Urban League reopens office after year of internal strife

May 9, 2013 

The Urban League of Columbus is back in business after almost a year of inactivity, the local affiliate announced Thursday.

Susan Cooper, chairman of the Urban League transitional board, said the organization’s doors at 802 First Avenue have reopened. And the office is now staffed through partnerships with the Department of Labor and Senior Service Community Employment Program.

On Wednesday, the organization also officially launched its search for a CEO, posting the position locally and with 95 Urban League affiliate offices across the nation. The annual salary was posted at $65,000-$80,000, and applications must be submitted by June 8, according to a news release.

“I’m so excited because I feel like we’ve made some progress with the doors open to serve customers,” Cooper said. “We’ve got our structure back in place, with the exception of a CEO.”

The Urban League has been without a CEO since Reginald Pugh resigned from the position in August. In the months that followed, the organization was plagued by internal strife and political woes.

In February, board members elected a transitional board to rebuild the local affiliate and take it to the next level. Herman Lessard, the national senior vice president of affiliate services, came to Columbus to train board members and help get the organization back on track.

Since then, the Urban League has re-established important relationships, Cooper said. Having lost much of its funding in recent years, the organization is now scheduled for United Way training in the fall, with the hopes of funding by 2014, Cooper said. The organization also received a donation from Aflac for the first quarter of 2013.

Cooper said the Urban League will try to raise $750,000 from June to December. And an Equal Opportunity Day Gala will be held August 24 to raise money.

She said the CEO search will take 90-120 days. When the job posting ends June 8, the local search committee will review resumes and choose 3-5 semi-finalists. After initial interviews and background checks, those semi-finalists will receive an informational and application packet, and then be called in for interviews.

The semi-finalist information will then be sent to the National Urban League for certification and additional interviews, Cooper said. The local search committee will make the final selection.

The job posting can be viewed online at the GA Department of Labor website www.dol.state.ga.us using the job order # 8095188. Submit resumes via email to robloua@knology.net or mail to Search Committee Chair at P O box 1982, Columbus, GA 31902. For more information call 706-322-6840.

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