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NAACP orders officers removed

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Elected officers and the eight-member executive committee of the Albany-Dougherty branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are to be removed from office, according to a letter sent to the local branch by the chief operating officer/chief of staff of the organization's national office.

In a letter addressed to Albany-Dougherty NAACP President William Wright, Secretary Yvonne Reese and Treasurer Mary Richardson, Roger C. Vann said the NAACP's national board had "concluded that the Albany-Dougherty branch does not comply with NAACP policy, including the bylaws for units."

Vann wrote in the letter, which is dated Aug. 11 and a copy of which was received by The Herald Thursday, "Pursuant to the recommendation of the Georgia State Area Conference," the national board of directors "has directed that all elected officers and executive committee members be removed and the Albany-Dougherty branch reorganized."

Wright acknowledged Thursday that he had received the letter and said he and members of the local chapter are working with national officials to try and come to an understanding about the action recommended by the national board.

"We have asked that they spell out the complaints against our chapter and how they came about," Wright said. "As you saw in the letter, there are no specific charges leveled against us, just a recommendation from the state conference.

"Our constitution has a series of steps that should have taken place before we received any letter like this, but that has not happened. We were required to file a request for appeal within 15 days, which we have done. Our secretary has called the national office -- I think she's dealt with (the Rev.) Gill Ford (the NCAA's national director of unit capacity building) -- and asked them to notify us of any specific charges."

Vann's letter requires the local branch to forward records and other NAACP property to Edward DuBose, the president of the Georgia State Conference, within five days of receipt of the letter. He warned that failure to do so "may result in additional action being taken by the board, including suspension or revocation of their membership in the association."

Wright said that while no specific charges have been made against the Albany-Dougherty chapter, he suspects the sanctions are related to an ongoing battle over state chapter fees.

"We suspect the fees issue is a part of this," the local chapter president said. "We've been going through this for a number of years.

We've been telling the state people for some time that their fees are out of mark. There's something wrong when they base their fees on population, but we're paying the same as the large chapters like Atlanta and DeKalb."

Messages left for DuBose, Vann and Ford seeking comment Thursday were not returned by press time.

Vann said in his letter that the Georgia State Conference would be responsible for conducting new elections within the Albany-Dougherty branch, for assisting in the rebuilding of membership, for ensuring that executive committee and general membership meetings are conducted and for ensuring that the local chapter's standing committees are functioning in accordance with NAACP policy.

He said once NAACP property has been received and inventoried, a general membership meeting will be scheduled.

Wright, meanwhile, said it's ironic that the NAACP is taking such action against him and other officials with the local chapter.

"This is the last organization you'd expect this kind of thing from," he said.