May 1, 2008

Shroud of secrecy over "Issues" extended to BCS

The minutes from the last Board for Communications Services meeting have been released. Key items gleaned are that David Strand acted alone, without notifying his board, and that the board is sharply divided (4 against "Issues," 3 in support). Much of the meeting was conducted under a "shroud of secrecy," i.e., executive session; however, some aspects of the meeting are summarized. What is particularly interesting is the following passage, revealing that 1) the BCS was not informed about the financial problems in the LCMS and how it related to "Issues"; 2) there has been a lack of communication regarding the "strong inclination" of some to take "drastic action"; 3) the action (assuming severance packages) would not result in significant savings; 4) the program had been praised by the board in the report to the last convention; 5) problems with station management have not been addressed.

Discussion among board members focused on the lack of information regarding (1) the extreme pressures to reduce expenditures because of the significant shortfall in the Synod’s unrestricted funds, and (2) the strong inclination expressed by some officials to take drastic action relative to KFUO. There had been no indication in previous board meetings that this program, or any specific program on KFUO, and its personnel were at risk of the action taken. “Issues, Etc.” had been cited in the report to the 2007 synodical convention as a model of AM program national syndication, and as recently as November the board’s Subcommittee on KFUO Intervention had
indicated that no savings this fiscal year were likely to result from staff reductions because of the cost of severance packages. Some board members were satisfied that the action was rightfully taken by the ED and the chairman of the BCS according to the board policy manual; others expressed disagreement, along with concern and dismay that a decision with predictable public ramifications would not be preceded at least by board consultation and preferably action. Lack of knowledge of the ED’s action led to a number of awkward situations when questions were addressed to some board members. Concern was also expressed that station management has
apparently not been properly tasked with making the necessary budgetary decisions and reduction of expenditures.
It is very difficult to read a passage like that and believe that this was handled properly. You can read the minutes by clicking here. You can read other comments here, here, and here.

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