NAACP approves 3-year contract for new president

August 31, 2008|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,john-john.williams@baltsun.com

The national board of directors of the NAACP overwhelmingly approved a three-year contract yesterday for Benjamin Todd Jealous, its new president.

Jealous, 35, who was not present when the board members voted at the BWI Marriott Hotel, later joined them to sign the contract. Board Chairman Julian Bond said he was "overjoyed" by the developments.

The board members were "very accepting," Bond said after the four-hour meeting. The board approved the contract by a vote of 35-2, with one abstention.

The two dissenting votes were in protest of procedure, not of Jealous, according to Bond, who would not say who voted in opposition.

The 16-page contract takes effect Sept. 15. Jealous will attend his first board meeting as president Oct. 18. That meeting will be held in Baltimore, Bond said.

Jealous takes over from interim President Dennis C. Hayes, who had been leading the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 13 months after replacing Bruce S. Gordon, who left in March 2007 after clashing with the board.

The board elected Jealous president by a 34-21 vote during a contentious eight-hour closed-door meeting in May. Some said Jealous, a California native, was too young to lead the century-old organization.

Since then, Jealous has done a good job of fundraising and making the organization's presence known on a national level, according to several board members.

"He's done an outstanding job already," said Vice Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. "We're confident he will do a great job going forward."

Brock called the contract "fair." Officials would not release details of the contract's provisions.

"We're pleased to come out of this session having the board members have the opportunity to give feedback and input," Brock said.

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