The staff and board members at long-running community radio station KBOO are once again in the midst of a dispute.
As first reported by the Portland Tribune, a petition is being circulated calling for the removal of the board's president, Ruban Lawrence, and its vice president, Danielle Parks, who've been serving as interim station managers since February. The petition accuses Lawrence and Parks of union-busting and creating a culture of fear at the station, and of violating KBOO's own bylaws which prohibits board members from simultaneously holding staff positions.
The uproar began in late May, when volunteer coordinator Ani Haines was put on leave, allegedly due to undisclosed complaints from a volunteer, and the station managers hired a third party HR consultant to conduct the investigation.
"I think [Lawrence and Parks] came in at a time of turmoil," says Haines' spouse Theresa Mitchell, who run the website Save KBOO and hosts a political talk show on the station. "I think they were trying to turn things around by going to sort of standard business solutions, and I have tried to be loud about the fact that that can't work at KBOO."
Mitchell first created Save KBOO in 2013, when the station unionized. The blog has been dormant for years. But last weekend, Mitchell published a post encouraging supporters to attend the station's public board meeting, where there was expected to be a vote on Lawrence and Parks' removal.
The standing monthly meeting would have taken place today. But two days after Mitchell's post was published, the board announced that the meeting was canceled, because "many board members are traveling/on vacation and so quorum is not possible."
Mitchell will host a public meeting anyway, to "turn the meeting into a discussion and expose for the social media and press," according to a post on Mitchell's website.
Representatives from KBOO's board did not respond to requests for comment.