SMILES AND good wishes accompanied the election Saturday of Julian Bond as NAACP board chairman. But by making one of his first acts the reinstatement of a tainted executive committee member, Mr. Bond may have set back an organization still trying to restore public confidence.
Many were surprised when Mr. Bond nonchalantly included James E. Ghee on his list of executive committee members. Mr. Ghee, a Farmville, Va., lawyer, was one of four board members with ethics problems asked to resign last year by the departing board chairwoman, Myrlie Evers-Williams. Mr. Ghee was convicted in 1996 of stealing $38,517 from a client's estate.
Mr. Bond's embrace of Mr. Ghee differs from the treatment of New York off-track betting official Hazel Dukes, who admitted stealing $13,000 from a leukemia victim who trusted Ms. Dukes to pay her bills. Ms. Dukes was voted off the board after refusing to resign. Also asked to resign were Rev. Henry Lyons, accused of misspending National Baptist Convention funds, and Bobby Bivens, a California man who owed $20,000 in child support. Mr. Lyons resigned; Mr. Bivens and Mr. Ghee didn't.