New Pacifica board chair fires executive director Bessie Wash, agrees to court-supervised mediation
October 24, 2001: NEW PACIFICA BOARD CHAIR FIRES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
AGREES TO COURT-SUPERVISED MEDIATION
Pacifica's board chair, former Los Angeles city councilman Robert Farrell, tonight announced he has fired Executive Director Bessie Wash.
Wash, formerly station manager of Pacifica station WPFW, was named executive director by a board then controlled by former chair Mary Frances Berry.ÊÊShe has presided over a total deterioration of the network and its finances, including the banning of Pacifica's only remaining nationwide program, "Democracy Now," the "mainstreaming" of the once alternative daily Pacifica Network News, now the target of a boycott and a strike, the "Christmas Coup" at WBAI in New York, which resulted in dozens of staff members being fired and banned, and the expenditure of an estimated two million dollars on legal fees, public relations firms, and security services.
Farrell has also agreed to a two and a half year old demand from KPFA's staff and community for mediation of the dispute which began in April, 1999 with the firings of popular KPFA station manager Nicole Sawaya and long-time Pacifica national affairs correspondent Larry Bensky.
The mediation, under court supervision as part of four pending lawsuits on behalf of listeners, national, and local advisory board members, is scheduled to take place November 1 in San Francisco.ÊÊA report published in today's San Francisco Chronicle says that Farrell, fellow board member Wendell Johns, and newly appointed board member former D.C. mayor Marion Barry will represent Pacifica.