTE redundant at KPFA for an annual $1m gain (as KPFA Treasurer Chris ‘Janus’ Cory would say), 12 x $80k, a gift that keeps on giving, yr after yr?
So many questions. So many decisions to be made. So much silence in how the
directors sleepwalkers, how the inner circle, are going about things.
But why do the closed meetings hardly ever say whether any decisions were actually made, & their subject matter? There’s no confidentiality at stake in such disclosure. Just the secrecy habit of ‘the culture’.
• real estate – https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_220915.pdf (accessed from Pacifica homepage, https://pacifica.org – left-hand ‘button’, the lowest of the low)
• a trial – of course, all part of PacificaWorld’s bread & circuses: locally we get the 2022 Potomac Incident, & nationally the demand for court appearances of Donny ‘do you think I care?’ Goldmacher and the stars of Macbeth & Hollywood films, creeping across the heath, chanting “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air”: Carol ‘she spoke! remove her from the meeting!’ Wolfley & Christina ‘Nurse Ratched’ Huggins – https://pacifica.org/documents/pnb_exec_220922.pdf
• and signal-swapping, slipped into a PNB meeting, the fateful 22Sep one, when ED Steph said she had been told by a resolution (obviously of a closed session) to “meet with a signal broker […] I did meet with someone […] we were just discussing valuation reports & population counts for two of the stations” (12:22, emphases added) – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/pnb220922/pnb220922a.mp3. So, which ones? On what basis were they chosen, the application of what policy? And why is this info kept secret? Of Pacifica’s ~42.6k members, why should they be excluded, unlike the privileged 20, the ‘station’ directors? (1% = 426.) Do those who fund the network not deserve to know what is being explored ‘on their behalf’? Who knows, maybe they even have something to say on the topic?
[UPDATE: two points from the Tu11Oct PNB Finance Cttee. (1) Re downgrading to a repeater station, after a few mths of silence, it popped up again at this meeting – at least in its agenda: “9. Repeater Station estimates and questions (10 minutes, Kim Kauffman [sic])” – yes, time wasn’t extended to reach it (nor to reach “8. Executive Director’s Report (20 minutes)” – https://kpftx.org/archive.php (not available as a separate file). (2) Cuts are being carried out, but thru the filter of the Pacifica secrecy culture there have been no unit-level details. However, Chris Cory noted in passing, surprisingly without a false laugh, “there’s been a little chaos at KPFA […] but […] it seems like things are starting to settle down” (13:08). So this is likely to be the station – absurdly anonymised – where employees’ hours were being reduced. In one of those PacificaWorld coincidences, he has been AWOL, missing two or more meetings, at a time when he might have had to face a pointed question or three – https://kpftx.org/archives/pnb/finance/221011/finance221011a.mp3.]
directors sleepwalkers & the ED, given the level of their public discussion, provide little evidence that any of them know, with NETA gone, what it’s going to be like flying blind. The guessing the pattern of fires – coz waiting for them to break out will be too late.
Now is different from previous years without audits & financial control: now it’s touch-&-go. Touch-&-go whether the mass of debt, ever increasing, can be serviced. The supply of cash is barely enough for personnel costs, utilities, tower, office, insurance, paying FJC quarterly, & the inevitable premiums. The cumulative threat to Pacifica is now existential. Hence recent talk of being in a Chapter 11 situation.
The open meetings are funereal. Solemn. Why? Peeps allow themselves a lil peek into the black box, allowing themselves an inkling of a reality check – and they can’t completely suppress their distress. But this is nothing compared to what’s coming. The fund-drives starting early October at the five stations – the biggest of the year – will provide some cash, but once that’s eaten up, the fires will do their work.
Pacifica is being turned into a kill-box.
. . . a genius indeed . . .