LIMA — Efforts to revitalize the Lima chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have hit a snag after the Black Ministerial Association raised objections to the election of the Rev. Ronald Fails as the unit’s president.
Member pastors of the Black Ministerial Association of Lima have gone on record as opposing the election, taking exception with the lack of participation in the election. Association member the Rev. Dr. Dennis Ward of Second Baptist Church argued that in order to get the most qualified president, a greater poll of the membership is required.
“During the election process, you only had less than one-third of the members that actually showed up for the voting,” he said. “We want to make sure this is done the right way.”
Ward and the other ministers maintain that a majority of local members were not even notified of an election.
“Our churches are comprised of more than 80 percent of the membership, and we asked around within the association to make sure everything was done fair,” he said. “People that were members in good standing were not notified, and in order to have a viable election, you have to go by your bylaws.”
Ward stopped short of saying that the association specifically did not want Fails in that position. When asked if Fails’ alleged solicitation of a prostitute played a role in the association’s objections, Ward denied it, stating that the pastors simply wanted the best person for the job.
“As a whole, we in the Black Ministerial Association said that we’re not going to try to play judge, because he’s still our brother in Christ,” he said. “We’re not against Pastor Fails in that we’re trying to say if he’s innocent or guilty. We’re just trying to say that we want the best qualified person in that position and to ensure we can work with that person.”
Ward implied that the association would not object to seeing Fails as president, “as long as they follow their procedures and bylaws.”
Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton unit of the NAACP, made the first efforts to rejuvenate the Lima unit by holding a reorganizational meeting in April. He took the lead role at the beginning because the organization’s district coordinator, WilliAnn Moore, was dealing with a family emergency at the time.
“When Lima residents reached out to me about reorganizing this unit, it was my intention to see a vibrant unit come back to the community,” he said. “I basically carried the ball up until we had our first reorganizing meeting up there, and after that, the district coordinator took over.”
Because of that, Foward could not comment on the election of Fails or the notification process for the Lima membership.
Moore, based out of Toledo, could not be reached for comment, but she has gone on public record stating that the election was conducted in a proper manner, with notifications of the election being sent to the membership by mail.
Fails did not return calls for comment.