Local NAACP Chapter Holds Re-Election After Member Complaints

By Stephanie Parkinson

December 29, 2012 Updated Dec 29, 2012 at 11:36 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - The local chapter of the NAACP was forced to hold a re-election to select their leadership after concerns were raised about how the November election was run.

But the process is frustrating for the person who has led their group for the past two years.

"This is an illegitimate election," said Paulette Nellems, former president, Fort Wayne NAACP Chapter.

The NAACP Fort Wayne chapter is holding a re-election after a member raised concerns about their latest election. But the chapter's former president says, if any election isn't following protocol it's the re-election.

"To see it coming from an organization that's fighting justice, injustice and inequalities. It hurts my heart," said Nellems.

Nellems was recently reelected as the chapter's president but she resigned this week. Saturday the re-election was run by officers from the state level of the NAACP.

"When most of the membership did not get notification that there was going to be an election, that is the ultimate illegitimate thing that you could do," said Nellems.

The concerns brought forth by member Rev. Michael Latham included complaints that members had to show photo identification as well as their membership card at the November election. However, Saturday Rev. Latham was actually at the door helping to check photo identifications.

Another complaint Rev. Latham had was that Paulette's husband was actively involved with procedures on the Election Day in November.

Paulette says he was voted into that role by the membership in a committee he served on and that it was not a choice made by her. She also says it was done in accordance to their by-laws.

All of this is leaving Paulette questioning if their local chapter can survive and she feels this organization is something her community needs.

"Our civil rights are being confronted everyday and justice has no face, and justice has no color and neither does injustice," said Nellems.

Saturday Paulette's name was on the re-election ballot, but she also questions if she can continue to serve if reelected.

"I am about civil rights and, I would love to be apart of the NAACP but I can't be apart of an organization that fights injustice but also do the same thing that they fight against," said Nellems.

INC reached out to the president of the state chapter, Barbara Bolling. She said the re-election was being held because of procedure violations but refused to go into any further details.

She did assure INC there was no fraudulent behavior that took place. She did however deny an on-camera interview with INC. Rev. Latham also denied an interview.

The results from Saturday, December 29 re-election are as follows:

The newly elected president is Saharra Bledsoe.
The vice president is Laleta Mcclure.
The newly elected secretary is Erma Belt.
The assistant secretary is Jackie Redd.
The treasurer is William Crowley.
And the assistant treasurer is Tonya Ashford.

The members also elected 24 people to the executive committee at large.

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