Oregon Coast Community Action's new media policy is a giant step backward that will further erode the nonprofit's shaky credibility. Last week's announcement that it would be less forthcoming than in the past is stunning given the organization's communication issues. For an organization that has only recently taken babysteps toward being more open, this bunker mentality creates an unfortunate impression of arrogance.
For the past few months, The World has shone a light on charges of cronyism and mismanagement within the South Coast's largest nonprofit agency. Initially, ORCCA management ignored calls for transparency. Under intense scrutiny, the board relented, vowing a more open media policy. But last week, citing alleged breaches in employee confidentiality and mean-spirited 'bloggers," the board said it no longer would indulge reporters' requests.
That's a problem for an organization whose actions have at times cut off crucial food supplies to some of the region's most hungry. That's a problem for an organization that has gotten itself in trouble by keeping its mouth shut. That's a problem for an organization that has lost the trust of many in our community.
One of the steps ORCCA said it would take to address that breach of trust is to hire a pantry coordinator. What will that person do? What criteria will be used in that hiring? Has anyone already been hired? Those are questions ORCCA won't answer as it hides behind its new policy.
ORCCA's a big organization with many components. It's largely made up of good people who work hard to make our community better. Yet its leadership seems utterly tonedeaf to the situation it faces. One need only do a Google search of 'ORCCA" to see that the organization's reputation has been badly damaged by its silence. A policy that embraces even more silence will make things worse.