The UJC’s president and CEO, Howard Rieger, last week announced that he would not seek another term in office after his contract expires a year from now.
Many federation execs and observers with whom I have spoken think Rieger performed admirably in a job that, beyond being thankless, is in some eyes seen as impossible but Rieger’s most outspoken critic is openly gloating.
Wexler and the UJC’s upper echelon leadership have a relationship marked by openly mutual spite that culminated in May with the UJC kicking Wexler off of its executive board.
I’m not endorsing Wexler’s ideas or denigrating them, but some insiders find Wexler’s blog to be an interesting read. Here’s a taste:
Why Now? Some will suggest that it wouldn’t be “nice” to act now. The Chairs’ Terms, were they renominated, will be up in 16 months; the CEO’s contract expires next year. Why not wait? Because UJC can’t afford another 16 months. As I write, a growing number of federations have already concluded that the value-added of UJC to them is not measurable and contemplate not paying their allocated “fair share” dues even after the mandated budget reduction to $37 million. Each day the gulf between what federations want from UJC and what UJC is delivering grows wider and the sense that no one at 111 Eighth Avenue is listening grows apace. Because the Jewish Agency and JDC and our national agencies operate on fumes while these UJC leaders push for their pet projects and additional asks for critical needs without any prioritization of needs, our entire system is being deconstructed. More and more, federation leaders and UJC Board members are pointing out that the Emperors’ New Clothes are non-existent. And on and on. We can’t afford to wait as United Jewish Communities collapses under the weight of unfulfilled promise.