Embattled Pacifica director to exit immediately

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EngelhardtThe financially troubled Pacifica Foundation has new interim leadership following an Aug. 16 vote by its national board to immediately replace Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt.

Board chair Summer Reese said in a brief telephone interview Friday that she will step into the post as interim executive director of the radio network, which has been grappling with a financial crisis in the wake of  a recent auditor’s report questioning its future prospects. Reese said the transition, which will take two weeks, is being “handled amicably.” She said Engelhardt was not fired, but declined to elaborate on the board’s actions or how the transition came about.

The board previously voted in July to begin a search for a new executive director and a new chief financial officer, but had indicated that Engelhardt and current chief financial officer LaVarn Williams would finish out their contracts, which run through Nov. 30. Both women were also invited to reapply for their jobs. Reese said the board took no additional action at its Aug. 16 meeting regarding Williams.

System-wide budget cuts that Engelhardt had ordered remain on hold during the transition period, Reese said.

Engelhardt could not immediately be reached for comment.

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