Less than two years into his tenure at Horizons Community Services...and less than six months after finalizing details for the gay community center project...Executive Director Roger Doughty is leaving his post.
An agency press release dated Oct. 24 hints that disagreements between Doughty and the new leaders of the board of directors are behind his departure.
"The new leadership and I have different operating styles and visions. As it is essential that Horizons have a single vision, now is the time to make a change," Doughty says in the release.
Neither board leaders nor Doughty could not be reached for comment by presstime. Unsubstantiated rumors suggest that Doughty was asked to step down over his handling of personnel matters.
Doughty at the Horizons annual dinner earlier this year. Photo by Tracy Baim
The agency's statement details some of the strides that Horizons has taken under Doughty, saying, "the organization has doubled its staff, tripled the number of clients served, increased the number of volunteers by 50%, eliminated an accumulated deficit, established its first reserve fund, increased its revenues by more than 60% and completed a new strategic plan."
"We are grateful to Roger for his dedication and applaud his many achievements," said Denise C. Foy, president of the board of directors, in the written statement. "He has laid the foundations for us to build a wonderful future for the organization."
What the statement doesn't mention is that the agency has lost an estimated 14 employees in the last 12 and a half months of Doughty's leadership. Those losses include both firings and employees who left voluntarily.
Doughty's leaving comes one month after the noisy exit of Youth Program Director Karen Hutt, who was fired on Sept. 26. Hutt has claimed that her firing was in retaliation for a racial discrimination complaint she filed against Horizons with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations in August. Hutt leveled allegations of discrimination at Horizons management, including Doughty.
Doughty came to Horizons in February 2000 from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, where he served as director of program administration. He was reportedly chosen from a field of more than 80 candidates. Before he took over, the agency had been without an executive director for more than six months.
It is unclear how Doughty's departure will affect plans for the city's Gay and Lesbian Community Center, for which Horizons is to serve as steward. The Center is set to open its doors in 2003. Details are also not available about whether Horizons renewed its lease for the space at 961 W. Montana; the current lease was set to expire this fall. According to staff and clients, the building is in need of repairs, including the removal of black mold from the youth services library.
According to the agency's statement, the board of directors "has appointed a search committee and begun a nationwide search for a replacement" for Doughty.