The board of directors of the Pacifica Foundation terminated Executive Director Summer Reese Thursday, according to an email sent early Friday by outgoing board treasurer Tracy Rosenberg. (UPDATE: Board Secretary Cerene Roberts has confirmed Reese's dismissal. "We thank Summer Reese for her service to date and will not continue her employment effective March 14, 2014," the board said in a terse statement, offering no explanation.)
Reese's termination comes five months after the Pacifica board gave her the job, which she had held on an interim basis since August 2012. Reese became interim executive director after the board dismissed previous ED Arlene Engelhardt.
Dismissing Reese burdens Pacifica "with a new $315,000 obligation to buy out a 3-year employment contract signed just a little while ago," according to Rosenberg, who added:
Given the financial pressures on the organization (exacerbated by 3 of the 5 stations recently missing fund drive goals, all but KPFK and WBAI), it seems likely the board's action will result in the forced sale of one or more real estate assets,
This latest return to the days of constant lawsuits draining the foundation due to reckless behavior by boards will not be welcome news to many.
The motion was made by Dan Siegel's employee Jose Luis Fuentes, who joined the Pacifica National Board less than six weeks ago. He is not believed to have had more than one conversation with the executive director prior to February 10th.
The foundation remains under CPB audit status and the latest turmoil is likely to further delay over a million dollars in funding to the stations that is being held for governance errors by the board of directors.
An attempt to contact Reese was unsuccessful. We'll share more details as we get them.