GMHC CEO Marjorie Hill Fired by Organization’s Board

Marjorie Hill, the CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis, will step down at the end of the month after being fired by the organization's board, DNAinfo reports:

Hill…sources within the organization said GMHC chairman Mickey Rolfe and the board ousted Hill amid accusations that she had harmed the decades-old organization by costing it millions of dollars in grants, losing dozens of talented staffers through layoffs and using an acidic management style.

"We couldn't keep a CEO there who had such a contemptuous relationship to staff and clients," said one insider, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

GMHC posted this statement on its website:

The Board of Directors of GMHC and Dr. Marjorie J. Hill would like to announce that they have mutually decided that it is now an appropriate time for GMHC to identify a new leader and for Dr. Hill to pursue the next chapter in her career. "Leading GMHC during the last several years has truly been an honor, but after more than seven years as GMHCs CEO, longer than any other head of an HIV/AIDS service organization, it is time for me to pursue new opportunities," said Dr. Hill. "I care deeply about GMHC's mission and look forward to giving any help I can to ensure that the transition to new leadership goes smoothly."

"GMHC is most grateful to Dr. Hill for her many years of service not just to our organization but to the issues of prevention, treatment, and advocacy concerning the landscape of HIV and AIDS in this country," said Myron Sulzberger Rolfe, Chair of GMHC's Board of Directors. "We wish her the very best on the next chapter in her long career in public service."

Gay City News reports:

Contrary to a press release stating that Hill’s departure was a mutual decision between her and GMHC’s 25-member board of directors, sources within the organization told this newspaper that Hill was, in fact, fired by the board.

“Hill was completely blindsided by the firing, since she believed that she had solid core support on the board,” said a source, who asked to remain anonymous due to professional concerns, via email on September 15, adding that the ouster was initially orchestrated about six months ago by board chair Myron Sulzberger Rolfe and his board colleague Manuel Rivera.

Logo.gmhcHill was with the organization for seven years.

DNAinfo adds:

The executive's problems at GMHC, which provides health and social services to HIV-positive people and organizes the city's annual AIDS Walk, began to come to a head in July, when staff learned Hill would take a paid three-month sabbatical — just one week after many staffers had their salaries slashed, sources said.

Gay City News also reports that Hill's interactions with staff and clients over the past year have been "extremely contentious" and learned of her firing through several sources who confirmed the existence of a non-disclosure contract that bound the board to silence about Hill's termination. Hill has reportedly threatened to sue them.

Comments

  1. Sargon Bighorn says

    I suspect there were plenty of White Gay men, living with HIV that applied for the job that were equally qualified, maybe more so. Now the organization is hurting. Bad choices are not fun.

  2. Har says

    Oh my… An under belly exposed. Some people are so tied to liberalism, they are blind. As long as things look PC — A woman, an African American. Six years to figure out she was packing acid?

  3. Ryan says

    I’m closely affiliated with GMHC as a volunteer and can easily say this woman was ALL about making herself a profit and climbing up a NYC social ladder with this position. It was awful how much she set this organization back. And organization that so many within or community genuinely rely on. I don’t know how we’ll bounce back from her actions.

  4. American Dreamer says

    Does anyone know why GMHC abandoned that large building on West 24th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Chelsea?

    The one named after David Geffen?

    I was startled when I walked past it and saw it all boarded up.

    It seemed like a really good building.

    I was wondering if that meant GMHC could no longer afford the building or was downsizing

  5. David From Canada says

    Being a Canadian, I am not familiar with this organization or situation. However, from the photo, the woman who was fired looks like she is black.
    This being the U.S.A. expect her to sue, play the race card in some way and go after big bucks. Brace yourself. Things are going to get ugly.

  6. Another GMHC insider says

    The lease ran out on the 24th Street building. There were many problems with the building and the landlord expected the tenant to fix them all. There were good reasons to move on from it. To keep it would have been very expensive. Now, if it had been purchased years ago, instead of rented, all would be different.

    About Marjorie’s salary. The $230,000 quoted is only her salary. Don’t forget to add in the Key Executive Personnel Retention kinds of benefits and the $48,000 annual housing bonus that she got each and every year of her reign. Remember, Marjorie is a New Yorker. She didn’t move here. Why did she get a housing bonus? Only to make her published salary smaller than her total compensation. Those are your AIDS Walk dollars, folks.

