Keep KBOO True to Its Values
Background information on KBOO member petition:
We are calling for a special membership meeting to ask for the removal of Board President Ruban Lawrence and Board Vice President Danielle Parks. Since the Board’s decision to remove Delphine Criscenzo as Station manager in January 2019 (She had submitted a letter of resignation for September 2019, but was told to pack her things and leave the day after submitting it), Danielle and Ruban have been calling themselves the Board Executive Committee and have taken on the role of Station Managers. - in violation of KBOO bylaws, including Bylaw 6 section 14, which clearly states that a member of the Board may not serve as a staff member simultaneously (regardless of compensation).
Ruban and Danielle need to be removed from the board for cause and must immediately stop operating as Station Managers. By taking on this role they have caused real harm to KBOO. In the Board’s firing of former Evening News Director Rachel Hartley, they created a rift between KBOO and many of our African American volunteers and the wider community. They have done nothing to bridge that rift since.
Creating a culture of fear/anxiety:
Under their style of management the atmosphere in the station has grown increasingly tense, anxious and even fearful. Members of the staff and board have been found in tears about the situation and staff members have reported panic attacks when having to enter the station. All this, and they have spent unknown amounts of KBOO money hiring attorneys and an HR person to give them advice that has resulted in the current situation.
Ruban and Danielle have misused our House Rules, penalizing staff and volunteers for non-verbal expressions or even normal disagreement, and in this way have attempted to silence dissent and disagreement with their directives.
When Ruban and Danielle took on the role of Station Managers they said their tenure was to be temporary due to a "Crisis". It has now been nearly 6 months and they are still holding that position. They have repeatedly turned down offers by experienced former staff and by current volunteers to serve as interim Station Manager.
A long-term, valued volunteer was banned from the station in January in response to a ‘complaint’, and this was never followed up on, leaving that person in limbo, violating the timeline and process laid out in KBOO Policy #5 – and creating a chilling effect among volunteers.
And on May 20, 2019, Ruban and Danielle put the Volunteer Coordinator and Union Shop Steward Ani Haines on leave with no explanation whatsoever for five days, throwing the community and station into turmoil, not having any information about what was going on. Only 5 days later did they tell staff that Ani is under investigation due to a complaint from a volunteer – but they refused to follow KBOO’s Policy #5 that was set up for such investigations, and have failed to tell staff or volunteers what the timeline and process is that they are using instead of Policy 5.
Failure to work collaboratively with staff:
In April the staff in a unanimous and extraordinary move wrote a letter to the entire board asking for a return to the collaborative relationship between the staff and Board. Zale and Ani took this letter to the April Board meeting. They specifically asked to have a collaborative group work on the re-writing of the employee manual and in the formation of the committee to hire a new Station manager. The board went into closed session. After emerging from the closed session, a board member speaking for the board said, they agreed, they also want to have a collaborative board/staff relationship. Ruban, as Board President, told the staff members present that they would get a response in writing within the next business day. No response was ever given to the staff’s request for collaboration.
Instead the President and Vice president formed a hiring committee dominated by themselves and began interviews for the Station Manager position. In this committee, they have included a paid Human Resource Consultant, and have advertised the position as being focused on “managing a union workplace” - which, through their words and actions, would clearly be construed to mean “busting” a union workplace. A long-term African-American volunteer had been told by Ruban and Danielle that they would like her to be part of the hiring committee – but they did not include her in the hiring committee or even contact her after that.
Both Ruban and Danielle have made statements at different times that “the union is requiring us to do this” - in direct contravention of the statements made by the union representatives themselves. They are treating the union as the problem – but the real problem is their practice of fighting the union instead of working together in a collaborative way to resolve issues. By choosing to fight minor grievances instead of compromising, they may be costing both KBOO and the union unknown thousands of dollars.
Since the union was formed in 2013 in response to a management crisis similar to this one, the union and management have generally had a good working relationship. Up until Ruban and Danielle came to power, the union has never needed to file an Unfair Labor Practice complaint against KBOO management – but now there is one, and there may be a second one because of Ruban and Danielle’s failure to begin a hiring process for the Membership Director position and extending the 90-day interim period three times.
Under Ruban and Danielle’s management, the Union is now at the weakest it has ever been – whether that’s intentional or not, it definitely has the look of union busting. Right now 3 out of the 11 union staff positions are held by interim staff. The union agreement says that interim positions can only be for 90 days or less, in order to ensure that KBOO doesn’t engage in the practice of hiring people without an open hiring process and without union protection.
This leaves, with Ani out, just three full-time employees in the KBOO union (out of a staff of 11) – two of whom are brand new employees (Engineer and Development Director), and the Finance Coordinator.
Secrecy and lack of transparency:
On May 22nd, 2019, the Board held a Secret (no public notification) and offsite meeting in violation of CPB guidelines on Open Meetings, and KBOO Bylaws. This is not the first secret meeting that Ruban and Danielle have convened during their tenure. According to KBOO Bylaws - Article VI, Section 13 on Open Meetings, which states, “With the exceptions stated herein, the Board of Directors, its committees and other committees created by it shall hold open meetings preceded by reasonable notice to the public. However, the Board of Directors, its committees and other committees created by it may hold closed sessions to consider matters relating to individual employees, proprietary information, litigation and other matters requiring the confidential advice of counsel, commercial or financial information obtained from a person on a privileged or confidential basis, or the purchase of property or services whenever the premature exposure of such purchase would compromise the business interests of the corporation. The Executive Committee may also act by polling its members by telephone. If any such meeting is closed pursuant to the provisions of this section, the reasons for doing so shall be stated in the Board or committee minutes.”
This means that any meeting by the Board of Directors must be announced to the public and notice provided – even if the meeting consists only of opening the meeting, then going into closed session for the entire time, then re-opening the meeting at the end.
We, the undersigned members of the KBOO Foundation, call for a special meeting of the KBOO Foundation membership in order to vote on the removal of KBOO Board members, Ruban Lawrence and Danielle Parks, for cause, and to discuss any other matters brought up by the participating members.
The Keep KBOO True to Its Values petition to KBOO Radio was written by Free KBOO and is in the category Media Issues at GoPetition.