By CATHERINE NEWHOUSE
When the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association removed then-President John Clark in March, it appointed Tracy Greever-Rice as acting president, who will lead the association until the next election in early May.
“There was a difference in perception as to where the organization will be headed,” Greever-Rice said of the removal of Clark. She declined to comment further.
Greever-Rice, who ran for the Fourth Ward City Council seat last year, moved up from the association’s vice presidency after Clark was removed. She said she will run for the association’s board again in May, but she will not seek the office of president. Greever-Rice, who owns property in both the First and Fourth wards, is also the treasurer of the Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association.
John Clark was elected president in August after running unopposed. He has previously been a candidate for mayor and the First Ward City Council seat. Clark did not immediately respond to a call and e-mail asking for comment.
The board of directors removed him at a meeting on Tuesday, March 8, which Clark did not attend, according to a March 12 blog post on The Columbia Heart Beat. Mike Martin, who expressed doubts at Clark’s election, wrote that Clark had been criticized about his “handling of member-driven initiatives to increase membership and more effectively engage city government in neighborhood affairs.”
Earlier this year, the debate had reached a “crisis point” after board and association members did not attend meetings Clark was leading, Martin wrote.
In a January 9 blog post on The Columbia Heart Beat, Martin said Clark had publicly chastised association members and presented unapproved positions to the media.
The debate dates back to at least December. Nine members of the NCCNA board wrote a Dec. 29 letter with their grievances, but Clark said the letter did not meet the bylaw requirements and therefore the board could not vote on his removal at that time, according to Martin’s January 9 blog post.
The association’s board will elect the next president at a Tuesday, May 10, public meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Cougar Room of Columbia College’s Dulany Hall, 600 N. Eighth St. Before the election of officers, the association will elect board members at its annual meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at First Christian Church, 101 N. 10th St.
Greever-Rice said the next president would ideally have awareness of the neighborhood and wider community, as well as a flexible attitude.
“It’s useful to have someone who understands the culture of all the areas and how they fit together, including the areas that are commercial rather than residential.”