    After seven years of Marjorie Hill’s reign, the GMHC senior management is almost uniformly mediocre. The Board of Directors is equally to blame for this, especially Marjorie’s Enabler in Chief, former Board Chair Odell Mays. Marjorie only accepts senior managers who do exactly as ordered. Independent thought only gets one fired at GMHC. She has assembled a dispiriting team of toadies and misfits to be her managaing directors. A self-absorbed CEO and top down hierarchical management at its absolute worst (along with a Board that failed to pay attention) has turned the place into a shadow of its once proud self.

    The name is still good and the name recognition is strong. It can be invoked effectively all over town to help the clients. The staff is dedicated, if beaten down. The next CEO and the Board are going to have to clear out just about everyone at the top, except the CFO. The rest are titans of ineptitude and won’t make it under a qualified CEO. Marjorie was the core problem, but she is not the only manager failing at GMHC.

  7. Frank says

    @David From Canada. You talk and awful lot about a people you know nothing about. Being from Canada how can you be so sure of what anyone black and American will do? I’m so sick of this. Can’t a black person ever do something negative without it always turning into an indictment of the entire black race?

  8. Lourde says

    Only the gay community would hire a heterosexual woman to run the gay man’s health care center. We’re always trying to throw our own under the bus. We can’t ever celebrate ourselves, or let one another achieve greatness.

  9. David From Canada says

    @FRANK: Read more of the above remarks; too many people are tied to ultra liberalism and being too politically correct. They saw her as a woman and an African American.
    This is not an indictment of the entire black race, but rather, people who go overboard with being Ultra Liberals and then let this situation go on for years.
    And should she turn around and sue them and play the race card, some of them will still defend her.
    The irony of the whole thing will be lost on them.

  10. PollJn says

    I agree with your sentiments, David in Canada. Don’t apologize for your honest words. What you said are factual accounts ripped from the headlines of some busing their race card for glory. Pointing that out isn’t inventing it. It’s discussing it.

  11. Ashley St. Ives says

    I counted 25 members on the GMHC Board of Directors. How on earth is a board that size going to exercise control over anything?

    The governance problems at the GMHC start right there.

  12. Frank says

    David. You’re on this site making blanket statements. You said and I quote “This being the U.S.A. I expect her to sue, play the race card in some way and go after big bucks.” You’re sitting here stereotyping us, as if naturally the only course of action we have over here when we’re faced with being unceremoniously fired is to “play to race card” and sue. There’s no ultra liberalism and political correctness at play here. From what I read it’s a case of the powers that be at GMHC simply being too weak to effectively manage their own organization and stand up to someone they let run all over them. Stop trying to turn this into some kind of example in affirmative action run amock. Ultra liberal or not, race card or not, I refuse to believe that only thing keeping this woman on the board of this organization was white people’s fear of this black woman.

  13. ratbastard says

    Outrageous this situation was allowed to fester for so long.

    Why:

    Was she chosen to begin with?

    Why did she last in this sensitive position for so long?

    Who are the individuals responsible for hiring her?

    Who are the individuals who kept her on for so long?

    Why would anyone donate to this organization?

    Obviously, political correctness [i.e. ‘progressive’ party line narrative] played a big role in both her being hired and her lasting for years well after it became obvious she was a terrible choice for the job. And I’m not just referring to her skin color/tone. Sad, because it reflects [unfairly] badly on others [in her case, women and black people] who are competent, decent, honorable people. When you give unfair advantages to ANYBODY, for whatever reason [connections, nepotism, affirmative action, i.e. reverse discrimination, etc.] you automatically create an environment full of tension, drama, hostility, suspicion, and so-on. You don’t go about attempting to create a ‘level playing field’ by engaging in the very same policies and tactics you allegedly rage about and desire to reform. I’ve been alive long enough now, and have had enough life experiences, to realize many ‘reforms’ make matters worse, and are a continuation of the same old/same old. Be very, very leary of party-line politics, regardless of the ideology behind it, the same way you’d be leary of a cult, a confidence hustler, or even just everyday corporate marketing brainwashing techniques.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    @ 24PLAY,

    You know, I remember a life experience you spoke about a few years ago on this blog. When you were a little boy you were riding you bicyle in the park, and you attacked by a gang of Black kids. They beat you for no reason. But yet you didn’t let that experience turn you into a anti-Black racist. I appreciate that, 24PLAY.

    We’ve never met in person (and we never will), but I will remember your decency and humanity for as long as live.

