Jefferson Public Radio Foundation board deliberating now

The Jefferson Public Radio Foundation board didn't feel an agreement reached during mediation with Southern Oregon University would serve the radio network's enterprise here, said Ron Kramer, executive director of JPR and its foundation.

Kramer spoke Friday afternoon during a public comment session before the foundation board met to discuss the agreement.

Dozens of people gathered this afternoon in downtown Medford to speak and ask questions about the ongoing dispute between the university and the foundation.

The university and the public radio stations' fundraising foundation have been at odds for months, following the release of a state audit that said the JPR Foundation may have taken on too much financial liability with the restoration of the Holly Theatre and construction of a new JPR headquarters, both in downtown Medford.

SOU President Mary Cullinan terminated Kramer from his radio post, effective July 1. A university system attorney also sent letters warning that they could face personal lawsuits if they didn't agree to a proposed settlement.

Kramer said when he was hired, that his job description contained dual responsibilities as executive director of JPR and the JPR Foundation. University officials said today they later discovered Oregon statute does not allow such a role.

Kramer said splitting that role would not benefit JPR, because it would increase salary costs.

The terms of the settlement are to be released after the board meeting happening now.

Liz Shelby, chief of staff for Cullinan and SOU director of government relations, said SOU hopes to continue working with Gov. John Kitzhaber on a final agreement if one is not reached today.

— Staff reports

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