Interim KPFA manager leaving, but Pacifica’s Engelhardt refuses to follow bylaws in replacing him

Just after the recent fund drive ended, KPFA’s interim general manager Andrew Phillips announced he’ll be leaving as of June 30. KPFA’s Local Station Board (LSB) had been interviewing candidates for the permanent general manager position, and passed this resolution last month objecting to Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt‘s apparent refusal to do her part, under the bylaws, to finish that process. The LSB had interviewed candidates and chosen a pool of 3 it found qualified. The bylaws require Engelhardt to hire a GM from that pool, but Engelhardt dragged the process out for months, then refused to make a choice.

KPFA board member Conn Hallinan, who headed the GM search committee, made this 5-minute report at last month’s LSB meeting, concluding that the rights of KPFA’s listeners and staff to run their station were being “eviscerated.”

KPFA’s local board chair Margy Wilkinson and vice chair Sasha Futran met with Engelhardt on June 5. Engelhardt told them she was not going to hire a permanent general manager from the LSB’s pool, but was instead looking for another interim GM to replace Phillips. She said she was talking to 4 people “suggested by media and communications professionals.” When Wilkinson and Futran pointed out to Engelhardt that this was the second time in her tenure that she was moving to appoint a manager without any consultation with KPFA’s local board or staff, she had no response.