Sunday, June 28, 2009


Two correspondents have left the "Comments" below that deserve a more lengthy response. below are these Comments with my discussion following each one:

"Anonymous said...

Richard, it's intriguing to see that you are now giving Kathy Manning a "pass" in your repetitive attacks on Joe Kanfer, Michael Gelman, and Howard Rieger. Could it be that you harbor hopes that she will listen to you in a way that the current leadership team clearly decided not to?If so, I expect that you're going to be disappointed.

The problem is that beyond the generalities, the substance of what you have consistently recommended for UJC is little more than a return to the "good old days" of UJA. In your version of history, everything was hunky-dory till Howard and Joe appeared on the scene. Would that it were so!

I got a chuckle reading your appreciation of Jacob Berkman's imagined future for the federation system and UJC, primarily because you didn't seem to realize that what Jacob is advocating is almost exactly what Joe Kanfer has been urging for the system (Jacob himself gives credit to Joe at one point).

I share your hope that the new team of Kathy and Jerry will be able to respond effectively to the many challenges facing UJC and the federation system. If they do, it will be by building on the admittedly painful process of the last several years in which the remnants of a system that was already on a downward spiral have been cleared away and space created for a new beginning."


Giving Kathy a "pass" as a matter of endearment and getting back in the game. Kathy would no doubt disagree. This correspondent once again failed to comprehend (and may be unable to) that any issues I have had with Kathy's leadership has been her deferral to KanferRieger, apparently failing to understand that in creating the position of Co-Chairs, the framers of UJC intended a "partnership" at the top of the organization of equals. The misperception that created the appearance of obeisance on the part of the Chair of the Executive to the Board Chair has given rise to my suggestion that the owners eliminate the position of Chair of the Executive entirely. (And I am not the only one who has made that recommendation.) In fact let's do it now.

My recommendations would merely recreate UJA while Joe's desire for "change" has been thwarted by, I guess, the federations and me. This comment evidences the writer's serious reading comprehension issues. If by urging that leadership be expansive and inclusive, that UJC stop "comprehensive planning" and rewriting Vision and mission statements, stop flitting from one "plan" to another, engage with federations on substance, encourage debate and observe the requirements of UJC's own governance, I hark back to the days of UJA (and, for that matter, CJF) so be it. Wouldn't you? If you can actually identify a plan or program demanded by Joe that the system adopt that would effect real systemic change, please let us know.

This leadership has swept away the remnants of a system that was in a death spiral. This red herring has been repeated so often as to now be asserted as truth. Sorry, "this leadership" has, as I have written, merely substituted a simulacrum of what UJC was intended to be. It is an organization that was on the move upward 5 years ago and is now headed to the precipice. We'll see whether Kathy and Jerry can take the wheel and turn the ship around before it is too late if it isn't too late already.


Then here was the following

Anonymous said...

Yes, by Collins’ “Good to Great”criteria, UJC seems headed to an ignominious end. Even Jerry Silverman's selection flies in the face of what Collins teaches. Although maybe non-profits should not be compared to profit-making companies, the negotiations over Jerry’s compensation package – reported to be the “hang-up” in his selection as CEO -- are a warning signal. In Collins’ world, CEO compensation bears no relationship to performance.

That Jerry has apparently sought a compensation package of more than $700,000 flies in the face of this finding. If true, and if it has not been rejected by UJC leadership, it is appalling. Values about service to the Jewish community aside, we’re in the midst of a crisis. Many are in need and many of my fellow professionals have lost their jobs.

Jerry, as of two years ago, was being paid nearly $500,000 to run a $16 million organization (FJC) and perhaps it’s reasonable from his perspective to want more to run a $30M organization. But is it appropriate? Isn’t there anyone competent – with a sense of Jewish values and a commitment to the community – available to run UJC? Or, is the UJC so debased that only hard cash can be used to motivate a new CEO.


If in fact the new CEO has negotiated a financial package as described in this Comment, shame on us, shame on our "negotiators" -- in fact, shame on the Foundation for Jewish Camping for the compensation that Jerry was receiving from it for running a $16 million organization. This entire Search appears to have been motivated, on the UJC side, by a desire for someone allegedly coming from "outside the box" and on the candidate's side by a desire for cold, hard cash out of all proportion to his experience or, as this Commentator has put it, "a commitment to the community."

I can understand, all of us can, that attracting a new CEO would be a monumental task given the deconstructed organization that is being left for her or him to clean up, to resurrect, that is no excuse for UJC's "negotiators" to agree to compensation that, in this age of economic crisis or, for that matter, any age, can only be characterized as obscene.


Thanks for writing.



Anonymous said...

Now we know what "bad for morale" really to negotiate for a higher CEO salary.

Must make all those 60-70 laid off employees of the last couple of years feel just swell.

How is the new UJC CEO (and his senior staff) going to have any credibility with Federations, many of whose CEOs and senior staffs have recently taken salary cuts?

It's hard to see who is more clueless--the incoming CEO or the UJC negotiating team.

Anonymous said...

only 9 out of 21 large-city federation execs have taken salary cuts. the new york and chicago execs - the two largest feds - have not done so.

RWEX said...


I don't know where you get your information but I was in the room when Chicago's CEO announced that he was cutting his compensation. I can't speak for New York but, if you have your facts incorrect with regard to Chicago ...

At the end of the day, what is your point? That the UJC CEO need only reduce his compensation (or, G-d forbid, have it reduced) if all of the Large City Executives reduce their's? Is this about doing what's right or about some kind of contest?

Anonymous said...

The FORWARD article from earlier in June says that Nasatir (Chicago) cut his salary by 10%.

And don't forget the senior staffs of many Federations that have also cut their salaries, and frozen those at lower levels.

All of this is totally absent at UJC, even though their supposed "owners" are facing tough times. It's totally outrageous on so many levels...and a horrible reflection upon the Federation system and the wider Jewish community.

Anonymous said...

Ruskay and UJA fed NY senior pros have NOT taken pay cuts. the forward article has a great quote from the UJA fed NY's communication's team rationalizing this move by explaining that senior federation leaders have actually seen their work loads increase since they have downsized, thus pay cuts are not warranted. (paraphrasing)