When I published SO MANY THINGS ARE NONE OF OUR BUSINESS on January 16, I didn't anticipate that so many leaders of the 400 non-federated Network communities would write to comment on the sorry state of JFNA-Network relationships and related matters. But, they did...and their voices need to be heard here because they are no longer heard there. I am saddened by what I've learned...because I had predicted these outcomes (though not nearly as dire) when I wrote two years ago about the Board Chair's "outreach" and promises to Network leadership after their "rebellion" upon learning how much of their raised funds were being applied by JFNA to its budget.
Here are just a few of the points raised by my friends in the Network:
~ The Network campaign has fallen from $10 million annually to $5.5 million under its new professional leadership. Close to a 50% drop is both unheard of and unacceptable, of course -- except at JFNA.
~ While the 2011 Network annual campaign (the only one run by JFNA) was cratering, the JFNA professional in charge gave the Network staff the last week in December off. Guess they had been working way too hard to achieve a close to a 50% reduction in campaign and all those Jewish and secular holidays and contractual vacation time just weren't enough.
~ As a "solution" to the issues raised by the Network leadership in 2008-2009, Kathy Manning appointed a Committee to study the Network and report back...to her. The end product, the Network Executive Committee, a body of lay leaders elected by the Network and thoroughly committed to the Network and its goals -- men and women of character, leadership, commitment and high achievement -- was eliminated, substituting an "Advisory Committee" that she appointed out of her "vast experience" with the Network (uh, make that "none"). Presumably, this Advisory Committee is made up of those who are JFNA.
~ Steve Scheck is the new Network Chair. A terrific leader from a great leadership family in Miami, Steve had no experience in the Network, came from outside of it and is now expected to chair its work. This would be strange were it not JFNA where, you will recall, the immediate past Chair of Israel-Overseas was from a community that made no allocation to the core budgets of JAFI/JDC.
So, questions: who is running the Network -- the lay leadership (now defenestrated at Ms. Manning's direction) or the professional leadership (and just what is the CEO/President's role here -- does he even know what's going on?) where, I am told, more than 1/2 the professional staff has left since Rhea Attias's firing?
The treatment of the Network is wholly reflective of the "new culture" at JFNA. It's ugly.