MANATEE -- Marc Dosogne, who took over in October as head of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County, resigned Monday in the wake of controversy caused by an email he sent to employees that was deemed "culturally insensitive."
Dosogne had been on administrative leave for two weeks after writing the email, which detailed the type of people he wanted the agency to hire.
For instance, Dosogne wrote he preferred employees not have dreadlocks or tattoos, and not have had children as teenagers.
The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had demanded Dosogne be fired.
"I believe very strongly in the mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs and serving kids," Dosogne said Monday when asked why he resigned. "It's been my life's work. I felt that the NAACP had made this such a distraction that it wasn't the best for the Boys and Girls Clubs. I believe the clubs should be focused on their mission and the kids and this was a distraction."
Dosogne also said: "I found it unfortunate that a group and individuals in the community hadn't taken the time to find out who I am and where my heart is."
Charles Smith, chairman and president CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and vice president of the Manatee chapter of the NAACP, said Monday he understood the board requested Dosogne's resignation.
"We were made aware late Thursday night, April 17, that the board of directors met and, it's our understanding, asked for the resignation of Marc Dosogne and he has resigned," Smith wrote in an email.
In a phone call, Smith said there was "only one solution" after Dosogne's email.
"That email would have created a lawsuit if he remained," Smith said. "It put a target on the Boys & Girls Club for anyone who was not happy they were not hired. When you put something like that in writing, you can't take it back."
Smith also said relations between the Boys & Girls Club of Manatee and the NAACP are good and he expects the Boys & Girls Club to include the NAACP in a dialogue for the new CEO.
"The new CEO needs to be
someone who understands the diversity of Manatee County, the six generations that go deep, certainly someone who understands Manatee County," Smith said.
Mike Moschella, chairman of the club board of directors, couldn't be reached Monday, but said in a news release the resignation should return focus to the mission of improving the lives of Manatee County's young people.
"We believe this is what's best to move forward," Moschella said. "Therefore, we accept Marc's resignation and wish him well."
In the release, the clubs called Dosogne's email "culturally insensitive."
Beth Work will continue as interim CEO while the board searches for a new leader.
Earlier this month, after he was suspended, Dosogne said he would not resign. But he conceded the controversial memo contained "some poor choices of words."
In the memo sent to staff who have management responsibilities, Dosogne said he hopes future Boys & Girls Clubs hires "have stayed out of trouble, stayed clear of drugs, abuse of alcohol and tobacco and not have had children as teenagers."
The memo also states Dosogne frowns upon hiring 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."
Dosogne said focusing on dreadlocks and teen pregnancies was wrong.
"I now better appreciate the diverse cultural differences that we have here in Manatee County," Dosogne said. "I also understand now the many reasons why people wear dreadlocks, which can include health and religious beliefs. I really have stepped back on that one and understand it better now."
Dosogne also said he should not have said applicants who have had children as teenagers should be excluded from job consideration.
"I think I used a poor choice of words there," Dosogne said. "I have hired and will continue to hire people who have had children. I have children. What I was reflecting on I should have said better. What I was trying to say is that we want our employees to make sure we make young people understand the perils of the choices they make that can limit their opportunities or make life tougher."
Susie Copeland, president of the Manatee County NAACP chapter, did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the resignation.
Bob Spencer, a Boys and Girls Clubs board member said" "I am personally thankful for the job Marc did in guiding the Boys and Girls Clubs of Manatee County. He is a good man and he will be missed."
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.