Subject: CPB regulations
Dear Mr. Anderson:
I was a board member at KZYX for about 9 months last year. Unable to persuade the rest of the board to comply with the rules, regulations and laws, and under advice from an attorney, I resigned rather than be an accomplice to what was going on.
I was told by the election committee and later by the board itself, that the primary duty of the board was to raise money. This is not correct. The board is charged with overseeing the finances and keeping the operation transparent and is the direct supervisor of the general manager. I was denied access to the books as well as to posting articles on the website, even though the articles were puff pieces about programmers and the like.
This was punishment for trying to do my job.
I uncovered that the station is paying $200+ per month on a 6 year lease for a copy machine, including about 15 cents a copy for each copy made.
The station only prints, on average, about 100 copies a month, all in black and white, due more to election mailings than internal documents. I was told that the employees like to make a lot of personal, color photographs and the GM, Jeffrey Parker, was quite happy with this arrangement. He told me that I should travel to Philo to attend weekly employee meetings, find out what the employees wanted, and do their bidding. A really good, brand new black and white laser copier can be had for the cost of 2 months lease, plus we would own it. After the 6 years are up, the leased copier will still be good to use, but the station must return it to the dealer at that time.
I learned that one full time employee was literally doing nothing, but the GM told me to ignore that because this employee was probably going to retire in a few years. Stuart Campbell was the treasurer and kept all the finances secret from the board. He presented the board with the fact that his wife was surreptitiously hired as a full time employee in a secret process that usurped the board's duties and violated all kinds of stuff. Then, he "resigned" from the board, as required, but continued to attend private board meetings and may also still be running the finances.
The current board president, Jenness Hartley, who was handpicked by her predecessor without discussion, is a party to this secrecy and refused to even raise these issues at board meetings.
The board is the laziest, most irresponsible board I have ever seen. They are all too busy being important and beautiful people to perform their duties and don't even know what those duties are. Stuart Campbell has been running a constant tab on a line of credit that costs the station $11,000 in interest every year. He takes the CPB grant money to pay down the line of credit, then there are insufficient operating funds which makes him run up a new tab. He could easily cut that out, live within a generous budget, and save the station a lot of money, but he says that he needs the line of credit in case emergency funds are required. However, if that were to happen, we should have a zero balance owing rather than being maxed out, and no repairs have ever cost anywhere near the $11,000 he is throwing down the toilet.
Attached is a copy of our Corporation for Public Broadcasting agreement. We are in gross violation of said document and the penalties are so severe that the station would immediately go dark. I also have a written copy of the KZYX bylaws, which the board is also in gross violation of. If you want a copy of the bylaws, let me know and I'll send them to you.
I hope this has been helpful,
It certainly has been helpful, Mr. Minson. Sarah Reith, the KZYX reporter, is Campbell's girl friend. Campbell should be severed from the station immediately.
Odd as it may seem to people unfamiliar the Mendocino County Public Radio, but Larry Minson’s public complaints about the functioning of station management is the first public complaint from a station insider since the station’s murky beginnings a quarter-century ago. Two recent hires, prior to the present manager and program director, simply fled, referring vaguely to a “toxic environment” at KZYX’s Philo headquarters. I’d say toxic and, over the years, creepy, a kind of audio Little Shop of the Horrors. The nut of the problem at the station, apart from the self-interested nuts who glommed on to the enterprise at its non-public founding by a hustling entrepreneur called Sean Donovan, is the closed nature of the enterprise. It’s always been a publicly-funded private club presided over by a rubber stamp board of trustees but run by an insider claque of station employees and entrenched programmers.
As an at-large candidate for the board who has no hope of election, here’s what I would hold out for if, by some fluke, I found myself partially responsible for the station’s cooked books and its recumbent staff:
1. An end to the station’s lengthy blacklist
2. An honest, fully explained budget
3. The combining of the positions of general manager and program director into one position for one salary
4. A morning news hour focused entirely on local matters with call-ins, thus giving locals a reason to tune in, thus expanding the membership (static for years now)
5. Increased visibility of the station beyond the in-County lib-pwog echo chamber it presently is
6. Term limits for programmers and a requirement that they pay the station $20 a month for air time
7. Prompt, candid and civil replies from management to all inquiries
8. A requirement that each board member bring in at least one new member every month
9. A working person’s membership at $20 a year
10. Basic civility from all employees