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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
July 7, 2006

Pinkleton leaves Stonewall for Brunner campaign

Columbus--Democratic Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Brunner�s campaign is gaining a staff member at the expense of Stonewall Columbus.

Kellye Pinkleton, interim executive director of the LGBT community center, announced her resignation on June 29. She will take the position of field director for Brunner�s campaign.

Pinkleton started as a volunteer at the community center in 1998, later becoming center coordinator and director of programming before ascending to her most recent position with the resignation of former executive director Kate Anderson at the end of April 2005.

Special events coordinator Michael Dutcher resigned earlier this year, and Pinkleton�s departure leaves Pride Holiday coordinator Dean Hindenlang as the organization�s only paid employee. He is set to leave after the event�s final accounting is done.

However, a board meeting this week was expected to re-evaluate employee contracts, and board president James B. Ford, a Columbus dentist, intimated that Hindenlang�s contract may be extended.

�I will tell you that Stonewall needs to keep him or extend his contract,� Pinkleton said. �He did a fabulous job at Pride.�

While leaving Stonewall is not a step Pinkleton took lightly, she believes that Brunner�s campaign is a cause worthy of her support.

�It is going to be an exciting election year, and she is amassing a lot of support out there as people recognize how important this particular race is, and a secretary of state, as we all know, can wield a lot of power and use his or her position for harm,� Pinkleton said in a thinly-veiled reference to the current officeholder, Kenneth Blackwell, who is running for governor.

�She�s always been interested in politics,� said Ford. �It�s kind of sad that she�s leaving, but it�s something that she must pursue, and we wish her the best.�

The board expects to appoint another interim director quickly, and then move into the search for a permanent executive director once it comes up with a list of qualifications and skills it wants for the new leader of the organization.

And while Pinkleton will have a new job, her old employers expect her to still be a presence at the Stonewall Columbus Community Center.

�As much as we miss Kellye, she is going to remain on in a very, very part-time basis as a consultant to help with continuity,� Ford noted.

Pride put Stonewall into the black

Pinkleton�s departure was well-timed. While the past few months had been difficult financially for the organization, budgeting for Pride and the monetary results of the events associated with it put the organization solidly back in the black.

�It wasn�t serious enough to affect our operations,� Ford said of the shortfall, emphasizing that programs at the center proceeded unabated. �It was serious enough that we had to do some rebudgeting to do Pride. We just had to be careful with entertainment and expenses for Pride.�

The tightened reins on spending, combined with across-the-board increases in income from Pride, proved more than enough to overcome the problem before it became a crisis.

�On an average, probably every line item for income was probably ten to 15 percent more than it was last year,� he said, pointing to money raised at the entrances, as well as the sales of beverages and commemorative dog tags.

While final financial figures have not yet been tallied, �The good thing is, we are now in the black once again. It puts us in a good position to move forward.�

�It�s going to be an exciting summer as we are going to be able to retool the organization into what it needs to be to move forward,� he noted. �It�s all about building relationships, and that�s what we�ve been doing for the last three months.�

In 2005, Stonewall Columbus purchased the building immediately behind the community center on East Fourth Avenue, one of the factors that put a strain on its finances.

However, according to Ford, �We�ve worked with the bank to make that affordable.�

�One of our next steps is, we continue to see what the campus is going to look like when we get our staff in place, the physical facilities are going to be one huge piece of the pie.�

�With individual and corporate support, the community has really stepped up this year to help out,� he concluded.


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