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April 24, 2013

One of our Upper Delaware Valley’s most beloved institutions, WJFF, appears to be in crisis. In case you did not know, all but one of Radio Catskill’s Board of Trustees (BOT) resigned last Friday. The week before, the station manager of the past four years resigned. These very personal decisions came after a number of public, standing-room-only BOT meetings where vigorous, even harsh, criticism boiled over concerning the management and governance of the station.

It’s hard to talk about what has happened at WJFF without seeing the work of factions. One faction (the board) appears to have put special emphasis on its responsibilities as stewards to build a strong fiscal foundation in economically challenging times. Another faction (active community members including many present and former WJFF volunteers), also seeing themselves as stewards, believed that the special values and unique qualities of a community-built and community-run, volunteer radio station were slipping away. The irony is that both factions saw themselves as stewards. Yet, if stewardship was the goal, the actions of each faction appear to have achieved the opposite by tearing apart the WJFF family.

In our opinion, the necessary rebuilding must start with healing the rift in the family. But the question is how to do so, given the raw emotions and passions of recent weeks? How WJFF goes forward will be a measure of the kind of family and community we are and hope to be. And so today we ask, what fundamental principles might the WJFF family and the wider Upper Delaware River community follow in rebuilding a just, sustainable and peaceful community at Radio Catskill?

We hope all of those involved in bringing about this crisis will first search their souls and then contemplate some of the following basic personal values as a foundation for going forward:

Have respect for others and the decisions they make as competent adults.

Bring about good in all our actions, and take positive steps to prevent harm. Where harm cannot be avoided, minimize the harm we do.

Accept responsibility for personal actions and the consequences of those actions.

Step into the other person’s shoes and try to see their side of the story, and try not to judge.

Try not to make the other side the bad guys.

Conduct relationships with integrity.

Be compassionate.

Choose to forgive.

In public life, treat all people equally, fairly, and impartially.

Work for the benefit of those who are unfairly treated.

Never use people as a means to an end.

Leave a positive legacy.