Pacifica Foundation Board won’t renew contracts for two top executives

By Elizabeth Jensen

The national board of the Pacifica Foundation voted Sunday (July 22) to begin a search for two new top executives. The board will not renew contracts for Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt and Chief Financial Officer LaVarn Williams, which both expire Nov. 30. The two were invited to apply for new terms in their positions.

The action was reported in an email to the SaveKPFA listserv and confirmed by Margy Wilkinson, chair of the local station board at KPFA, Pacifica’s Berkeley station, who attended the meeting.

In a separate, related action, budget cuts totaling $1 million at Pacifica’s five radio stations, ordered by Engelhardt in the wake of an auditor’s report, were put on hold (Current, July 9). A motion passed on Monday (July 23) by the board ordered the stations to assess their upcoming income and expenses and submit plans to deal with any projected shortfalls. “It requires the local stations to take responsibility for their own problems,” instead of submitting to across-the-board cuts, said Wilkinson, noting that Pacifica’s two California stations, KPFA and Los Angeles’ KPFK, are both in relatively good financial shape. The plans are due July 30.

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