Pride board makes scant progress on internal reforms
Community members ask why
Published Thursday, 06-May-2010 in issue 1167
According to what was said at a meeting on Monday, the newly constituted San Diego LGBT Pride Board of Directors has made little headway on its internal reforms since its last town hall forum in February.
Pride board Co-Chair Judi Schaim told a small audience of Pride board members, staff and a half a dozen or so community members at the San Diego LGBT Community Center that the board had made two accomplishments in the last two months:
“We have elected a chair to our audit committee … [and] we had a one-day retreat to clarify our strategic plan,” she said. “So that’s where we are. It’s been a lot of work.”
After the meeting, Schaim said the board elected Board Secretary Debra McEntee to chair its audit committee.
Last January, at a town hall forum, then former Pride board member Judi Schaim, speaking on behalf of a group of other former Pride board members presented a list of 15 recommendations for the then three member Pride board to implement.
In February, at another forum, Schaim, appointed then as Pride’s board co-chair, said nine of the 15 recommendations had been completed:
• Appointment of five interim board of directors
• Bylaws remained in effect until five individuals were appointed to the board
• Board should have gender equity (at the time five females and four males were on the board)
• One female to be appointed as board co-chair
• Recommitment of the director emeritus position
• Adoption of a regular schedule of town hall meetings with the community
• Public notice of regular board meetings
• Open board meetings with time allotted for public comment
• Board meeting minutes posted on its website
Out of the group’s list of 15 recommendations, at present five have not been completed:
• A formal and independent audit of Pride’s books
• A publicly accessible report on the audit
• Reestablishing a youth position on the board
• The adoption of an emeritus advisory council
• Adoption of a community advisory council
Its last recommendation has only been partially completed: Continued adherence to gender and ethnic diversity on the board. While the board now has near gender equity (five females and four males), it is still predominately white. Pride board member Andrea Villa identifies as Latina.
Community members at Monday’s meeting asked why the board hadn’t completed its other recommendations.
City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez asked, “What are you doing to not make the board 90 percent Caucasian as it currently is?”
“We’ve identified a number of candidates, people of color and different communities within our LGBT community,” said Pride board Co-Chair Larry Ramey. “We’re going through the process of interviewing them and bringing them in place.”
Community member John Lockhart asked how Pride was doing on preparing for its upcoming parade in July.
“We are kind of behind the curve,” Ramey said, mentioning that the board typically starts planning the following year’s pride in the fall but that the newly appointed board came in late January with few guidelines or plans set in place from the previous board.
“So were continuing to get entries into the parade, vendors for the event, entertainers and were expecting to be right at last year’s numbers,” Ramey said.
Joyce Marieb, former chief executive officer of the Greater San Diego Business Association, asked why an audit hadn’t been completed.
“Its just a matter of dealing with first things first in terms of getting our grip on the entire organization, but the audit is a very large process as you probably know,” Ramey said.
“We need to understand our financials first before we can event consider having an audit,” Schaim said, noting that the board is continuing to search for people to sit on the committee.
Lastly, nothing was said at the meeting about Pride’s unfilled executive director position. In early January, the former three-member board of directors dismissed former executive director Ron DeHarte after he spoke out against the board voting to give former board chair Phillip Princetta a $5,000 check for service to the organization (board members are not to be compensated according to the organization’s bylaws). Since then, the Pride’s executive director position has stayed vacant.
When contacted and asked about the vacancy, Ramey said the following:
“The board of San Diego Pride is currently reassessing the qualifications needed for the position of executive director. We want to ensure that candidates who come forward are a dynamic fit for carrying Pride well into the next decade. Once we fully determine the specifications necessary for the job, we will announce them to the public at large and begin a formal search to fill the position.”