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Will Gay Rights Powerhouse Equality California Ever Find a Full-Time Leader?

San Francisco blogger Michael Petrelis recently reminded us that Equality California, one of the state's largest gay rights groups, is still looking for a full-time executive director.

"In the eight-months since [former executive director Roland] Palencia left EQCA," Petrelis opines, "no harm has come to the California LGBT community, and the group has basically been in simple survival mode, not doing much more than keeping the lights on."

Ouch! His criticism may not be totally fair, but eight months is certainly a long time for such a major organization to go without a leader. So we called up EQCA to find out what was happening...

Equality California communications director Rebekah Orr says the board actually hired an interim executive director, Laurie Hasencamp, in late February, and a search for a full-time executive director has been underway for the past six or eight weeks.

"We'd like to bring someone aboard as soon as possible," says Orr, "but we want to pick the right person."

The board is still smarting from Roland Palencia's quick departure -- the replacement for longtime executive director Geoff Kors only stayed for a few months.

In 2011, L.A. Weekly took a hard look at EQCA and Kors in the probing cover story "Mission Drift at Gay Inc."

Orr says the eight months has been used by the board as a time to "reevaluate" the organization.

Orr adds that EQCA is still focused on its core mission of getting pro-gay legislation passed in Sacramento, and it's now building a "grassroots field team" to build a "stronger movement" and to do cutting-edge outreach to the public.

Sounds good, although knowledgeable sources in California's gay rights movement have told us that there's been a lingering power struggle on EQCA's board over the future direction of the group.

Orr says no timeline has been set for when a full-time executive director will be hired.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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