Columbus--The long process to find a successor for Stonewall Columbus� popular executive director is beginning with small steps towards that ultimate goal.
Kate Anderson resigned the post on April 24, citing health concerns.
According to Stonewall Columbus board president Donna Williams, the board decided at their April 27 meeting that no interim executive director would be named while a search committee is formed to find a permanent replacement for Anderson.
�What we decided was that, given the level of professionalism and expertise of the current staff, they are more than capable of continuing center operations,� Williams said. �Stonewall has operated without an interim before, as long as the board was willing to step up to the plate and assume some of the oversight of the center.�
She indicated that Anderson�s role was largely one of providing oversight to the staff. Anderson was also a capable diplomat in her position, �the community person, approving payouts, building bridges with other organizations.�
�We decided that we [the board] would bridge the gap and members of the executive committee would assume those duties and some of Kate�s public appearance functions,� Williams noted.
She also noted that the search process would begin slowly because the board did not want to divert staff and volunteer energy from organizing Stonewall Columbus� Pride Holiday in June.
From now until the beginning of July, board vice president Roger Fouts, who is chair of the personnel committee, will begin forming a search committee. After Pride, this panel will begin its work in earnest.
�We figured that, if we were to go with an interim,� Williams explained, �it would take too much of the staff time, because they would literally have to train them on center operations. We wanted to make sure they�re free to continue what they�re doing while providing oversight.�
According to Williams, the main function of board members overseeing operations will be to present a face in the community and approve financial outlays, not micromanage what Anderson referred to as �the best staff I�ve ever worked with.�
�The executive committee isn�t autocratic, they decide by consensus, then shoot it over to the board for another consensus,� she noted.
�As board president, I�m the point person. If there�s a question in the community that the staff can�t handle, they shoot that over to me,� she stated.
Williams also explained that the board is committed to making the search committee as open as possible, welcoming input from members, staff, concerned citizens and leaders in both the LGBT community and the Columbus area at large, where Anderson has been a very visible point person for Stonewall Columbus.
Anderson was appointed to both the 21st Century Task Force and the board of the Central Ohio Transit Authority by Mayor Michael B. Coleman. Her commitment to the former was completed with the end of the task force�s one-year life, and she intends to stay on the COTA board until the end of her term.
�Any leader that we have we don�t take lightly,� Williams said. �We want to make sure it�s a good step.�
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