  15. Bill says

    The majority of leaders are sociopaths and narcissists. Start looking at them with this prospective and you will start to see right through them. Most people want someone else to lead them. We just generally make poor decisions about who we allow to take charge. This is a perfect example but hardly the exception.

  16. Scotto says

    Hill is a lesbian, not a straight woman, though it doesn’t matter since there are many straight HIV+ persons in this ciy. She’s a psychologist by training.

    That said, she suffers from major diva personality disorder (it’s a new diagnosis in the DSM-V…trust me). I interacted with her professionally when she was the Assistant Commissioner for HIV Services at the NYC DOH. At that time, she didnt’ have a good grasp of the management issues surrounding the City’s HIV funding, yet her interpersonal style was condescending and a bit dictatorial. I have heard through the years that it carried over to her leadership at GMHC and that her executive team–particularly her COO who is now acting CEO–were her enforcers and rather insufferable.

  17. Rick says

    “Only the gay community would hire a heterosexual woman to run the gay man’s health care center. We’re always trying to throw our own under the bus. We can’t ever celebrate ourselves, or let one another achieve greatness”

    Exactly. Which also explains the “diva” pheonomenon, gay men worshipping at the feet of straight female entertainers or politicians (or straight female anything) while putting down and refusing to support any gay man that succeeds in anything (see the Elton John thread earlier this week).

    It’s a sick culture and one that needs a complete and total overhaul.

  18. edwin/elg says

    @Scotto
    I was going to say that Dr. Marjorie Hill is an out lesbian (she has been out since at least the 90s) but you beat me to it.

    I just wanted to add that I met Dr. Hill, briefly, many years ago when she came to Cincinnati to speak to Stonewall Cincinnati (this organization no longer exists) as the keynote speaker. At that time, she was an articulate, powerful presence. I had the chance to meet her personally (a friend and I drove her to the airport) and she was friendly and very down to earth during our time together. I remember her special aura to this day.

    Of course, our brief encounter happened years before she became the CEO of GMHC. I don’t know what happened during her tenure at GMHC but (based on that long ago meeting) I wish her the best.

  19. Wolf Busch says

    Finally after all these years people come forward to share the truth and are talking about the scams by GMHC the community has been talking about for a decade, public officials, lgbt leaders and many org’s knew about it for years and they all turned a blind eye. With all the scams that have been revealed in the news about GMHC lately, not ONE word yet about the abuse and marginalizing policies by GMHC and their Club 1319 youth program yet, that includes the Latex Ball. They cut food money for their clients for prize money for the Latex Ball, its a disgrace. The nerve of COO Janet Weinberg to call for a meeting to talk about the new leadership at GMHC, the ballroom community did not receive an invitation nor have we received an apology from her or GMHC, Weinberg is corrupted and didn’t speak up then and she got to go. Somebody from the GMHC board please give her a pink slip also for all the lies and miss-representations. Lets keep it real and pass Weinberg the pink slip. For more GMHC scandals about their Club 1319 youth program and the Latex Ball, please go to http://gmhcitsachop.blogspot.com/

  20. Glowing says

    The interesting thing about Janet Weinberg and Mickey Rolfe….is that the two of them have single-underhandedly masterminded the complete overthrow and degradation of Marjorie Hill. even those two idiots supporting ALL of her inane policies over the years including a very horrible and wasteful lease deal that cost the community millions in unnecessary spending. They also masterminded the Hill overthrow as soon as she went on her Quixotic sabbatical. Now that Hill is out, Weinberg has completely thrown Hill under the bus and has salivated at every chance to hijacked the CEO position for herself–although one cannot imagine anyone less qualified than the blowhard Weinberg. With friends like the diabolical Weinberg and satanic Rolfe, who needs enemies? Our condolences with Hill and any other sane employee left at the Crisis.

  21. David Asset says

    I worked in a Middle Management position at GMHC for five years. Majorie Hill was a disaster from day one, when she was brought in to manage the Women’s Initiative Department. She clearly had no interest or talent for running an administrative department. She was unable to adequately budget her needs and constantly attempted to divert needed funds in critical areas of her department to pay for unnecessary, frivolous items such as color-coded office supplies and program files. When it was announced that she was being promoted to CEO, I wondered what the board was thinking of. Clients arrived wearing rags everyday and this woman dressed as everyday was New Year’s Eve. She was all about politics and self-promotion. I guess I’m glad someone finally woke up on the Board and asked her to move on. That Marjorie is attempting to portray this as somehow “racist” is just sad.

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