|Newly elected Cleveland NAACP President Michael Nelson Sr.|
Pictured are newly elected Cleveland NAACP first vice president James Hardiman (wearing turtleneck sweater), former Cleveland NAACP president the Rev. Hilton Smith (in red tie), former Cleveland NAACP first vice president the Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness (in red bow-tie), former Cleveland NAACP Third Vice President Sara J. Harper, who lost a bid for branch president against Nelson on Oct 26, and George Forbes, a former longtime Cleveland NAACP president and former Cleveland City Council president
By Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and the Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. Email: email@example.com. Coleman is a 22-year political, legal and investigative journalist who trained for 17 years, and under six different editors, including Connie Harper, at the Call and Post Newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).
CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM- CLEVELAND, Ohio- After shutting down the election of branch officers for the Cleveland NAACP last year amid infighting and violations of elections rules, national leaders monitored an election at the regular meeting in Cleveland Monday evening with Michael Nelson Sr., a local criminal defense attorney and an attorney representing the Cleveland NACCP, winning the branch presidency over Sara J. Harper, formerly the third vice president and a retired Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals judge.
Several local NAACP members complained to Cleveland Urban News.Com that they did not receive the 10 day notice in the mail for the election, which drew roughly 47 members, the lowest turnout in decades. And when members shut out of the election called both local and national headquarters ahead of time to request data on the election, they were denied information, they say.
And no information on the Cleveland NAACP election is on the group's online website, another indication, sources said, of potential efforts to compromise the local election of officers.
Nelson 66, beat Harper, 89 and still with a keen mind, by a landslide, though election officials, courting the mainstream media, would not release exact election numbers to Cleveland Urban News.Com, Ohio's leader in Black digital news.
Harper, a former branch president decades ago who was nominated by Marcia McCoy, could not be reached for comment.
Former branch president the Rev Hilton Smith, a vice president for community affairs at Turner Construction Company in Cleveland and an associate pastor at the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Cleveland whose name was submitted last year by the nominating committee before the election process was shut down, did not seek reelection to a two year term he won in 2012.
Smith replaced George L. Forbes, a former longtime Cleveland City Council president who relinquished the volunteer job after 20 years.
James Hardiman, a former interim branch president and also a Cleveland attorney who has represented the organization for decades, including relative to the now defunct Cleveland schools desegregation case dubbed Reed v. Rhodes, was elected first vice president, and ran unopposed for the seat held by the Rev Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness, senior pastor of Greater Abyssinia and the executive director of the greater Cleveland chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Arlene Anderson and Amos Mahsua were reelected secretary and treasurer respectively.
Bennie Bonnano, Richard Peery, Wil Tarter and Beverly Wright, most of whom are Nelson allies, were elected to serve as members at large on the executive board, hardly enough to fill the seats on the 19-member executive committee up for grabs by election.
Second and third vice presidents and the assistant treasurer will be decided after provisional votes by the NAACP national offices because those offices are in question, sources said. (www.clevelandurbannews.com) / (www.kathywraycolemanonlinenewsblog.com).