Of course, whatever the "off the top" option chosen, if it mandates that the base core allocation at some level, be sacrosanct, then the federations would still have to find budgetary resources to satisfy UJC membership. So where are we? Well, to find out, UJC decided -- in some instances on two business days' notice (sent out on March 19, with a requested response date of March 23) -- to survey the federations. This is what they sent out:
"IMMEDIATE RESPONSE REQUESTED
In preparation for the April 6th UJC Budget and Finance Committee meeting, we have been requested to help promptly gather information on:
1. Budget decrease taken mid year due to economic conditions.
2. Estimated budget changes for fiscal 2009- 2010.
3. Actual or estimated changes to local and overseas allocations for
Fiscal 2009 - 2010.
This trend line information will be most helpful to the committee in its forthcoming deliberations.
A response by reply e mail by end of business Monday, March 23rd will be most appreciated. Many thanks."
The responses were "requested" by yesterday, apparently so they would be ready in some form by today. Would it be unreasonable to ask why UJC wasn't collecting this data from the onset of the economic crisis? Probably. Doesn't UJC have much of this data from Federation Peer Yardstick? Probably not -- program remains too small. Or is the "survey" being conducted to enable UJC leaders to attempt to argue that as federations themselves are not cutting their own budgets by, e.g., 30% so "why should we?"
Whatever, it seems clear, if anything about UJC is ever clear, that UJC will attempt to use this brief meeting on April 6 (serendipitously, "Opening Day" for Major League Baseball as well) to enlist the rubber-stampers to not only support a much smaller Budget cut than that requested/demanded by a growing number of federations but also to drive the decision to reverse 10 years of practice by taking the UJC Budget "off the top" of the allocation for Israel and Overseas. This to UJC is, as they would claim as well, was an FLI attended by one-third of the federations, a "transparent process." I have already Posted UJC Leadership's transparently phony invitation to JAFI's and JDC's Board Chairs to come to a meeting for unspecified purposes -- no Agenda, no follow-up and, significantly, no date. The apparent intent is to reach some conclusion today, document it, get it approved on April 6 and present JDC and JAFI with a fait accompli; decide in haste, repent at leisure., one of UJC's many tag lines.
I read something appropriate to this mess recently. Jane Stern of the estimable food-writing twosome, Jane and Michael Stern, authors of the Roadfood books, was asked at a panel discussion whether she ever returned the next day to a place where she didn't like the food. She replied, "If we think the food is no good, we don't wait around for it to get better." What are the federation owners waiting around for?