Mann for School Board
Minneapolis NAACP branch under martial law
NAACP Branch President, Treasurer refuse to comply with demand of Branch Executive Committee to open the books of the NAACP Parent Information Centers, support claim of absolute power by branch administrator.
by Doug Mann, 5 March 2005 [Doug Mann is a member-at-large of the Minneapolis NAACP branch executive committee]
In 2000 the NAACP national board approved the settlement of an educational adequacy lawsuit, which stipulated that a limited, one-way city to suburb bussing program resolved the problem of students of color being inadequately educated in the Minneapolis Public Schools. This was a greatly watered-down version of a "choice plan" that was rejected by the branch membership in 1999. The Lawsuit was filed against the state of MN in 1995.
On June 30 2003, the office of NAACP President / CEO Kwiesi Mfume also gave tacit support to limited "school choice" programs (promoted by the Clinton & Bush administrations) by authorizing the Minneapolis NAACP Branch Executive Committee to open two NAACP Parent Information Centers. This was done in defiance of a motion to not open the centers and return the money, which was approved by the Minneapolis NAACP branch membership by a 2/3 majority on June 28, 2003. The NAACP PIC was funded through a state grant, and indirectly through a federal grant for the Minnesota Voluntary School Choice Project.
The Minneapolis NAACP branch has also refrained from addressing the educational access gap between black and white students. In Minneapolis Public Schools, teacher turnover is very high and newer teachers are heavily concentrated in most of the predominantly black schools. Strong educational programs can't take root in that kind of environment. And the district is making only token efforts to equalize instructor quality. For a majority of students of color, school choices have been narrowed to the worst of the district run schools and to charter schools, but not to the better district-run schools that serve predominantly white neighborhoods. And in racially diverse schools, black students tend to be over-represented in classrooms for "low-ability learners."
A FAKED BRANCH MEETING, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The NAACP Parent Information Centers was also a money making opportunity. The NAACP PIC was authorized to spend up to $400,000 in 2004. The outgoing branch leadership, with help from branch administrator Carl Breeding, was able to enlist the support of newly elected officers and branch members for the transfer of a $400,000 grant contract to the Minneapolis Parent Information Center, Inc.
On December 11, 2005, At an event that was advertised as an annual membership meeting and a swearing in ceremony for newly elected officers, a resolution supporting the spin-off of the NAACP Parent Information Centers and the reassignment of state grant money to the recently incorporated Minneapolis Parent Information Center was approved. Branch President-elect Duane Reed chaired the segment of the meeting where the PIC resolution was approved, though he lacked the authority to chair a business meeting. James Everett was still the branch president. The evening before, on December 10, a meeting advertised as a training session for newly elected officers turned out to be a meeting about the PIC. The meetings described above were carried out under the immediate supervision of Carl Breeding.
At the Dec. 11 event the PIC resolution was presented by the branch education committee chair, who failed to disclose that she also chaired the Minneapolis PIC board of directors, that a $400,000 state grant contract was in play, that the decision to spin off the NAACP Parent Information Centers was made some months earlier, that the incorporation of the Minneapolis Parent Information Centers as an entity separate and apart from the NAACP was already an accomplished fact, etc., etc.
AUDIT REQUIRED AND RESISTED
Despite motions approved at branch membership meetings instructing officers of the branch to get an outside audit of the branch and PIC books, and despite the fact that branch administrator Carl Breeding had the authority to get the audit done during the past year, there has not been an audit.
Mr. Jamal, a contract employee of the Minneapolis NAACP branch (Management Assistance Program) reviewed financial books and records of the Minneapolis NAACP branch and Parent Information Centers, and found that an outside, independent audit of the Minneapolis NAACP branch and PIC financial books and records is required by state and federal law.
AN UNANNOUNCED, UNREPORTED EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Mr. Jamal presented the findings of his review of branch and PIC records at a meeting on February 8, 2005, attended by 9 members of the Minneapolis branch executive committee, including the President, second Vice-president, and Treasurer, No report about the February 8 meeting or Mr. Jamal's findings was given at the Minneapolis Branch executive committee and general membership meetings on Feb 11 & 12, 2005.
As branch president Duane Reed was unwilling to call a special meeting about the PIC prior to the Executive Committee meeting scheduled for March 25, 2005, three members of the branch EC called a special meeting of the branch EC for February 25, 2005. Notices were mailed on Saturday Feb. 19, 2005 by Doug Mann. The branch secretary refused to mail any notices of the meeting. Addresses for some newly appointed members of the executive committee were not provided by the secretary.
An unsigned letter from Carl Breeding, dated and mailed to branch Executive Committee members on February 21, 2005 made an unsubstantiated claim that the special executive committee meeting of February 25, 2005 was improperly called and that the EC members who called the meeting (Doug Mann, Zach Metoyer, and Carol White) "were and are out of order."
A letter dated February 21, 2005, "Re: Improperly called meeting" from Minneapolis branch administrator Carl Breeding to the Executive Committee, Minneapolis NAACP branch states,
"There will not be a special executive committee meeting on February 25, 2005. The Branch Administrator must approve all meetings and must be present at all meetings..." Carl Breeding lives near Detroit, Michigan.
Minutes of the Feb 25, 2005 special meeting of the Minneapolis NAACP branch executive committee, a written report (accepted as an overview of the Feb. 8, 2005 meeting), and other attachments were sent to Julian Bond and directly to some other members of the national board.
The Minneapolis Branch Executive Committee meeting of February 25, 2005 passed motions instructing the branch president to make NAACP PIC records available for inspection by executive committee members on Friday, March 4, 2005 at 7:00 PM; and to call a special branch membership meeting on Saturday, March 12 at 10:00 AM
The NAACP PIC records were not available for inspection at the NAACP branch office on March 4, 2005, though Treasurer Jesse Overton brought a small selection of branch and PIC records from 2003 and 2004. Eight members of the executive committee were present for the duration of an informal meeting led by Mr. Overton. I stated that I had come to look at the books, not to attend a discussion meeting.
The minutes of the Executive Committee meeting of February 25, 2005 show that a motion was passed instructing the branch president to see "that all fiscal books and computer discs, and individual consultant and non-consultant contracts that have provided services to PIC be available on March 4, 2005 at 7:00 PM at the NAACP office at 310 E38th Street, Minneapolis for inspection by any member of the executive committee.
Mr. Overton stated his opinion that there was no Executive Committee meeting on February 25, 2005.
-Doug Mann, King Field