Dec 10 2010

Solmonese, fashion model solo shot Well, as they say, "The cat is out of the bag now".

Pam Spaulding, one of the nation's most respected and most powerful bloggers, has become the first national figure to call for the resignation of Human Right's Campaign CEO Joe Solomonese. HRC has spent over two years near $80 million and has failed to deliver hardly any major achievements over that time. Spaulding says it must replace it's CEO in order to make the changes necessary to regain the trust of the community.

On PamsHouseBlend.com in a column called, " A New Year's Wish For The Community: Joe Solmonese's Resignation", Pam pulls no punches and demands his immediate resignation. Here are excerpts from her news-making column but you must read her entire column by clicking here:

"It's time for the Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese to tender his resignation.

By any sane performance metrics, he has failed to successfully lead. Promises like those made in the "This year we are going to bring down DADT" video at the HRC Carolinas dinner on Feb. 27 were used to extract money from low-info, fat wallet attendees. It's rinse and repeat at events like that around the country and there is precious little to show for it in terms of the major promises made by Solmonese -- and this President.

I thankfully captured Joe's bold promises to the HRC Carolinas dinner attendees. You realize that was before we had to deal with the failed, weak DADT compromise language, the sad shell of pre-repeal we're dealing with now. He makes it abundantly clear that true, full repeal would be achieved in 2010.

Joe Solmonese should do the honorable thing and step down. It is shameful to cash all those checks without the follow through on the job. The White House was never put under serious pressure; the late calls now in the e-blasts for the President to do something ring hollow after the toadying that has gone on for two years."

Pam Spaulding continues:

"His position at the top requires that he set tone for the organization, provides the baseline for staff morale (god knows how many hair-raising off the record tales I have heard about failure on that level), and effectively uses the incredible war chest developed by formidable fundraising and branding machine.

FAIL. Tone deaf to community concerns and political momentum at the grassroots level.

FAIL. An inability to admit mistakes in strategy and correct course.

FAIL. A refusal until the back is against the wall to publicly criticize the very people in power who needed to be shamed for the slow-walking.

FAIL. The institutionalization of paranoia and defensiveness toward the activists, LGBT media and independent voices of criticism rather than looking inward to see whether the organization is bloated, and has failed to evolve and become nimble and focused in its leadership.

It is not airing dirty laundry to hold Mr. Solmonese accountable in his position that he is happy to promote as the voice of the community when called upon by the mainstream media. With that position comes responsibility -- and accountability. We, as "the community" cannot vote him out of office, we can only 1) point out how and why he isn't the voice of the LGBT community and 2) form alternate means of sharing that dissent through commentary, and/or action -- e.g. GetEQUAL.

It is not divisive to ask what have we gotten for the $80 million that flowed into the coffers of the Human Rights Campaign when it comes to leadership. Those funds -- were they effectively used to ensure promised action on by this President on his major promises?

For those who simmer with anger and immediately call any criticism the "circular firing squad", that's disingenuous. There have been plenty of kudos for what has been accomplished (including those Cinderella Crumbs); but we're talking about a long list of major issues (DADT, ENDA, etc.) that were not seriously pushed after the promises were made."

She deals with likely critics of her call for his resignation:

"For those who simmer with anger and immediately call any criticism the "circular firing squad", that's disingenuous. There have been plenty of kudos for what has been accomplished (including those Cinderella Crumbs); but we're talking about a long list of major issues (DADT, ENDA, etc.) that were not seriously pushed after the promises were made.

In any case, critics haven't any power to change the strategic vision (such as it is), within HRC, and if those in charge simply blow off any criticism, is the community expected to sit silent with hands politely folded? There certainly hasn't been a private summit to discuss the myriad problems that have arisen, nor does there appear to be any feedback mechanism desired. I don't expect that it would occur, anyway, given the bunker mentality in place.

That can only change if there is a thorough shake-up, even if only a symbolic one such as Solmonese's departure, that can signal an understanding of the magnitude of disconnect, discord and failure to lead that needs to be addressed. How that occurs is up to the board of HRC - so my little call for a change at the top is of little significance other than it's just me sharing my two cents and you all reacting to it in the comments."