Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I hope that the new lay Chairs at JFNA will read this...or that someone will bring this Post to their attention. I can think of few things that reflect the sorry state of the professional maladministration at JFNA, always distracted by bright shiny objects, than the Anonymous Comment received earlier this month.

"It is interesting to have received my first "personal" letter (albeit, an email) from JFNA in the last year....the classic "Year End Cash Call" letter.

--No calls to see if there could be a service rendered.
--No calls to encourage the community to raise money for Israel under seige.
--No calls to provide a speaker, leadership training, professional assistance, motivation, support

Oh yeah---that all disappeared years ago.

At least they used my name in the email and remembered to "nem the gelt" before the end of the year.

BTW We consistently send more than our "fair share" overseas and remit the funds far in advance of collection.

At least I won't have to hear from anyone for another year...."

What has happened at JFNA to reduce it to the organization (if that's what it is) it has become? The total focus on the ever more ridiculous Global Planning Table (more on that coming up); the waste of the Fest (now, apparently over); the total ignorance of financial resource development, the Annual Campaign or any other; and on and on...

It's beyond time for our lay leaders to take a careful look at how the CEO/President is (or isn't) running this $30.3 million annual enterprise. That is lay leadership's responsibility, after all. It strikes me, as it must so many that the evidence is in -- that Silverman's refusal to hire a competent second in command for what is now over three years, is the insecurity that comes from knowing, as he must, how woebegone he has allowed this treasured asset to become under his leadership, and his fear that a strong COO/EVP might overshadow him going forward. 

Silverman allowed the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the seminal Federation-led Freedom Sunday to be coopted by other organizations (he was disinterested); he allowed JFNA to walk away from the message of collaborative fund raising just as this big idea was taking hold in our system; he has, with several albeit few, notable exceptions, not hired strong professionals  (and let one with such promise, Joanne Moore, go); he has allowed JFNA-Israel to become a mini-empire without notable achievements for our communities; and he has endorsed the worst of the Global Planning Table, among other flawed paths.

But that's just an outsider's observations. Let the new Chairs make an independent objective evaluation -- something that has not been done over these 3+ years by those who were charged with doing so. (Calls to JFNA Board members asking "Don't you think Jerry is great" doesn't qualify as an objective evaluation -- or any other kind.)  And, to our Chairs, please hurry,



Anonymous said...

Your solution of allowing the current chairs time to evaluate for themselves seems flawed to me. It is almost the same problem as with Congress. The representatives get elected to a two year term and by the time they conduct the studies in order to make a decision it is the end of their term and they have lost interest leaving it to the next administration (unless they are running for re-election.) Add to this problem that the board of JFNA meets infrequently. In otherwords, at the first meeting - when is that, late January, they might call for an evaluation/assessment of Jerry to be completed by the next meeting - when is that late April/early May. Even if by that time they decide to end the relationship it will take some time to move forward with a change plus finding the next person - with no obvious successor in place. So by then we will have wasted another 8-10 months and another $20-30 mil.

Anonymous said...

The most creative thing the last two CEO's of the organization did was their hardball negotiation of their employment packages. If we are to go out on another search msuggestions are A. That the compensation package be set in advance as a amount based on the average of the top 50% compensations of large city executives. B. That executive experience in Federation be an absolute prerequisite for the position and C. That the new CEO agree to a professional advisory committee to be informed and consulted on a regular basis.