Boys & Girls Club of Manatee CEO placed on leave after email

rdymond@bradenton.comApril 4, 2014 

MANATEE -- The leader of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County has been put on administrative leave after sending a controversial e-mail outlining new hiring practices.

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Marc Dosogne emailed his hope future Boys & Girls Club hires should "have stayed out of trouble, stayed clear of drugs, abuse of alcohol and tobacco and not have had children as teenagers."

The e-mail apparently went out a few weeks ago to key staffers.

Dosogne emailed he frowns on hiring job applicants who "come in with a lot of tattoos, face piercing, dreadlocks on guys, people wearing baseball caps, sweats or baggie shorts or anyone provocatively dressed."

The Manatee National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Manatee-Sarasota Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Florida have written the Boys & Girls Club Board asking for Dosogne's firing.

Dosogne was put on leave Thursday during a board meeting at the DeSoto branch of the Clubs, said Bob Spencer, a Boys & Girls Club Board member.

Dosogne did not immediately return a phone message from the Herald.

Beth Work will be interim executive director while the board works through the issues raised by the e-mail, Spencer said.

"I am not interested in people who are not doing anything more with themselves than a high school education, or have dropped out of college," Dosogne's e-mail states. "I am also not interested in people who can't take care of themselves physically. Please do not send any applicants like that to the HR office, as you will be wasting their time, and ours."

The e-mail angered some people on Dosogne's staff, said Susie Copeland, president of the Manatee NAACP.

"We advised Marc that if applicants come in with dreadlocks (matted coils of hair) and don't get hired you are setting the organization up for a major discrimination lawsuit," Copeland said. "We also explained to him that if a teenager has had a baby and maybe realizes they made a personal mistake and gone on with life, you would want that kind of quality person in your organization. You just can't penalize people for what they do when they are young."

Dosogne was trying to point out how crucial it is for young people today to be competitive in the marketplace, Spencer said of the email.

"He was trying to get across that children of all races face the realities of the day," Spencer said. "There are biases that affect people in hiring. If you go into a bank, you don't see people with nose rings. It doesn't mean that nose rings are wrong, but that it could be an impediment to them getting hired."

Palmetto Commissioner Charles Smith, who is also president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and vice president of the Manatee NAACP, called the e-mail "sexist and discriminatory."

"For him to make a statement that if you have a child as a teenager you can't work for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County is a moral flaw that makes no sense," Smith said. "It's sexist. He also mentioned that if you are not physically fit you don't fit into the plans. So, what kind of message is he sending to people who work there who are overweight or where dreads? That's a hostile environment. He has staff members who already fit that description. He is clueless about what it takes to be a person who represents the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County."

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @ RichardDymond.

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