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The organization looks to cut programs and staff in hopes of balancing its finances and erasing its current deficit.

By P.C. Staff

The JACL National Board approved the Budget Committee’s 2017-18 proposed biennial budget at its April 2 board meeting in San Francisco in hopes to reconcile the organization’s forecasted $200,000 deficit.

Budget highlights included reducing two national staff FTE equivalents in 2017 and 2018, as well as one FTE equivalent from the Pacific Citizen office. Personnel cuts will reduce national staff FTE by 22 percent and 32 percent for the P.C. Such cuts look to decrease personnel hours in order to balance the proposed budget.

VP of Planning and Development and Budget Committee Member Chip Larouche explained, “Yes, it is painful to cut FTE in order to balance. In my opinion, it would be irresponsible to leave them in and not pay them. I’ve been doing this now for eight years, we had a few finance committee meetings of how we’re going to make pay roll. If we don’t take this budget to heart, we will get to the point that yes, we have FTE and filling positions, but no, we can’t pay them. That’s a highly irresponsible thing to do.”

Many have wondered how the organization has reached such a large deficit and dwindling membership. As JACL enters an election convention in July, candidates will be faced with the current financial situation and tasked with fundraising

JACL National President David Lin also explained the proposed budget, sharing with meeting members that “we know we need to balance the budget and no other reserve to draw on. This is our job to try and figure out what other options we have. I think we’ve exhausted expense reduction, and it’s painful we have to reduce FTE.”

The proposed budget also includes closing the Pacific Citizen’s Los Angeles office and moving the remaining two FTE employees to headquarters in San Francisco.

However, a financial estimate and analysis of moving P.C’s operations to San Francisco as well as the hiring of a new P.C. staff was not completed before the decision was determined. It is uncertain at this time what the financial impact might be to JACL as an organization.

“I highly suggest that we revisit other options and find alternative and  creative ways to reduce the deficit other than moving P.C.’s operations,” said Executive Editor Allison Haramoto in a statement following the National Board’s decision. “Members might be without the P.C. again, as it would have to start from scratch once more as it did in 2012.”

The National Council is expected to see the proposed budget within the coming months leading to the convention, which is scheduled for July 11-14 at the Monte Carlo Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, Nev.

This year’s convention will also welcome a new national board. Executive Director Priscilla Ouchida also announced plenaries for the convention, including an AAPIA Vote and Coulter sponsored event geared toward civic engagement.

Ouchida is also looking to include Black Lives Matter as an API civil rights issue for a plenary, an advancing justice workshop and a forum for the National Youth Student Council to discuss civil rights racial healing and racial equality.

Other items from the April meeting include JACL’s position on the U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominations.

The board will also look into finding a new Comcast representative, replacing Floyd Mori. Appointed Legal Counsel Member Brandon Mita also announced that he will no longer serve as legal counsel for JACL. 

Clarification: Appointed Legal Counsel Member Brandon will end his term prior to this year’s JACL Convention.