I remain a JFNA Board Member. In that capacity, following JFNA's refusal to share with me the "agreement" with SS+K (See, Post, Shepardson Stern and
Kaminski, LLC -- Who Are These Guys?), I requested a copy of a Consultant Contract from Pam Zaltsman, JFNA CFO. Her response to the request was terse: "...JFNA doesn't share its contracts." Hmmm, yes, friends, JFNA locks away "its" (aren't those Contracts, "ours"?) contracts just as Donald Trump locks away his tax returns.
It would be easy to just dismiss this denial to a non-profit Board Member of a basic right; but this is too important. A Board Member's duty of inquiry is vital to the success of any and every non-profit, not just JFNA. But JFNA doesn't recognize that duty, in fact it resents it and it rejects it absolutely and in every way.
I recognize that JFNA and others need to place reasonable restrictions on the potential distraction that inquiries might create. That would be fair. But, inasmuch as the CFO's announcement of a "policy" appears to be nothing more than an ad hoc fiat created at the whim of the CEO, not an adopted "access" policy of the entity, it is but another pathetic example of misguided professional action that has come to typify JFNA. And, from all indications, the CEO is doing so with the implicit if not explicit approval of the JFNA Board Chair.
I, and others, have over time, asked for full disclosure of the number, extent and amounts of JFNA's consultant contracts -- while the number of undisclosed consultancies in excess of $100,000 increased with non-disclosure from the five in 2013-14 to 15 in 2014-15 -- an increase of 300%. And not one of those agreements has ever been reviewed and/or approved by the JFNA Board. We are talking about $6,528,000 for unidentified "Outside and Professional Services" in the 2016-2017 Budget -- the second largest expense category; almost more than JFNA invests in Program. That "Outside and Professional Services" Expense line is up 8.3% over the prior fiscal year and makes up 12.3% of total expenses and Board Members (at least this one) are told: "...JFNA doesn't share its contracts."
Several years ago we observed the impropriety of JFNA delegating (how or why we never learned) to the Marketing Committee the determination of how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with no approval by the Board or the Executive Committee. That request for information was just ignored. That's how JFNA conducts its business..and it's wrong and it's pathetic...and it's dangerous.
We see $6.5 million unaccounted for and unsupervised...and, now, we have come to understand that there is no accountability for these expenditures. If JAFI had a $6.5 million line item with no back-up, no lay review, no approval process and no disclosure, is there any doubt that JFNA lay leaders on the JAFI Board would be ballistic, demanding accountability? If our federation budgets had a line equivalent to $6.5 million for which there was no accountability and no disclosure and an inquiring Board member were told "...we don't share our contracts," I guarantee that change (in every way) would be immediate.
But, of course, this is JFNA...and not one cares.