Equality Maryland Board Explains Vote to “Remove” Executive Director

In a letter sent tonight from the Equality Maryland board members to “friends, allies, and supporters of LGBT equality” regarding the organization’s financial crisis, which was reported earlier today by Metro Weekly, the board members state that they had voted to “remove” former executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets from the position in April.

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Board members initially had given conflicting accounts at the time regarding the departure of Meneses-Sheets, who told Metro Weekly she was fired.

The board members — who include Chuck Butler, Patrick Wojahn, Lisa Polyak, Rosemary Nicolosi, Darrell Carrington, David Lublin and Mark Yost — state:

Last month the board of Directors took a step that we had hoped to avoid, but was necessary to restore the organization’s integrity and viability — we voted to remove the Executive Director. We took this action with regret, but because our duty as guardians of Equality Maryland compelled it. We also regret that the Executive Director resigned while we were in the process of negotiating an amicable separation.

On April 22, when talking to Metro Weekly, board president Charles Butler disputed the characterization that Meneses-Sheets was fired, saying rather that the board was in negotiations with her.

“Anything was possible,” he said then, of her future with or departure form the organzation.

Today’s letter, posted on the organization’s website, is dated May 25 — which is Wednesday — and titled “The Future of Equality Maryland” and it was penned to address “deficiencies in the organizations.” The letter notes:

Since late 2010, when we assumed our leadership roles on the Board of Directors, we have become increasingly aware of deficiencies in the organization. We realized early on that we had to take action to rectify these problems. At the same time, we were focused on advancing the gender identity anti-discrimination and marriage equality bills, which had their first real opportunity for success in the 2011 General Assembly. We thus attempted to manage the organization’s problems through internal controls without making any changes that could undermine the viability of either bill.

As you know, the gender identity and marriage bills did not pass. However, they progressed significantly further than ever before, and are positioned for a successful outcome in the near future. For this, we owe much gratitude to all who made this achievement possible, including Maryland’s LGBT community, the staff of Equality Maryland, state and national partner organizations, Maryland’s openly gay and lesbian legislators, and all our allied legislators and public officials.

Read the full board letter here.

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