Thursday, April 26, 2018


As I write these Posts, I schedule them for publication three to four weeks in advance, sometimes even longer. While sometimes I have to shuffle them based on some new matter, in general, I can leave them in the order I have set for their publication.

This Post was written in part on October 21, 2017 and it was completely and absolutely wishful thinking. I sensed that the LA-GA would be the optimal time and place for the announcement that Jerry Silverman, after 8+ years of futility and worse would retire at the end of his current contract term. The niceties would be observed: Jerry will remain on board to mentor his successor, yadayadayada...but he will be leaving. 

My wishful thinking was five months premature. And I have no reason to believe that the decision to retire was anyone other than Jerry's himself. Even as others have speculated to me that Richard Sandler engineered this "transition," nothing in Sandler's non-performance as Board Chair suggests that he was up to that task.

While to some, it's "better late than never;" to me it's a "retirement" long overdue. I wish Jerry well in the future wherever his career, his retirement may take him. It's very hard to bring myself to congratuate Sandler and his claque for doing that which they should have done long, long ago; because I believe that had this been up to them, they would have just extended Silverman's contract beyon 2019 -- because this is what they do.

It is not just time for Jerry to announce his retirement but to negotiate a modest severance and be gone -- not in JFNA did not need Silverman as CEO -- he proved that for almost 9 years -- JFNA certainly doesn't need a lame duck Jerry 

I am concerned as always not just with the present but with the future. If JFNA is to have one, the Search process will have to be the first serious Search that has been undertaken in its history.

We thought there was a serious search to choose the first JFNA CEO at the time of the merger -- and there was until the LCE made it clear that the choice would be the retiring NY-UJA CEO, then the "dean of federation CEOs," usurping the search function and, in effect, making a mockery of it. The ones since were, first, a series of LCE succeeding that first one until incoming Board Chair Manning dictated that Howard Reiger's successor would be...Jerry Silverman, and a group of excellent, strong  Federation leaders serving on the Search Committee ignored that which was so evident to so many of us -- that Jerry was unqualified for the position by every objective standard -- succumbing to Manning's overpowering dictate. Disaster followed. (More on the disaster that is and continues to be in an upcoming Post.)

And the rest was history. As one of you wrote, in pertinent part, a few weeks ago:
"Which brings us to the next part of this saga: In creating the program to honor Jerry for his 10 years of leadership, what will the list of accomplishments look like?
Talk about fake news."
I'm sorry to say but the singular achievement of Jerry's almost one decade of service was that he kept a job he could not perform for almost ten years. Not just an achievement...a real miracle.

I pray that Richard Sandler populates this Search Committee with women and men of strength and knowledge; and that he first appoint an interim CEO so that the Search Committee is not pressured into a  rushed decision. Take the Job Description that was ignored 9 years ago, hire DRG or Korn Ferry or JCCA to staff the Search. 

Let's move forward...immediately. Jerry should step down at the Tel Aviv GA if not sooner...but certainly no later.



Anonymous said...

As you correctly write, Sandler has non-performed as Board Chair. Full stop.
To think he will now show leadership is as unlikely as Hillary challenging Trump in 2020.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Silverman has been so egregiously over-compensated from Day 1, there should be no severance, not even a "thanks for your service, just a"good-bye and good luck" TODAY.

Anonymous said...

Let's face facts: if Sandler told Silverman his contract would not be renewed but allows him to remain in place, then Sandler has again failed JFNA. And if Silverman initiated the decision to retire and Sandler did not tell him to leave if not yesterday then at the GA, then Sandler has again failed JFNA. As it has been for first Siegal and now Sandler, they with Manning own the failure that has been Jerry Silverman's JFNA "career." 9 years of failure. 9 years wasted.

Anonymous said...

Let's not let the rest of the JFNA board off the hook for those 9 years for not asking one question about anything.

Anonymous said...

Too bad even Richard doesn’t know what really happened but there are many who do!

Anonymous said...

what happened is that lay leadership did not - still does not - lead or even exert any influence

Anonymous said...

Very social worker of you, Richard. Jerry had a "soft landing" 9 years ago when he was hored for a job for which he was and s unqualified, collecting millions along the way. No soft landing now -- let's just have a landing somewhere other than JFNA, anywhere other than JFNA, and now, not later.