Your ELi: Organizational Regrouping

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Top row: Board of Directors President Sam Hosey, Vice President Jiquanda Johnson, Treasurer Ray Vlasin, Secretary Maysa Sitar, Public Editor Ann Nichols. Bottom row: Director-at-Large Anaiis Rios-Kasoga, Executive Director/Publisher Alice Dreger, General Manager Jodi Spicer.

Regular readers of ELi will know that Natalie Rose took over as Executive Director and Publisher of our organization in May, and I moved from that role to become Managing Editor. The main goal was to make my ELi workload less crushing.

On Monday of this week, Natalie had to tender her resignation, which ELi’s Board of Directors voted to accept in an emergency meeting tonight. The Board also voted to reappoint me in that role. Both votes were unanimous.

We believe in transparency, so I’m letting you know that I will keep my salary as Managing Director ($1,000/month) and my reporting pay (paid at the same scale as other reporters) but will be taking on the ED/Publisher role at no additional salary at this time. I asked the Board to do this so we can stabilize the budget.

This was not the place we expected to be in mid-August, but 2020 has not been the year any of us expected!

We are sorry to see Natalie go. In her letter of resignation, Natalie wrote, “It was so heartening to work with a group of people who are doing the important work and public service of bringing people the news. I was also continuously heartened to see how much our readers and donors appreciated what we did for the community.”

Our General Manager Jodi Spicer and I attended the board meeting up until the deliberations began. Answering questions from the Board, Jodi and I both spoke about the tremendous strengths ELi enjoys – particularly the incredible people who work voluntarily and at low pay with us, and the people who our are base of reader-donor-supporters.

Jodi and I also talked about how we feel unexpectedly excited about the work we need to do going forward in terms of regrouping and reorganization. This setback seems to us an opportunity within the staff to move some people up and bring some people in, and it gives us a chance to do operational rejiggering to increase efficiency and promote ever better communication. This is the kind of stuff Jodi and I do really well, and even better together.

The daunting part is that we are at the time of the year where we have to start our big fundraising cycle. We go into that with a lot of uncertainty brought on by 2020. But we also know that if we have to scale back due to budgetary constraints, we can do that and still be a vital resource for our community.

The reorganization work I now have to do does mean we may need to pull back on production of news for the next few weeks. We want you to be aware of that and not to worry if you see it. I fully expect we will be back at full strength by the end of September.

There are a few things I want to ask you to do now.

One is to consider signing up for our “chatty newsletter.” I am going to have the reporting team using this to communicate with you while we can’t bring our usual full reporting style. I’d like you to sign up so we can keep you informed. Click here to sign up now.

Second, if you’re a regular Facebook user, please take our survey about our use of Facebook. We need to make a decision soon on that issue. Click here to do that.

Finally, if you have the resources, send us a note of encouragement, and send us a little money. We’re going to be fine – I’m not just saying that – but it is the web of love and support that keeps us all going in this wonderful community project.

My deep thanks to ELi’s Board of Directors, who are a genuinely remarkable group of people. I want to particularly thank President Sam Hosey, Vice President Jiquanda Johnson, Treasurer Ray Vlasin, and Public Editor Ann Nichols for truly beautiful handling of all of this in the last couple of days. And without Jodi – well, I don’t want to even think about life without Jodi. She is a force of nature.

“Teamwork makes the dream work.” – Jodi Spicer, every day!

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