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Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM) Braves the Polls Once More, What’s Different This Time

The Organization of Liberians in Minnesota (OLM) goes to the polls once more to elect, or add new and existing members to its board. Some of have dismissed the penchant of pessimism, that given the mixture and professionalism of some of the new candidates in the race, the OLM is bound to yield some successes this time around, if elected.

On the contrary, as I noted earlier in November of 2016, the OLM will remain the center of acrimony as long as it is headed by an elected board of officers. To recite what I said then, today’s OLM reminds me of the defunct “Five or Seven Person Council that accorded our Liberian Conflict back in the mid to late 1990s.

If you want to see the democratic nuance of a Liberian, give him or her authority through the ballot box. As a nonprofit, the OLM should reach out to eminent persons to serve as board members, not elected.

It goes to say, that the single most powerful position that should be elected by our community, is that of the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, who then seeks to constitute the board through the advice and consent of the community. That way, if someone is not meeting the expectations, he or she can easily be asked out.

The OLM has become a tribal entity. People vote by name and ethnic attachment. You can garner the best candidates in the world, at the end of the day, the TRIBES have the final say.

Now and in before, every member of the so called board, has shifted blames while trying to paint a gloomy picture of him or herself. With each, stating his or her financial and moral supports given to the OLM.

Not once has our community meet to reevaluate why in spite being a tax exempt 501 C (3) organization, with one of the largest minority voting blocs in the State of Minnesota, The OLM is existentially threatened with eviction and financial hurdles.

When pulling one's own weight out of a trench or shallow waters, he or she cares very little of others. Try rescuing a drowning man. The biggest collateral damage to the mass failures of our OLM, is the Executive Director who takes the blame for every fall. Understandably, the ED is the only unelected official in the OLM.

Let's face it, the current OLM structure is bad, regardless who serves in it. I am not sure how the idea of a titular non-elected board that was brilliantly proposed by the framers of our current OLM Constitution, got changed into a biannual election circus within our community?

The writers of our current OLM Constitution intended to elect only the Executive Director who in turn reaches out to eminent personalities in the community, Liberians and others to serve on the board in line with their individual influences in the world at large.

Yes, by eminent we meant people with Washington and other influential connections.

Governor Dayton and others who once used their societal influences to pull in as much as a half million dollars for the OLM, did not do so without vision. As politicians, Dayton and company were eying the prized assets of votes.

On the contrary, the framers of the OLM Constitution did not intend for members of the board to periodically exhaust their piggy banks to foot the day to day running of the OLM.

A fool is someone who does the same thing and expecting different results each time.

Instead of seeking to elect new set of board members, I will advice this current OLM to rather conduct a referendum to review/revise the current leadership structure in the constitution.

Doing so will restore the lost morale of our Liberian Community here in Minnesota. If you are pleased! You can't attempt to whistle while your mouth is full with farina.

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Edmond Remie Gray, is one of your humble hosts and Founder and President of Radio Wish FM. He can be reached at
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