1. There was this response to the Post on the strange episode of the SS+K "secret agreement" sent off-line from one of the most respected professionals both inside and outside our system:
It appears quite clear that JFNA considers itself not only above the law but above its fiduciary responsibilities.So it sounds to me that JFNA had better rethink its (non) explanation...it wouldn't hold water with the IRS.""I was really taken aback to read about the mysterious $1 million consulting firm.You're the attorney and from everything I know from (almost 5 decades) in the field, you have it exactly right. I can't imagine that staff consulted general counsel and got a go ahead with a project like this, or at least with the "explanation" of what it is. As a CEO these past 30 years or so, I always felt and preached that my core responsibility was to protect the welfare of the organization. And perhaps nothing else is more important to protect than the organization's tax exempt status. Without this, you're dead!This is the family jewels--if you lose it you're sunk--no one will give you a nickel.
It is also clear that JFNA's lay leadership is in total agreement that its staff may stonewall on the terms of and parties to what they have determined (on what basis we apparently shall never know) to be an appropriate contract (se 2., below) but which may well be an unlawful conduit agreement -- would the IRS and the Non-Profit Division of the New York Attorney General's Office agree with JFNA's leaders? And, if either or both disagree with JFNA's entry into this mystery $1 million contract and its refusal to disclose, what might the consequences be?
2. More (or less) on the SS+K deal. When I was denied the opportunity as a Board Member to review the contract with SS+K, I wrote Richard Sandler with a copy of my Post on the subject.. He wrote back and assured me that he had reviewed the purpose of the contract, that JFNA has an active role in the contract implementation, the purpose of which was/is Israel advocacy, that the contract had been reviewed and approved by JFNA's auditors, and approved by his predecessor and the CEO. So I guess everything's just fine.
3. Thanks to CEO Jerry I could write a Post every day -- it's merely my maturity and restraint that holds me to three a week (and, on occasion, yes, 4). So there was the inanity that appeared in another sermonette from the Smilin' One -- this one titled "Successful Leadership Starts With The 'Who.'" (Possibly not referring to the English rock band.) Jerry appeared to intend that this one be some form of paean to Mort Mandel, but, as is the norm with Jerry's meandering, confusing writings, it went off-course early and often...very often. In adapting Mort's lessons on the quality of leadership and the best and brightest, Smilin' Jerry demonstrates a remarkable lack of self-awareness; he clearly did not understand that applying the Mandel leadership standards to himself would have illustrated how far this CEO has fallen short.
Our CEO cited Mandel as follows:
Yep, written by our "'B player' in chief." G-d bless him."Those people, he says, have to be the best in terms of intellectual firepower, values, passion, work ethic and experience. These kinds of employees are the A players. C players generally quit or are fired, while B players hang on—they're not so bad that you have justification for firing them, but 'they can't help you win the pennant. They cheat you from achieving all you could,' thus preventing an organization from soaring to greater heights."
4.. That preeminent publication -- FedWorld -- continues to astound. Just a couple of weeks ago the rag led off with the following cite:
- Inside Philanthropy—As philanthropy grapples with an aging nation, where do the arts fit in?
The chachams at 25 Broadway responsible for this thing have no reason to understand that it was JFNA back in the day which led the abandonment of the system's National Foundation for Jewish Culture. (Hellooooo The Alliance) Nor would they have read the article in Inside Philanthropy itself; I guess because the article had "philanthropy" in the title, that merited inclusion.