Clarification/Correction: Chris Geidner wrote “Although the sources say that no permanent replacement has been selected, none of the four sources were willing to say what, if any, role Woolard would play in the transition efforts at HRC.”
Beyond connecting a name to the unidentified paid consultant from the initial PHB piece, Chris Geidner indicated no conclusions as to what her role in the transition would be, assuming that Woolard would even have a role.
After the story broke at Pam’s House Blend on Friday, August 26, 2011 — as well as roughly simultaneously on the front page of Pam’s House Blend‘s future host website Firedoglake — MetroWeekly has released a follow-up piece.
Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly independently confirmed that the HRC’s executive director, Joe Solmonese, is indeed leaving his position. What MetroWeekly is also reporting is that the consultant that we at PHB reported that the HRC is going to tap as the new executive director is going to instead be an interim director. And, MetroWeekly names the names of that would likely be that interim director:
From the MetroWeekly article HRC’s Solmonese to Step Down, Sources Say No Replacement Has Been Selected:
…[Joe Solmonese's] most recent contract expires in March 2012, and an informed source tells Metro Weekly that “a full candidate selection process will take place” to find his successor.
A second source familiar with the situation said that a board conference call that originally was scheduled for Aug. 29 was rescheduled on the evening of Aug. 26 to take place later today, Aug. 27. The change was made after Spaulding published her report, which stated that an announcement about his departure was to be made public on Aug. 30.
…Although Spaulding reported that “a replacement executive director has been identified,” four sources familiar with the situation describe that portion of the report as inaccurate — with one saying the process is just beginning and will not be rapid.
Spaulding refers to the person she reported was identified as Solmonese’s replacement as “a paid consultant” who has worked with the organization. Metro Weekly has identified that consultant as Cathy Woolard, who most recently served on the senior leadership team at CARE, which describes itself as “a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty” and is based in Atlanta…
…Solmonese’s tenure has had significant high points, most recently the passage of hates crime legislation and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. However, he has also had to deal with significant criticism for his handling of the Employment Non-discrimination Act. While Solmonese had promised he would support the inclusion of gender identity to protect the transgender community, at the last minute Congressman Barney Frank and Solmonese tried to pass legislation that did not include transgender protections. It created a firestorm within the LGBT community.
Sources also suggest that the press release date was moved up to accommodate the questions that will be asked of Solmonese when he addresses the HRC Cleveland Dinner this evening. Many current and former members of the HRC Board of Directors were caught off guard by the leak to Pam’s House Blend, which suggests that Solmonese’s decision to step down is a surprise.
Given Solmonese’s salary level, it is unlikely that he will be joining the Obama administration as many have suggested on blogs, as well as Facebook.
I’m not sure if Stampp Corbin is interested in the job, but given his experience in HRC leadership in the past I would hope the HRC would consider him for the executive directorship.
So there you have the latest, as reported by Metro Weekly and the LGBT Weekly. As for the significant staff shake-up that PHB also reported as being in the works at the HRC, neither Metro Weekly and the LGBT Weekly mentioned anything about that aspect of the original PHB story.
Frankly, the staff aspect of the HRC story that PHB broke on Friday, August 26th is what I’m most interested in having independently verified or debunked — what the staff looks like after the change in leadership is going to say a lot about how the HRC plans to move forward after this change of leadership.