Thursday, April 23, 2009


Yesterday I published a parody. Some have written me to suggest that others might think I actually was drafting a transcript. No, not the case.

As has been reported elsewhere: the Executive Committee did approve the 2010 Budget but not without some serious questions from federation leaders for which there were no answers; the Dues Proposal was not voted on, deferred but not denied until a discussion with JDC and JAFI leaders. There was discussion, however, which suggested to some the absolute confusion the Proposal itself has wrought. While I have some of the details, and find UJC leadership's continuing verbal attacks on JDC leaders and federations which have resisted paying Dues for a variety of compelling reasons, as unreasonable as some find this Blog to be, let's defer that discussion to a later date.

Let's focus for a moment on the reasons that UJC stands (or crumbles) today at a point where 1/3 or more of its owners are so disengaged that they will not or cannot pay the full costs of their membership. A 2010 Budget with revenues from only 2/3rds of the federations -- how would that work exactly? The Chairs and CEO can express their rage or outrage, as the case may be, but the reality is and has been that these federations sense that they can no longer afford the full support of an organization that promises little and delivers even less. Yes, UJC Washington has produced more for some federations than those federations may pay in Dues but is that an answer when a given federation may argue that it will pay its pro rata cost of Washington but nothing more because it believes that it benefits from nothing more and that neither do the vast majority of federations?

It's too late now for the current leaders, but in their rage had any UJC leader sat down and tried to figure out how to make all of UJC as relevant and meaningful to the federations as UJC Washington is? Trust that this leadership has been so involved in their personal agendas, in trying to locate a "Big Idea," that they have forgotten or never knew that their jobs, their roles, were to be the link between the federations and the things that federations want and need. No one at what is now 25 Broadway bothered to listen and the self-selected leadership circle of what -- five lay leaders from Akron, Greensboro, Delaware, D.C. and North Shore, MA -- never listened to anything other than the sounds of their own voices. And, therefore, periodically, with ever-increasing frequency, a small group of federation CEOs -- well-meaning, proven leaders of community and People -- stepped in to essentially try to rescue UJCs leaders from themselves but were unwilling to acknowledge the seriousness of the totality of the circumstances that have led us to today. And, now they and we all are paying the ultimate price. And, still this UJC leadership refuses to acknowledge any role whatsoever in what is happening, has happened, to our national organization that we need so much to be successful at this most critical moment in time in North America.

We can't let UJC self-destruct. If the current leadership will not step aside, then it is incumbent upon a "coalition of the willing" to come together and engage to recreate UJC as if the current leadership were not there. Let's start with that meeting among federation lay and professional leaders, JDC and JAFI and begin the reconstruction starting there. The walls of UJC are a-tumbling down already, my friends.



Anonymous said...

In the corporate world, a senior exec's resignation is announced when the successor is identified, preferably on board. No lame ducks, no vacuum in authority. While every individual at UJC (like me) is nervous about his future, the board and exec can and should be courageous enough to right-size the organization. It wouldn't hurt to start from "zero" and build up to what (and only what) the people paying the dues and allocating the bucks need.

Trouble is, Howard is a lame duck and is leaving for a reason, therefore, no authority to push through the difficult changes, therefore, a little haircut, and leave it for the successor (oh, when?)

Meanwhile, we all got cutesy Purell dispensers this week...

Anonymous said...

Too bad the king of Purell will be "dispensing" with 31 UJC employees in a somewhat messier manner.

Best of luck to those 31, and to those at JDC and JAFI who will be out of work due to this scheme.