Report: Pacifica board dismisses executive director after five months on the job

By Mike Janssen

The board of directors of the Pacifica Foundation terminated Executive Director Summer Reese Thursday, according to an email sent early Friday by outgoing board treasurer Tracy Rosenberg. (UPDATE: Board Secretary Cerene Roberts has confirmed Reese’s dismissal. “We thank Summer Reese for her service to date and will not continue her employment effective March 14, 2014,” the board said in a terse statement, offering no explanation.)

Reese’s termination comes five months after the Pacifica board gave her the job, which she had held on an interim basis since August 2012. Reese became interim executive director after the board dismissed previous ED Arlene Engelhardt.

Summer Reese

Reese

Dismissing Reese burdens Pacifica “with a new $315,000 obligation to buy out a 3-year employment contract signed just a little while ago,” according to Rosenberg, who added:

Given the financial pressures on the organization (exacerbated by 3 of the 5 stations recently missing fund drive goals, all but KPFK and WBAI), it seems likely the board’s action will result in the forced sale of one or more real estate assets,

This latest return to the days of constant lawsuits draining the foundation due to reckless behavior by boards will not be welcome news to many.

The motion was made by Dan Siegel’s employee Jose Luis Fuentes, who joined the Pacifica National Board less than six weeks ago. He is not believed to have had more than one conversation with the executive director prior to February 10th.

The foundation remains under CPB audit status and the latest turmoil is likely to further delay over a million dollars in funding to the stations that is being held for governance errors by the board of directors.

An attempt to contact Reese was unsuccessful. We’ll share more details as we get them.

  • PacListener

    Rosenberg has posted highly partisan information about Pacifica for some time, and is not a reliable source. Reese has no radio experience and was often interfering in the programming at each of the stations. Reese terminated staff without proper authority, placing WBAI on the hook for severance pay it could not afford. As it is, to make deadline, Reese directed that KPFA have $50,000 taken from it to meet the WBAI severance pay deadline, and there is still more to be addressed before the severance pay issue is fully resolved. As Pacifica Treasurer, Rosenberg went along with this.

  • AmyGrateno

    Disappointed that Current would publish a bunch of unverified opinion from Tracy Rosenberg, who has been an unreliable source at Pacifica for some time. Her claims merely serve to damage the network she claims she wants to support. The KPFA local station board censured her for misappropriating the station’s email list, and thousands of listeners worked to recall her from the board. Please get the real story and publish a correction.

  • PacListener

    UPDATE: Despite having termed out of her office as a Director in January, Rosenberg claims that she is still Pacifica Treasurer until she is replaced, which is a misinterpretation of California non-profit law (it covers board members, not officer posts). Under Pacifica by-laws, the Treasurer must be a Director. She has also indicated that once she is replaced, she will reveal and release confidential personnel, financial and legal information, including executive session actions, as she claims that she will no longer be required to honor fiduciary responsibilities.

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