The national NAACP's delays in naming a new director of the local branch has left some members accusing the civil rights organization of weakness, indecision and incompetence.
"Most people see what's going on in the local branch as reflective of why the NAACP is having problems at the national level," said Carl O. Snowden, a civil rights activist and Annapolis city council member. "It took a shorter time to hold elections in Haiti and South Africa."
When incumbent Jean Creek beat Gerald Stansbury by 11 votes after a heated race for Anne Arundel County branch director last fall, both contested the election results.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People vowed to take swift action, then postponed a new election in May two days before voters were to go to the polls and waited another month -- until June 28 -- before finally holding the election.
The new election again was close and its results contested. Mrs. Creek won re-election to the two-year post by three votes, but the NAACP has yet to decide whether that victory was valid because 54 ballots were contested.
The NAACP was to have ruled within 72 hours of the election, Mr. Snowden said.
Repeated attempts to reach NAACP spokesmen and election officials were unsuccessful last week. The national NAACP's director of branches and field services, William H. Penn Sr., could not be reached at the group's headquarters in Baltimore or in Minneapolis, where the organization is holding its annual conference this weekend.
Efforts to reach Mr. Stansbury of Annapolis and Mrs. Creek of Severna Park also were unsuccessful.
Some NAACP members said the local troubles reflect larger problems.
"There are many lifelong members who didn't show up at either election," said member Wayne Jear of Annapolis.
"People are not participating in the process because of unfulfilled expectations over the years."
Some members cautioned that the delays should not be taken as a sign of poor management. Instead, they said,they show the organization's thoroughness with the contested ballots.
"There was a process that was followed," said the Rev. Irvin Lockman, retired pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church. As for the delays, he said, "I don't know of any place on earth where there are not problems. It all depends on your vantage point."