As Atlanta’s activist community and non-profit sector reels from the ousting of Rick Westbrook as the Executive Director of Lost n’ Found Youth (LnF), former Vice Chair and longest-sitting board member Justin Ziegler has taken a public stand against Westbrook's possible reinstatement.
In a press release, Ziegler suggests that two unnamed members of the LnF board “belittled other board members, intimidated them, and steered them in the wrong direction.” He doesn’t list anyone by name, but does go on to call for greater independent oversight of LnF’s finances, regulatory compliance procedures with established labor laws, as well as community-based accountability in the form of regularly scheduled public meetings. He then goes on to cite the downfall of Youth Pride and the corruption that rocked the organization as the motivation for his push for greater oversight at Lost n’ Found Youth.
While Ziegler praises Westbrook's work and efforts in the release, he also calls for the recruitment of a more qualified Executive Director candidate, stating that Westbrook “lacks the skill set” to run the organization. He even goes as far to predict that his re-instatement would doom what he calls an “already at risk” program to failure.
The most illuminating piece of the release illustrates an internal conflict within LnF stemming from the fiscal and operational realities of running an organization of its nature. A clear divide in the philosophies of LnF’s leadership is apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back, with one side pushing for greater efforts to run the organization “like a business” and the other side pushing against this.
WUSSY has reached out to Westbrook for comment.
Full release here