Lewis Bracy, a 37-year-old activist who started an organization to promote black businesses, has been named chairman of the Annapolis-based Black Political Forum.

Bracy, a National Security Agency employee who lives in Hanover, took over the bipartisan Black Political Forum yesterday. Acting chairman Leslie Stanton stepped down to devote more time to running summer athletic programs for youths.

The forum, an umbrella government watchdog group composed of about 40 business and community leaders, chose Bracy as its chairman Tuesday night.

He promised to keep a watchful eye on both city and county government and said he would continue trying to expand the forum's influence beyond Annapolis.

"We want to keep the pressure on thecity and the county to ensure they meet the needs of the African-American community," Bracy said.

He listed as the group's top priority ensuring that blacks are represented fairly in new election districts being drawn up for both the county and Annapolis.

The forum also will closely monitor hiring practices in both county and city government, he said, and issue reports examining progress in hiring and promotion of minorities.

In late April, the forum issued a 14-page report accusing County Executive Robert R. Neall of continuing what the group called a long-standing county administration practice of excluding blacks from leadership positions.

The report accused the county of maintaining "virtually an all-white, male-dominated power structure" the forum called "Annpartheid."

Bracy said the forum would issue other reports scrutinizing the County Council and both the Hopkins administration and City Council in Annapolis.

Among other goals, the forum hopes to fight illegal drug use and expand police foot patrols in Annapolis public housing.

Bracy said the forum wants "tobe part of turning around the demise of the black American male."

He said he plans to continue working with Blacks for Success, which he founded three years ago to promote black-owned businesses.

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