CPB Head Quits In Dispute With Board
WASHINGTON (AP) _ William Lee Hanley, Jr., a New York City businessman, was elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting today at a tumultuous meeting which also accepted the resignation of its president Martin Rubenstein and heard former chairman Sonia Landau withdraw her name from consideration for reappointment to the board.
Under Landau, whose term expired in March, the board was often deeply divided over major issues, including her re-election as chairman a year ago, a vote that ended in a tie that left her chairing the board.
Hanley said he hoped to harness the diversity of the board to accomplish positive results for public broadcasting. The corporation funnels taxpayer money to producers and public television stations.
Rubenstein resigned as president after less than 10 months on the job.
Richard Brookhiser, acting CPB chairman told reporters gathered in a hallway outside an unscheduled executive session of the board that Rubenstein resigned late yesterday ″over policy.″ He refused to be specific.
Rubenstein did not immediately return a reporter’s phone call.
After a two and one-half hour executive session today, the board named CPB Finance Vice President Donald E. Ledwig acting president.
Board member Sharon Percy Rockefeller protested, saying, ″I don’t think that Mr. Ledwig is qualified by background in broadcasting or public broadcasting or in temperment to be acting president of this corporation.″
″I think he is,″ Brookhiser shot back. The vote on Ledwig’s appointment was 5-2. The board also named Arthur Pankopf vice president, general counsel and secretary. He has been CPB director of legislative affairs.
The agency had been without a general counsel for more than a year.
Rubenstein was appointed Jan. 31, to replace Edward J. Pfister who resigned in May 1985 in disgust over board policies.
The board itself has been unable to select a chairman since the term of Ms. Landau expired in March.
Brookhiser has chaired meetings, but has refused to accept the chairmanship between meetings.
He told reporters that Rubenstein quit during a seven-hour ″most solemn and secret″ executive session that went to almost midnight. He said the board had not decided on a procedure for selecting a new president.
A three-man executive team headed the organization during the search that resulted in Rubenstein’s appointment.
Brookhiser conceded ″on some things, we’ve been paralyzed,″ but he said the funding of producers and television stations has continued.
Because the September board meeting was cancelled when board members refused to attend, $750,000 in unbudgeted funds has not been distributed.
The board had been crippled by its inability to agree on a chairman and its reluctance to act with only five sitting members due to President Reagan’s failure to replace board members at the time their terms expired and the Senate’s refusal to act quickly on the nominees when they are selected for the ten-member board.