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 2019...now. 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?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.
Talk about fake news."
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.