Without any warning or discussion before hand, the NAHJ Board led by President Brandon Benavides moves to revoke the young partnership between the California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) citing already addressed issues.
“This move was totally premature, unnecessary,” said Joseph Rodriguez, CCNMA President. “It appears that NAHJ president Brandon Benavides may have misled me just a few days ago. He said the question of hiring an administrative manager for the newly combined CCNMA/NAHJ Los Angeles Chapter was on Wednesday’s NAHJ agenda for discussion. That’s what we expected and sent our chapter treasurer to discuss. Benavides did not say the entire Memorandum of Understanding might be on the table.”
The NAHJ board, without discussion, voted unanimously to begin revoking the agreement in 30 days. The action ignites the “duration” section of the MOU that was signed in early 2016 after two years of discussion.
NAHJ is requesting a legal review of the MOU and requests CCNMA’s financial records.
“All the materials requested have been given to the NAHJ board in 2016 and again in early 2017 at the request of the current President,” said Mekahlo Medina, former NAHJ President, who was one of the main architects of the MOU for NAHJ. “It was our understanding that the MOU was in good standing with the exception of the request by CCNMA for an administration manager.”
Here is an email from NAHJ President Benavides delivered to the board on March 18th of 2017: “Alberto and I just finished a conference call with CCNMA president Joe Rodriguez and Mekahlo. We had a wonderful conversation. This MOU applies to the LA Chapter. NAHJ is responsible for the LA Chapter account. The MOU is a work in progress. I invited Joe to address the board at our April board meeting. I look forward to our discussion with him. Joe is a past board member of NAHJ.”
“It’s hard for me to believe the NAHJ board would suddenly replace a budgeting item with a vote to revoke an entire agreement that our boards worked diligently and in good faith to formulate over two years. Most if not all of the concerns your board has today were negotiated then in complete openness and we have more recently given you a clear picture of CCNMA’s financials,” said Rodriguez.
“At the very least, we deserved advance notice and the opportunity to state our case for continuing this vital and promising partnership beforehand. We could easily have conducted the conversation in meetings or by correspondence with the NAHJ leadership, but we never got the chance,” said Rodriguez.