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Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007 01:56 pm

“Whole again”

The IAMG seeks new leader, charts new course

Untitled Document The interim executive director of the Illinois Association of Minorities in Government, Jerrie Blakely, says that the embattled organization is “whole again.” Now it just needs to find a permanent director, an administrative assistant, and a receptionist. The IAMG has advertised the positions in publications across the state. The top job has drawn interest from approximately 10 candidates, mostly from central and southwestern Illinois, none of whom currently serves on the board of directors, says Blakely. The positions have been vacant and the organization’s building, at 110 W. Edwards St., has remained locked since May, when former executive director Roy Williams Jr. and his office staff were dismissed amid an internal investigation into Williams’ management of the organization’s finances [see R.L. Nave, “Advocacy on hold,” May 17]. Once the 15-member board of directors selects a new executive director, that person will take over the hiring of a support team, Blakely says.
The person who takes over won’t have free rein, however. Blakely says that volunteers have been busy outlining new goals, reformulating the organization’s financial procedures, and making other changes, and the incoming director will have to agree with this vision. In the future, advocacy work on behalf of members will be handled by a committee made up of retired state workers, whom Blakely says, have nothing to lose. During the 2008 presidential-election year, the group will also participate in get-out-the-vote and voter-registration campaigns. Because the IAMG is a labor organization, its members also have the option of endorsing political candidates. The only politician to whom the IAMG has given public support in the past is Barack Obama — a member of the IAMG when he served in the Legislature — when he campaigned in 2004 for a U.S. Senate seat. “Obama was a member and he always supported the IAMG. We support candidates who support the organization,” Blakely says. The new executive director will also take a larger role in lobbying activities, including asking for increased funding for the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission, including provisions to hire more investigators and adjudicators to probe instances of alleged discrimination at state agencies. “Sometimes the state doesn’t give the same emphasis to civil rights when they’re cutting back elsewhere,” Blakely says.  

Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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