KBOO Members Demand Resignation of Prez, VP
For misappropriation of funds, intimidation of Staff, and creating an oppressive atmosphere at the Station
Last night, the KBOO Board room was, for the fourth month running, full of concerned KBOO members seeking explanations and remedies from the Board for the crisis at the Station. The Board, however, was not present. The explanation was that it was not possible to get a legal quorum, as so many Board members were out of town. Instead, there was a general discussion touching on the current crisis, and a consensus was reached to demand that the President and Vice President step down, or failing that, follow bylaws legal requirements in the wake of the successful petition to set up a Special Membership Meeting to force their resignation.
To sign the petition (if you are a KBOO member in good standing), follow this link:
At last count, five hundred and twenty people have signed the petition. That is vastly more people than voted for any Board member.
This is the letter read out loud to the group:
Dear Ruban and Danielle,
We appreciate your recent effort to remedy some of your errors as Board leaders, for instance by hiring an interim station manager. However, your record on the Board has instilled distrust, and we ask you to step down from the Board for the good of KBOO.
You have undermined KBOO's progressive values and egalitarian ethos, undermined the staff union, taken actions hostile to workers, and undermined the station's financial stability. For some of these actions, you may face legal action and financial penalties. By resigning from the Board, you will protect the station and other board members from potential legal and financial liabilities and will help restore trust of the membership and allow the station to recover and thrive.
We therefore ask you to resign from the Board for the following reasons:
Undermining the station's financial stability
• You have violated KBOO's fiduciary trust by promising payments to parties without appropriate prior approval from the Board of Directors.
• You have hired outside consultants for dubious reasons, promising more than $13,000 for services including matters which should not require outside consultation (for instance, seeking legal advice to avoid complying with a request for the membership list that was clearly permissible according to bylaws); services that have been ill-performed (for instance, an unusable "attendance" policy, an inequitable position description); and apparent attempts to circumvent the staff union.
• You have failed to bring in any large donors, as is customarily one role of members of boards of directors.
• As noted below, your behavior in violating union agreements and singling out a union shop steward risks a costly lawsuit in response to unfair labor practices.
Undermining KBOO's progressive values and democratic ethos
KBOO has long dedicated itself to equity, diversity, and serving historically marginalized communities. KBOO has exceeded EEO requirements for providing internships, training, and community education, and has also required all staff, board, and key volunteers to attend Beloved Community Anti-oppression trainings in alignment with the mission of radical equitable social change. (See https://kboo.fm/eeo-reports.) Yet your actions have turned the station away from egalitarian structures and from anti-racist aspirations.
• Our previous station manager had given nine months' notice that she intended to resign. This would have been more than enough time to recruit someone to replace her who is aligned with KBOO values. Although she sought to work with you, her overtures were rebuffed. This was in spite of the fact that the station's affirmative action plan stipulates that "KBOO shall provide on-the-job training for employees" (policy 13, section V), suggesting that employees should expect guidance and answers to their questions.
• In spite of this, you summarily fired her. Immediately afterward, in January 2019, you declared yourselves station managers in contravention of the bylaws (Article VI, Section 14) and without a vote.
• Without consulting staff, volunteers, or other board members, you released a revised, more authoritarian job description for the station manager that would give the position more power, contrary to current practice; for instance, language acknowledging that the station manager works with staff and volunteers (2017 description: "Help ensure KBOO programming is evaluated..." ) was revised to give the Station Manager sole responsibility (2019: "Evaluate KBOO programming...").
• You removed equity language from the Station Manager position advertisement and failed to advertise the position in venues likely to reach underserved communities, in contravention of the station's affirmative action plan and the values expressed in the program charter. (Affirmative action plan available here: https://kboo.fm/section-i-2-foundation-legal-requirements)
• After abruptly firing the PM News and Public Affairs Director in February, as self-appointed station managers you took no action to mend the rift that your action created with African American community members. Again, she had sought support in line with policy 13, section V, the station's Affirmative Action policy.
Undermining the union and hostility to workers
• By not filling open staff positions, you reduced the number of workers represented by the union, since interim staff are not part of CWA.
• You flouted the station's conflict resolution procedures to pursue a seemingly punitive investigation of a staff member. While policy allows for employees to be suspended and programs removed from the air for cause at the completion of a two-week process, in this case, instead, the staff member was placed on leave and taken off the air first, and the investigation has continued for eight weeks (so far). You also ordered an investigation to be conducted by an outside contractor who is widely believed to have a preexisting bias against that staff member and has no experience in such investigations. Should this case result in an attempt to terminate this employee, the resulting labor relations suit could be extremely costly and union officials believe it would likely result in the staff member's reinstatement.
• A series of staff terminations, excessive discipline of staff, and hostility to staff have engendered distress and anxiety among workers. Despite the staff's pleas with you to return to a spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and equity that has long been part of the station's culture and in line with stated mission and values, you have maintained the lack of transparency and antipathy to staff. Your behavior toward the union has not reflected good faith.
Your actions have in some ways seemed to be attempts to remake KBOO in line with a more conventional and corporate business model. This runs entirely contrary to the stated mission, goals, and values of the foundation and station, and would be sadly misguided. Moreover, in light of the objections of staff, volunteers, and other members, your persistence at this point reflects hubris at best. At worst, your actions risk the stability and continuance of the station, and thus raise further questions about your possible motives.
We have over 500 signatures on a petition--more than enough to call for a special membership meeting in order to vote on removing you from the Board. If we have to send notice of this meeting to the membership and rent a suitably large venue, this will incur further expenses for the station. This can be avoided if you leave the Board voluntarily. In light of all we have stated here, and for the good of KBOO, we ask that you resign immediately from the Board of Directors.
The committee for a free KBOO
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