Will Our Non-Profit Boards Ever Learn?Editorial, Online Only, Top Highlights Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
Well the San Diego Pride Board did exactly what I predicted less than a year ago, it split ways with Executive Director Eric Heinritz. Fernando Lopez has been named the new Executive Director. Congratulations Fern. But…
Besides bringing in someone from the outside who had no experience managing a pride event the size of San Diego’s, now the Pride Board appoints Lopez without a formal call for applications for the job. It is customary to have a search, however small or short. Not so much for the SD Pride Board in their selection process, but I completely understand why.
I suggested that Lopez leave after Pride last year. It was a disgrace that Lopez, or Barbra Blake, GSDBA Executive Director, were not selected during the initial selection process. I predicted that Lopez would carry the heavy load of 2017 Pride because Heinritz would not even be wet behind the ears before it was time for him to put on the event. Now with Heinritz’s departure, if Lopez was not selected, the same situation would have happened; Lopez carrying the load for 2018 Pride. Yet, a lack of a small, formal selection process still sends an inappropriate signal to those in the community. It also denied Lopez the honor of being selected over other qualified applicants.
I don’t know who might have applied, and clearly no one is more familiar with the organization and planning for Pride than Lopez. In the end, had someone else been selected, Lopez would have been smart enough to quit before Pride this year. Please do not think I am suggesting that Lopez is not the best person for the job. What I am suggesting is it is time to clean house at the SD Pride Board of Directors.
This whole debacle started with Stephen Whitburn’s forced departure, then ignoring the quality of candidates from San Diego by hiring Heinritz, and finally making a rush decision without full transparency to the LGBT community. Why was Heinritz let go? Who made the decision? Was he paid a severance? If so, how much? It is time for the community to start over with the SD Pride Board, it is not a lifetime appointment, and board members should be selected based upon critical experience not by popularity, i.e. a lawyer, financial expert, someone with development experience, you get the idea.
Next up is the selection of the new ED for the LGBT Community Center. I hope their board learns from the glaring mistakes of SD Pride. Thank goodness Lopez is there to clean up the mess created by the board to which he will report. Best of luck Fernando, you’re going to need it.
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