Monday, May 6, 2013

Notes: UPSO General Membership Meeting 4-08-13

In attendance:
Adrienne Lauby* (facilitator), Malihe Razazan, Shahram Aghamir,* Tim Lynch,* Ann Garrison,* Carla West, Ruthanne Shpiner (via phone), Andrew Phillips, Anthony Fest

* = UPSO Council Members
1.  UPSO Update
2.  Planned Delay of next UPSO Election
3.  Hiring Committee Report
4.  Staff Meetings
5.  Report from Interim Manager

The meeting began at 7:10 pm in the KPFA Performance Studio


Adrienne summarized the UPSO Council's recent activities since the last general meeting:

passed resolutions calling for
  • regular staff meetings
  • unpaid-staff representation on hiring committees
  • no further hiring for the Up Front program

arranged workshops for unpaid staff on
  • social media (taught by Clay Leander)
  • using the studio board (taught by Carla West)
  • nonviolent communication (coming soon)

Tim Lynch has been talking to Engineering staff about doing phone interviews via Skype
 (and a new phone system this fall may make that easier)

The Council has also discussed unpaid-staff representation on other KPFA committees, besides hiring committees (e.g. fund-raising committee).

AGENDA ITEM: NEXT UPSO ELECTION (discussion & resolution)

Adrienne: the Council members are concerned that if we hold the next UPSO election twelve months after the last one, that would put it in October, and thereby probably overlap the LSB election.  The Council members would prefer extending the current terms slightly, and holding the next election early in the new year.

Resolution: the current Council members' terms be extended until the next election is complete, and that election process should begin January 15, 2014.

There was some discussion of election issues, such as verification of hours worked.

The members present approved the resolution (7 yes, 0 no) but the proposal will also be circulated to the membership via email.


Ann Garrison was the unpaid-staff representative on the hiring committee for the Subscriptions Assistant position; she summarized her thoughts on the committee's activities:

  • I thought it was a fair process and a big improvement over previous hires (where there was little transparency) 
  • I drafted a written report to be sent to the UPSO membership, not naming applicants, but describing the hiring-committee's process, and how it might be further improved.
  • I sent my report to the hiring committee first, and that started a heated debate on email. I was even threatened with a libel lawsuit (so I consulted a lawyer and was told there'd be no grounds for such a suit). I resent the flaming emails, but as an unpaid staffer, what recourse do I have??

Tim Lynch: I've been on hiring committees at UC, and it would not be normal practice to have a written report from a hiring committee.

Andrew Phillips: I was worried what might happen next [after a report was made], given the history of litigation at KPFA. I would rather have the committee do a post-mortem meeting.

Adrienne: there ought to be some kind of report, so the next UPSO rep to the next hiring committee can benefit from Ann's experience.

Shahram: if the report was entirely about process, I'd be okay with it being made public.

Adrienne: Andrew, there should be standardized hiring-committee procedures. And the bullying Ann experienced was unacceptable.


Adrienne: except when there's a crisis, not much usually happens at staff meetings... just lots of comments and opinions... so where is the real work of running the station done?

Andrew: I don't think it would be possible to conduct business via staff meetings... decisions are made by management.   But, for example, in the leadup to the Up Front program going on the air, there were staff meetings held and input taken.

Shahram: some matters have defaulted to management because, for example, there's no Program Council now... haivng staff meetings isn't a substitute for restoring the Program Council.



  • NFCB: the NFCB conference will be in San Francisco next month, and KPFA will pay for two unpaid staff to attend (the conference fee is $400). The early-registration deadline is April 19.

  • Development: I sent an email around to programmers to think of projects they'd like to have funded; we can have Goal Busters look at these ideas and see how they might match up with grant possibilities.

  • Pacifica: the East Coast stations are in very serious trouble financially, with relocation costs and weak fundraising. It's not clear whether they can survive.

  • Personnel matters: the Pacifica National Board is conducting a search for an Executive Director.  The KPFA Local Station Board is beginning a search for a GM and a Program Director.

  • KPFA birthday: KPFA turns 64 on April 15, but the celebration (with Wavy Gravy et al) has been canceled due to lack of interest (only about 20 responses to 1000 invitations). But Tim Lynch and Sally Phillips will plan another birthday event, to take place later in the year.

  • Project Censored article: I have an article about Pacifica in this year's Project-Censored book (copies of the article were handed out). I'm somewhat sorry I wrote it, given peoples' sensitivities about the issues, but I wouldn't change 80% to 90% of it. There is a two-tiered system at KPFA, and the unpaid staff subsidizes the paid. But that's the way it is now.

After some discussion, the meeting ended at about 9:00 pm.

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