Empire State Pride Agenda Fires Executive Director Ross Levi

The Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's largest LGBT rights lobby, fired its executive director Ross Levi effective April 6 following a conference call last night between board members, Gay City News reports:

LeviAsked how the phrase “stepping down” squared with the boards’ decision to terminate Levi’s employment, Hassner said, “The Pride Agenda does not comment on personnel matters.”

But accounts provided independently by the two other board members who spoke to Gay City News were in remarkable lockstep with each other on what led to the demise of Levi’s tenure, which lasted less than 22 months: There was widespread dissatisfaction with Levi and the organization’s leadership on the marriage fight last year –– where ESPA shared responsibilities with other leading advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Freedom to Marry, the Gill Action Fund, the Log Cabin Republicans, and Marriage Equality New York.

Board members, the two agreed, were also unhappy that Levi had not defined a clear vision for the group’s post-marriage equality agenda and was not achieving fundraising goals.

Levi, who was named ED in May 2010, declined comment to Gay City News. More at the paper's website…

Pride_agendaThe Pride Agenda released a statement:

Today, the Boards of Directors of the Empire State Pride Agenda, New York State’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, announced that Ross D. Levi is no longer serving as executive director. Lynn Faria, our current deputy executive director, will serve as interim executive director effective immediately.
“We greatly appreciate Ross's twelve years with the organization. He has been part of the Pride Agenda's major legislative victories, culminating in the momentous marriage win last year,” said Louis Bradbury, co-chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation and chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda.  “We wish Ross the very best in his future endeavors."
"The Pride Agenda has been leading the way in securing equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers for 20 years and will continue to do so,” said Marla Hassner, co-chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation. “We are focused on our top priorities of passing a statewide transgender non-discrimination law, standing by those elected officials who stood by us in the marriage victory, and making sure that the health and human service needs of our community are met. The Boards immediately will begin a search for a new executive director to lead the Pride Agenda into the future.”

EXCLUSIVE: Pride Agenda Board Fires Ross Levi [gay city news]

Posted March 6, 2012 at 6:59am ETC by Andy Towle
in New York, News