NAACP official named to aid Baltimore branch Administrator to oversee finances of troubled group

November 10, 1995|By James Bock | James Bock,SUN STAFF

The NAACP has named an administrator to oversee the finances of its struggling Baltimore branch, which owes the national organization more than $60,000.

The 3,500-member city branch's debt to the national NAACP, which has headquarters in Baltimore, includes $50,000 in back membership dues and $13,000 in annual assessments, said Rodney A. Orange, branch president.

The Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has had troubled finances for several years. It laid off its veteran executive director, George N. Buntin Jr., in March because of lack of funds and now operates with only two part-time employees.

Hazel N. Dukes, chairwoman of the NAACP board's committee on branches, said the board voted last month to install an administrator because "it's time to get this behind us." She said the move did not reflect a lack of confidence in Mr. Orange's leadership. He has been branch president since 1993.

"There has been no resistance from [the Baltimore branch]," Ms. Dukes said. "They've been forthright in acknowledging their problems."

Ms. Dukes said William H. Penn Sr., national director of branches and field work, was named administrator. She said he would "help plan fund-raising and programmatic activities to get them back to where they were."

Mr. Penn, who met Wednesday night with Baltimore NAACP officers, would not comment.

Mr. Orange said the national leadership, which is emerging from turmoil after the firing of Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. last year and the defeat of Chairman William F. Gibson this year, had not focused on Baltimore's problems until now.

But Kobi Little, who challenged Mr. Orange in a November 1994 branch election that was suspended because of a dispute over who could vote, said Mr. Penn's appointment showed "the need for new leadership that is going to be accountable to the membership, put in place effective management techniques and initiate a programmatic plan of action for the branch that will give it some relevance for the '90s."

Mr. Little charged that the Baltimore NAACP was out of touch and ineffective.

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