Schenectady County

NAACP chapter to elect new leadership

The Schenectady County Chapter of the NAACP will conduct elections April 23 for officers as part of

The Schenectady County Chapter of the NAACP will conduct elections April 23 for officers as part of its reorganization effort.

The state organization of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People revoked the local chapter’s charter last year because of inactivity and removed its officers.

The nominating committee introduced a slate of five candidates Tuesday night at Bethel AME Church. Officers will serve until November 2010.

Paul Webster, statewide director of community outreach for the New York State United Teachers, is running for president.

Ahmad Yusuf, the city’s coordinator for federal Housing and Urban Development programs, is running for first vice president; Wes Hollaway, vice president of diversity for Price Chopper, is running for second vice president; Sharon Crawford, part of Mohawk Ambulance’s support staff, is running for secretary; and Delores Doriguzzi, a former finance officer for Trustco Bank, is running for treasurer.

There were no nominations from the floor and no candidates for the offices of assistant secretary and assistant treasurer.

The chapter had trouble finding eligible candidates for this year’s election because membership had dwindled. After the state revoked the local charter, many people rejoined the chapter this year. But only those members who joined before April 1, 2008, were eligible to seek office.

Portia Austin, a member of the nominating committee, said she did not agree with the slate of candidates. She said many new members are unhappy with the process used to select candidates for office. “There is a slate here and people do not know those people,” she said.

Some members said the April 1, 2008, eligibility date should have been waived to increase the candidate pool. State NAACP officials said the local group can appeal this ruling to the national organization.

Connie Richardson said members have no choice in next week’s election because there is only one candidate for each office. “It’s not an election but a delegation,” she said.

Frank Maurizio, a member of the nominating committee, told members, “We realize our pool of candidates is limited. It would be nice to have other choices, but we couldn’t because of the [eligibility] rule.”

Anne Pope, chairwoman of the Northeastern New York NAACP region, told members Tuesday night they had to build their branch by staying involved and getting others involved.

“We don’t open the door to negativity. We are here to reorganize the Schenectady branch. It is capable of being a leading branch,” she said.

Beverly Perryman urged members to move forward with the election and the reorganization and to stop bickering.

Pope said a Schenectady County Chapter of the NAACP is needed “now more than ever. Racism continues to rear its ugly head, and we need to be on the front lines. We cannot allow pettiness to rear its ugly head.”

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