KPFA local board, staff object to Pacifica’s removal of station manager

Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949
Original KPFA radio dial, circa 1949

Pacifica’s top official moved to oust KPFA’s interim general manager, Andrew Phillips in a phone call on April 12th. Phillips told KPFA’s elected Local Station Board (LSB) on April 13 that interim Pacifica executive director Summer Reese told him to vacate his office within a week. Here’s a report that ran on the Pacifica Evening News.

The LSB passed two measures in response. The first states: “The KPFA Local Station Board opposes any move by Pacifica to remove or replace a KPFA manager without the meaningful participation of KPFA’s elected Local Station Board and consultation with KPFA’s paid and unpaid staff.” This resolution passed with a vote of 15 yes, 1 no, and 4 abstentions.

The second states: “Based on the information we have as of this date, the KPFA Local Station Board supports continuing the tenure of Andrew Phillips as interim general manager until the process of hiring a permanent general manager is complete.”  The vote for this one was 14 yes, 0 no and 3 abstentions.  Several members crossed factional lines to vote for (or abstain on) these resolutions.

Phillips was given the job in early 2011 by then-executive director Arlene Engelhart, and he faced widespread criticism – including a vote of “no confidence” by the local board in September 2011. Subsequently, Engelhardt rejected the LSB’s recommended pool of applicants for the permanent GM job.

By most accounts, Phillips had grown on the job and won support from many quarters. But the issue isn’t only about him.  It’s about local control at KPFA, Pacifica overstepping its authority, and a fair, legal and democratic process for hiring and firing.  | WRITE Pacifica via this pageSIGN petition, LISTEN to the KPFA LSB meeting: part 1 (manager’s report followed by discussion starts at 23:30), part 2

Several in-person meetings of KPFA’s paid and volunteer staff have overwhelmingly supported the essence of these resolutions, and over 60 workers have signed a public statement (page 1 | page 2) insisting on a full investigation before any action is taken.

The Pacifica National Board met on April 25 behind closed doors and presumably discussed the situation at KPFA. On May 2, Pacifica suddenly put Phillips “on leave” and installed a new interim manager. | REPORT on the Pacifica Evening News

Phillips was given the job in early 2011 by then-executive director Arlene Engelhart, and he faced widespread criticism, including a vote of “no confidence” by the local board in September 2011. Shortly afterward, Engelhardt rejected the LSB’s recommended candidates for the permanent GM job.

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