On Tuesday, KPFA’s new Interim Program Director popped into a meeting of KPFA’s union to inform the staff that newly-installed KPFA manager Amit Pendyal had resigned his position “effective immediately.” Pendyal had expressed frustration to many staff that Pacifica was forcing grievances from KPFA’s union to go through an expensive, time-consuming binding arbitration process. He was also frustrated that Pacifica refused to give him any authority to negotiate with KPFA’s union over the outstanding grievances, and suggested that he would ask Pacifica to either give him the power to do his job or accept his resignation.
On Wednesday, Pacifica Executive Director Arlene Engelhardt sent a brief email out to the staff of KPFK (Pacifica’s Los Angeles Station), stating “Amit is on a short (hopefully) leave for personal reasons. He hopes to be back at KPFA very soon.” The email didn’t get forwarded to KPFA’s staff until 12 hours later.
Pendyal’s tenure of about one month as KPFA General Manager would be the shortest in decades–if not ever. He would be the third General Manager to cycle through KPFA in the last year under Engelhardt’s tenure. Engelhardt dismissed General Manager Lemlem Rijio last March and installed Pacifica Human Relations Director Ahmad Anderson as interim General Manager. Engelhardt then went over Anderson’s head to impose staff layoffs and the dismantling of the popular KPFA Morning Show. Anderson resigned as Pacifica HR Director last month. One union member who did not want to be identified said, “If Amit has resigned, it marks another failure by Arlene. She is mismanaging and destabilizing KPFA. Arlene needs to return local control to KPFA and let its managers do their jobs.”
For more information about the labor struggle at KPFA, following Pacifica’s cancellation of the popular Morning Show, check out our frequently asked questions. And click here for a short labor history of KPFA.