MANATEE -- Marc Dosogne, who was suspended after he wrote a "culturally insensive" email to employees, has resigned as CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, the clubs announced Monday.
Dosogne, who was hired last fall, has been on administrative leave for two weeks after writing the email. The local NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference had demanded that Dosogne be fired.
"We believe this is what's best to move forward and return our focus to our mission of improving the lives of Manatee County's young people," said Mike Moschella, chairman of the clubs' board of directors, in a news release. "Therefore, we accept Marc's resignation and wish him well."
Beth Work will continue as interim CEO while the board conducts a search for a new leader.
Dosogne said he felt it was best for the Boys & Girls Clubs that he step down.
"I believe very strongly in the mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs and serving kids," he said. "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 & Girls Club. I believe the club should be focused on its mission and the kids and this was a distraction.
"I found it unfortunate that a group of individuals in the community hadn't taken the time to find out who I am and where my heart is or where my goal is for trying to help kids," Dosogne said. "That is unfortunate for our community and for people being able to sit down and talk to each other."
Earlier this month, after he was suspended, Dosogne said he would not resign. But he conceded that the controversial memo contained "some poor choices of words."
The memo, which outlined new hiring practices at the nonprofit, "does not reflect who I am or what is in my heart and what I stand for," Dosogne said.
Dosogne tpld the Bradenton Herald earlier this month he was deeply apologetic for his choice of words in the memo and that he has apologized to Manatee NAACP officials, who have asked for his dismissal, and to his staff.
"I wouldn't even think of resigning because I believe in my mission here," Dosogne said. "I have dedicated my life to this."
In the memo that was sent to staff who have management responsibilities, Dosogne stated that 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 that 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 told the Herald that 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 said.
Dosogne also said he should not have said that job applicants who have had children as teenagers should be excluded from 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."
The local Southern Christian Leadership Conference applauded Dosogne's decision to step down.
"We applaud the Board of Directors for making a decision in a crisis situation that will move this honorable organization forward working with our children," SCLC president Charles B. Smith said in a statement.